Sunday, December 18, 2005

Cervical Cancer and the Kindness of Strangers

As you might recall, the clinical trial results for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine have been most promising. Both Merck's Gardasil quadrivalent (16, 18, 6 and 11) HPV vaccine, as well as GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix bivalent (16 and 18) vaccine have shown excellent promise.

Unfortunately, it appears effectiveness in preventing cancer is not enough. Not if you have the misfortune of being a female patient (emphasis mine):

Despite the obvious benefits, the vaccines may not be an easy sell: There are social and moral hurdles to overcome. "The biggest problem for companies will be convincing society of the need to vaccinate young girls against what is essentially a sexually transmitted disease," says Dr. Anne Szarewski, a clinical consultant at Cancer Research UK, which is conducting phase iii trials of Cervarix at Margaret Pyke Centre in London. Women worldwide had better hope Merck and GSK succeed.

So, all women can do is cross their fingers and hope that pharmaceutical companies [and/or politicians] have enough of a financial interest, or are benevolent enough to have their best interest at heart. Brilliant! Because, when it comes to making medical decisions, there's nothing like depending on the kindness of strangers. When did it become the accepted norm that female patients should be at the mercy of strangers in matters of health?

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At 8:46 PM, Blogger Bardiac said...

Since the very first laws regarding sexuality, abortion, birth control... you name it.

That doesn't mean it's good, of course, just nothing new. Alas.


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