Big Pharma vs Big Jesus - the cervical cancer vaccine war

Via Insider at Pharmagossip. This title was too good not to repost here and the story in Insider's post comes straight from a British Sunday paper.

Human papilloma virus, or HPV, is responsible for the majority of cases of cervical cancer. From the American Cancer Society website:

The disease kills more than 288,000 women worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization. In the US, cervical cancer is expected to strike more than 9,700 women in 2006, and kill about 3,700.

Religious conservative attempts to try and deny access to the newly-approved HPV vaccine might actually make me go to church this open up a few cans of whoop-ass.

As Prof Stemwedel intimated on Thursday, to politicize a US FDA-approved vaccine and keep it from being deemed 'standard of care' could result in lack of vaccine access to children of the poor.

Enough already. Believe what you wish but get out of the way of public health.

Does the US religious right really want to be responsible for the deaths of more young American women every year than the total number of people killed in the 11 September terrorist attacks?

Compassionate conservatism?


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Unfortunately, the fundy fire-and-brimstone set think that if a woman gets HPV through pre-marital sex, she's a whore who deserves what she may get in the long run.

It's god's wrath and punishment for being such a harlot.

Much easier to let biology take care of it, you know, since we can't burn them any more...

By Jeb Baugh (not verified) on 11 Jun 2006 #permalink

Its' not about public health, it is about ccntrolling other people's sexuality and denying other's the right to their own bodies.

By CanuckRob (not verified) on 11 Jun 2006 #permalink

I wonder if the religious uproar against this anti-cancer vaccine would be the same had the vsccine been created for prostate cancer instead.

Might I point out, for the sake of devil's argument, the contradiction between criticizing one moral stance weighed against saving lives with the other moral stance weighed against saving lives of restricting DDT?

By Illuyanka of K… (not verified) on 11 Jun 2006 #permalink

It's also about controlling people's minds; worsening health care means increasing physical vulnerability and dependancy on luck, resulting (as I suspect the fundies theory goes) in people becoming more ceceptable to religious ideologies.

DDT damages the environment - you might argue how much, but it does. What does the HPV vaccine damage? The two cases are not the same.

One can easily argue that DDT, on the whole, contributes to societal health by killing bugs that spread disease such as Lyme Disease. Last time I checked cervical cancer didn't really have *too* many upsides like that. (ahem.)

One cannot easily argue that DDT contributes to societal health. I was under the impression that most species of insects were now immune to DDT, so using it doesn't accomplish much of anything, or at least anything good.

I don't have the data handy to back this up, but some scientist would probably know. There's probably one around here somewhere. Try throwing a rock.

big jesus!! you made my day!!!

I have written A LOT about this on other blogs, so I won't get into anything here. Give my kids the vaccine. Tomorrow would be good, please. Screw the idiots.

By impatientpatient (not verified) on 13 Jun 2006 #permalink

ImpatientPatient: Props for the title go entirely to my UK colleague, Insider, at his fabulous blog, PharmaGossip.

I'm still not sure I get the point of Illuyanka of Kishkilushsha, so I may need a little more education.

Mike (and others): Ouch, the rock hit me...Insect sensitivity to DDT is still reasonably good - the major issue is its unintended effects on birds, fish and humans that date back to Rachel Carson's environmental manifesto, Silent Spring, in 1962. There are far more selective and equally inexpensive insecticides for malaria prevention in sub-Saharan Africa. Walter Rogan at the US NIEHS is a well-known epidemiology expert on DDT and here is a link to a free PDF to one paper detailing how the increase in infant deaths from DDT would be roughly equal to the number of lives saved by effective malaria control.

The most important point everyone has missed on this issue is what are the long term side effects to young girls of reproductive age??

What if in 10 or 20 years they find out it makes our girls infertile or causes them to miscarriage like the drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) that was given to women a generation or so ago. All I ask is that as parents you research what studies have been done in the long term and what are the long term side effects.

Yes it's wonderful that the report states that it's 90 something % effective against HVP but what potential damage can it wreck on our young girls later?? Is this really worth rushing into and making it mandatory for everyone across the board to be injected??

Why not just let every parent choice for themselves if they want their child to have the vaccine. Why should parent's who are not yet convinced of the safety issues have to jump through whoops to op out?

We need to step back and ask ourselves if we had serious doubts about the long term safety of this vaccine to our daughter would we want to be on the other side trying to fight the government and the medical establishment because others rushed in to quickly to make it mandatory without having all the facts. It should be the responsibility of the parents who want the vaccine to ask for it and not the parent's who don't to op- out.

God every drug out there has side effects just watch the TV commercials the drug companies puts out and listen to the long list, many of them are deadly.

Are you really willing to gamble your daughters reproductive future on limited clinical history/data of the biological effects it may have down the road? I'm not, not till I know more.

When are we as parents going stop letting the pharmaceutical company's and politician's scare us into making health decisions for us and our kids without our input?