A slew of Google searches from the US have found Lord Patel's posting of Friday, June 9 2006 Merck's Gardasil cleared - now you can inject your 9 year old girl against an STD
When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Merck's (MRK:NYSE) Gardasil, the first vaccine against 2 strains (HPV 16/18) of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer and genital warts. Merck licenses the Gardasil technology from CSL Ltd. of Australia. Invented by Australian Ian Frazer,it was first licensed there and costs around AU$460 (US$348) for a full three-dose course. GlaxoSmithKline are hoping for approval this year of their competitive product CERVARIX™ which they claim provides higher levels of immune response in trials to date.
In August 2006 a committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) has recommended that Gardasil be fully licensed and was quickly approved for sale within Europe from October. European authorities recommend that treatment be extended to boys as well as young girls and the UK Gubment are said to be looking at introducing a nationwide vaccination program for schoolchildren.
Around 80% of sexually active women can expect to receive an HPV infection at some stage in their life. Cervical cancer, which is caused by only some of the the strains of the HPV virus, kills an estimated 1,100 women in the UK every year - which has been stable for many years and appears irreduceable. The 1.5 Mn cervical smears that are undertaken throughout the UK each years cost approximately £40 each.
This interest in Lord Patel's previous post must reflect the common sense decision of the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry to issue a Directive Order to ordered the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to adopt rules requiring Merck & Co.'s new Gardasil vaccine for girls entering the sixth grade as of September 2008. He also also directed state health authorities to make the vaccine available free to girls ages 9 to 18 who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover vaccines. Parents can elect to have their children void the vaccinaion by filing an affidavit outlining their religious or philosophical objections. He also ordered Medicaid to offer Gardasil to women ages 19 to 21 , making the Lone Star the first US State to introduce such measures.
This Order follows a Bill filed by 2 Democrats late last yera with the same objectives.
Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, chairwoman of the health and human services committee considered this was hasty and asked for more consultation. See pic of the lady - whose health would be improved by 3 litle words "Calorie Controlled Diet". Neither will she be enjoying "weekend long" stays at the Austin Gubernatorial Mansion like Condi used to do when Dubya graced the Mansion.
Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst wasn't too happy about the Governer's groundbreaking health measures either
'I don't think the government should ever presume to know better than the parents what to do with children.'
Governor Perry, counts on support from the conservative Christian right , he opposes abortion and stem cell research using embryonic cells and claims cervical cancer vaccine is no different from the one that protects children against polio.
"Providing the HPV vaccine doesn't promote sexual promiscuity any more than providing the Hepatitis B vaccine promotes drug use," he said in a Monday statement. "If the medical community developed a vaccine for lung cancer, would the same critics oppose it claiming it would encourage smoking?"
Such enlightened thinking by Gov. Perry fails to square with the odd fact that the largest State legislates to prevent the sale of sex toys. Joanne Webb a company consultant for "Passion Parties" in Clebane, 50 miles from Dallas, TX was charged in 2004 with a misdemeanor for hawking her battery-operated handjob helpers (she sold a vibrator to undercover narcotics officers posing as a dysfunctional married couple in search of a sex aid) — although the case (possibly as a result of an attempt to get her company membersof the local Chamber of Commerce) was eventually dismissed.... which probably tells you more about the narcotics officers than the state of morals in Texas.
Maybe the Governor's move shows that they are all too aware that the HPV virus can be transmitted orally, between female sex partners and also (uuuggghhhhh!!!) by sharing sex toys.
One thing is for certain, it's good news for Merck and their shareholders.... and the teenagers of rural Texicana.... who won't need much encouragement anyway.
Governor Perry has however (Surprise...surprise!!) very close ties to Merck, having received US$6,000 from them for his re-election campaign .
"He also has ties to Women in Government, (WIG) a Merck-funded (see footnote) advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country (click here for website as banner here) . Their website says this is a "bipartisan initiative (that) mobilizes state legislators to address cervical cancer prevention in their states" . His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for the group," and past Chairman other State Directors are Rep Ruth McClendon, Rep. Alma Allen, and Sen. Senfronia Thompson. Dianne White Delisis is also Chairman of the Committee on Public Health and member of the Committee on Public Education.
Rep. Alma Allen (TX) and Sen. Senfronia Thompson (17 terms and chairs the Texas Legislative Black Caucus )(TX)are also on the Membership Roster of WIG.
5 term Ruth McClendon is a strong Christian and is committed to childen's health and welfare and lays claim to fact that The University of Texas Health Science Center - San Antonio has a new $200 million children's cancer center due to funding pushed the legislative process with her help. McClendon created a law that designates August 26th as Women's Independence Day in Texas to increase public awareness and serve as a reminder of the struggle both men and women endured to gain the right to vote. August 26th is the day the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote was ratified in 1920. It's a fair bet Dubya would have invited her over to discus Democracy and the woman's ...er ...vote.
"WIG is national 501(c)(3), non-profit, bi-partisan organization of women state legislators providing leadership opportunities, networking, expert forums, and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy issues.WIG also campaigns for Chronic Kidney Disease
Perry's former chief of staff Mike Toomey is one of the three Merck lobbyists in the State on their payroll.
Over 75 commercial subscribers and sponsors are listed without details of financial help and cover many pharma companies, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Roche, Lilly, Schering Plough, Solvay, Glaxo Smith Kline, Wyeth, Bristol Myers Squibb, Astra Zeneca, and Bayer, the largest Pharmacy Dispensary service in the US, CVS as well Mc Donald's, Proctor and Gamble, Exxon, Entergy and Duke Energy.
A Business Council has representatives on from Digene ,Exxon ,GlaxoSmithKline , Verizon Communications,Wellpoint, Inc.
This HPV/Gardasil/ Cervical cancer campaign is one to watch - as well as the Merck share price.