Monday, December 1, 2008

Gardasil Litigation?

Reports and lawsuits are beginning to accrue regarding Merck's vaccine for cervical cancer, Gardasil. Merck has been lobbying states to mandate the vaccine for middle-school aged girls. Several academics have argued against making the vaccine mandatory in a recent issue of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. Plus, a new study released in mid-November suggests that Gardasil may also help prevent genital warts in males. Despite the push for making the vaccine mandatory, reports of serious side effects and potential litigation have begun to surface. For instance, here's an excerpt of CBS News's report:

Yesterday I spoke to the families of young women who believe the Gardasil HPV vaccine may have – or did in fact – cause their child's serious illness. One of the cases involves a now 18-year old young woman named Amanda.

Amanda's parents say she developed a serious reaction to Gardasil after her first dose last summer. It began with soreness where she received the injection. The soreness eventually travelled down her arm, her legs, and led to a horrible autoimmune myofasciitis that is so painful Amanda had to go on morphine for the pain.

She was transformed, through the illness, from a high school varsity sport athlete to a chronically ill person who takes a handful of pills a day just to keep her illness tolerable. When she goes off the medicine, the excruciating pain and other debilitating symptoms return.

The FDA's press release regarding its Gardasil approval can be found here.

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