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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 13794

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Gérvas J.
Human papillomavirus vaccines. Three decent proposals .
CMAJ 2008 Jun 13; epub
http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/eletters/177/12/1527


Abstract:

Most developed countries have introduced human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines as a public health measure. But there are continuing doubts about the “real-world” effectiveness of the vaccine and I and others have called for a slower, more cautious approach, so far to no avail (1-5).

Cervical cancer is predominantly a problem in under-developed countries and among poor and marginalized females in rich countries. The major burden of the disease is in poor countries (in Latin America, the Caribbean, and eastern Africa), and these countries can not only not afford the costs associated with a public campaign of HPV vaccinations, but lack the infrastructure to support both mass immunizations — even with a reduced-price vaccine – and the Pap or other screening tests that are fundamental to a holistic cervical cancer prevention program.

Moreover, although marketing of the vaccines promises life-long protection from infection from the two viral types associated with about 70% of cases of cervical cancer, and “the beginning of the end of cervical cancer,” there are no published data to support these claims…


Notes:

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As an advertising man, I can assure you that advertising which does not work does not continue to run. If experience did not show beyond doubt that the great majority of doctors are splendidly responsive to current [prescription drug] advertising, new techniques would be devised in short order. And if, indeed, candor, accuracy, scientific completeness, and a permanent ban on cartoons came to be essential for the successful promotion of [prescription] drugs, advertising would have no choice but to comply.
- Pierre R. Garai (advertising executive) 1963