On Wednesday, May 30, 2007
11:30.....The Caucus of Women Legislators hosts a legislative forum to discuss the pros and cons of requiring pre-teen girls to be immunized to guard against cervical cancer. A panel is scheduled to include Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, Boston University Medical Center Dr. Katherine Hsu, Health Care Financing Committee co-chair Sen. Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge), and Merck senior director of medical affairs Dr. Gregg Sylvester. The panel will also discuss funding proposals for a vaccine.....Room 350 [at the State House]
See our previous posting
Will Mass. Require HPV Vaccine -- Now Linked to Deaths? (5-25-07)
And see the Washington Times, "HPV vaccine concerns give legislatures pause" (4-25-07). Other states including California, New Mexico, and Maryland have had the sense to step back from this foolishness:
The initial rush to require the inoculation of preteen girls with the new HPV vaccine Gardasil fueled by Merck & Co.'s lobbying is meeting resistance as state lawmakers nationwide begin to question its safety, long-term effectiveness and cost.
... "It is far too early for this vaccine to be mandatory. We don't know about its long-term effectiveness or safety," said Lawrence Gostin, director of the Center for Law and the Public's Health at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities. "A response to the rush to mandate could backfire on us with public dissatisfaction and serve as a deterrent to all vaccinations." ...
Merck's lobbying efforts are widely credited with the speed at which a legislative initiative was begun in nearly 40 states. Working with Women in Government, an advocacy group for female state legislators, Merck prodded state lawmakers to prepare legislation while Food and Drug Administration approval was still pending. Many of the bills across the country have been introduced by members of Women in Government.
Merck called off its Gardasil lobbying effort in February after public criticism over the company's motives began to swell. Merck had the backing of a number of prominent public-health organizations, including the American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics, which have recommended that girls receive the vaccine. The groups stopped short of pressing for the mandate that Merck wants. Some say they are not ready to endorse a mandate so soon after the vaccine gained FDA approval.