Well, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is at it again! First it was Perry’s secret agreements with Cintra, a Spanish consortium, to manage the Trans Texas Corridor, then the Perry Business Income Tax, and then Perry’s reversal of his campaign promise to have a tough immigration policy. Now, Perry has issued an executive order mandating the Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, vaccine for 11 and 12 year old school girls.
Why did Perry reverse his pre-election position and issue an outrageous executive order mandating that all girls in the sixth grade receive the HPV vaccine? He says that it is about saving the lives of women. If this were his true motives, then why did he issue his press release late on the Friday afternoon preceding the Super Bowl? Why didn’t he hold a huge news conference with fanfare, boasting of his efforts?
Perry’s action took place without a single word of public debate. It appears to be a corporate welfare program for Merck, the creator of the vaccine, and will be paid for at the expense of Texas schoolgirls who will be the guinea pigs for this unproven treatment. That’s right, unproven treatment.
This is not a vaccine against cervical cancer; rather it is a vaccine against HPV, which is contracted through sexual relations. Merck admits in its own literature that it did not prove that the vaccine would prevent cancer. The HPV vaccine only protects against four of the 127 strains of HPV. According to British medical journal The Lancet, the vaccine is only effective for four and a half years. A booster injection will be needed every five years. This has not even been discussed. You can count on Merck to lobby to have this booster shot mandated and paid for with tax dollars.
The vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in mid-2006. Remember, the FDA does not perform studies on drugs or vaccines prior to approval. The FDA relies solely on studies performed by drug companies. Only one drug company study is required for approval of a product. Merck performed a five-year study of its vaccine using 25,000 women, mostly in third-world countries. Only 1,184 of the women in the study were pre-teenagers.
The average age of a woman with cervical cancer is 48. The effectiveness or dangers of this vaccine will not be known for at least a decade. Let’s put things into perspective. Cervical cancer results in just 3,700 deaths nationally every year compared to heart disease, which kills over 300,000 women annually.
Pharmaceutical companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying politicians for legislation that will give them financial benefits. Merck’s lobbying efforts on Gov. Perry have paid off handsomely.
The HPV vaccine has been coined Merck’s “How to Pay for Vioxx” solution. Merck manufactured Vioxx, an anti-arthritic drug that was pulled from the market in 2004 because it had caused 125,000 heart attacks. In lawsuits, Merck was found to have withheld information about the cardiac dangers of Vioxx from the FDA, physicians and patients. In the first of many trials, the jury found Merck guilty of knowingly causing harm to patients by selling Vioxx and awarded punitive damages amounting to $254 million. Merck lost billions in profits when their corrupt behavior was exposed.
Merck developed a plan to recoup their losses. It organized a strategy to have state governments mandate their HPV vaccine. Merck contributed to various medical organizations and to a group called Women in Government to buy support for the mandatory vaccination program, and hired lobbyists to swarm the state capitols across the nation, pushing this legislation. Until now, Merck’s efforts had been rejected, but with the help of Perry’s unprecedented executive order, Merck bypassed the Texas Legislature.
The cost of each series of vaccination is $360. Perry’s mandate will generate over $100 million every year for Merck in Texas and, if adopted nationwide, would generate billions of dollars more for Merck every year. It is unethical to bail Merck out of its financial troubles by forcing Texans to buy its product.
The Texas Medical Association opposes mandatory HPV vaccination.
All these facts make the credibility and motivation of Merck highly suspect. Relying on Merck’s studies for approval of this vaccine is like letting the fox guard the hen house. Merck has already been proven in court to operate dishonestly.
Perry’s unilateral decision is not based on science but upon personal power, profit and politics. Is Perry trying to position himself as a potential Republican vice-presidential candidate?
Texans need to think twice before having this vaccine administered to their daughters.
No public emergency existed for Gov. Perry to have assumed dictatorial powers and mandated this vaccine. Perry’s tyrannical action sets a dangerous precedent. This is not Venezuela.
British statesman Lord Acton’s words warn us, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
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Steven F. Hotze, M.D, is founder of the Hotze Health and Wellness Center, Physician’s Preference, Premier Pharmacy International and the American Academy of Biologically Identical Hormone Therapy. Hotze, founder and president of Conservative Republicans of Texas, is the author of “Hormones, Health & Happiness.”