It is often said that those unable to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Seems true here: over at Pharmalot, Ed Silverman has a great -- if troubling -- piece up on a minor echo of the Gardasil® Texas mandate flap (which still dogs Gov. Perry's presidential nomination hopes) of a few years back. This version is unfolding in California, where Merck donated to a state legislator who introduced the bill, and then later claimed, falsely, that she hadn't received any Merck donations.
It seems unlikely that the California Governor will ultimately sign the bill, given the Perry debacle, but we will keep a weather eye on it for you, thanks to Ed, at Pharmalot (here is some of his -- do go read it all)
. . . .The legislation, which has been dubbed the Gardasil bill after the Merck HPV vaccine, generated criticism over Gardasil side effects as well as concerns among some parents and social conservatives that passage would amount to a green light to premarital sex. The California Catholic Conference, for instance, sent notices warning parents that minors do not have adequate judgment about vaccination (see this).
Such views run contrary to public health officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that Gardasil is needed as public health tool not long after the FDA approved the vaccine in 2006 to protect against the 6, 11, 16 and 18 strains of the human papillomavirus, which can lead to cervical cancer. The FDA approved the vaccine for girls and women ages 9 to 26, but has resisted raising the age bracked. Since then, GlaxoSmithKline won approval to market Cervarix.
Meanwhile, a look at campaign donations by CalWatchdog found that many members of the California senate and assembly who voted to approve the legislation also received money last year from Merck. This group includes representative Toni Adkins, who introduced the bill and earlier this summer denied that she ever received money from the drugmaker.
Adkins, for instance, received $1,000, according to the Merck corporate and political action committee report for 2010 (read here). She was among 15 members of the assembly who voted in favor of the bill and also received Merck money (see here). Similarly, 10 state senators who voted in favor of the bill this week also received money from the drugmaker (look here). . . .
We will keep you informed -- but I'll be shocked if Gov. Brown ultimately signs this abomination of an act into law. Gov. Perry did, though -- in Texas a few years ago -- so, I should perhaps not be so sanguine.
To make my views abundantly plain, I'll note that I support condoms for all, without parental involvement, as there are essentially no direct side effects from their use. While we may disagree about the frequency of the adverse events associated with Gardasil, we are all likely to agree that there have been some -- and some are truly debilitating and life-long.
Is a 12 year old girl really equipped to weight these matters, judiciously, any more than she is able to judiciously weigh a choice to become sexually active at that age? I'd suggest not. And it is beyond dispute that the only way to contract the virus is through deep sexual contact. Thus, all California parents must have a right to step in here -- as this is only a partial prevention (with risks), not after the fact treatment.