Cervical Cancer And The Hpv Vaccine Controversy: Where Are The Men? Where Is The Money?

1800 words - 7 pages

HPV Vaccination
Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancerous death, in women, since 1950. Approximately 200,000 cervical cancer patients die each year in developing countries. Strains like HPV 16 and 18 cause about 70% of cervical cancer in women– one of the top causes of death in the world (WebMD, 2010, p.1). In the Unites States, about 10,000 women acquire the disease and 3,700 die annually Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is directly associated as a cause of cervical cancer. This virus affects the skin and genital area and, in some cases, it can also infect the throat and mouth. Since the HPV is passed from one person to another through skin-to-skin or sexual contact, sexually active people are more prone to this virus. Merck pharmaceuticals, in November 2006, began a lobbying and advertising campaign through which they aimed to promote the mandatory vaccination for young women with the vaccine, Gardasil. Some argue that mandatory vaccination is good for females .However, feminists emphatically argue that the HPV vaccine should not be mandatory for young women because of the fact that there are large expenses associated with the vaccine that could lead to conflict of interest, the fact that men carry this virus yet there is no push to vaccinate them and the fact that it is not clear that the vaccine has been sufficiently tested to ensure women’s safety.

Since the vaccine research is currently only funded by the manufacturer of the drug, this raises serious conflict-of-interest issues. Merck pharmaceuticals actually funded initiatives in the United States that were in favour of passing legislation to require mandatory vaccinations. In fact, money was funnelled through an organization called Women in Government (AP January 2007, 1). Why is there such a rush to mandate this vaccine? Most advocates of the legislation claim that they are deeply concerned about the health of women. Merck has heavily promoted it, many political leaders have endorsed it, and the FDA has given it their seal of approval. Critics argue that mandatory vaccination sends an implicit message that lack of abstinence will be tolerated by young people living in the United States. Since the approved age for the vaccination ranges from 9 to 26, some critics state that children may become involved in sex at a very young age. Medical experts suggest, on the other hand, that young boys and girls should be vaccinated at the age of 11 or 12, to protect them before they become active in sex (Stein, 2009). This raises the controversy that the vaccine will promote promiscuity. This will become consent for premarital sex. As long as congressional funding for the FDA decreases and funding from drug companies increase, there will be skepticism about whether or not the FDA is acting independently. FDA is reliant on drug companies for substantial amounts of funding. As the percentage of funding from drug companies increases, more and more money is directed toward putting drugs on the...

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