A federal government advisory committee voted Tuesday to recommend that males ages 11 to 21 be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus, which is blamed for thousands of cases of cancer among women and men.
There's a liquid drug that women can get injected into a layer of muscle -- three separate times over a six-month period -- that can protect them from a kind of cancer. From a scientific perspective, that's amazing. In terms of public health, it's a breakthrough.
Is Gardasil vaccination reliable? I've heard plenty of ugly things about this vaccination. I have a 17-year-old daughter and her doctor recommends that she get this vaccine. I am very confused because of the negative and positive information. Would you be able to clarify?
Genital human papillomavirus, or HPV, which infects the skin and mucous membranes, is the most common sexually transmitted disease. About 20 million Americans have the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer, which kills about 250,000 women worldwide each year. In the United States, cervical cancer will be diagnosed in about 12,000 women this year, and 4,000 will die, the CDC says. Women get Pap smears to detect cervical cancer and now have the option of preventing it with a vaccine. Gardasil, developed by Merck, works to protect against four strains of HPV, including two connected to 70 percent of cervical cancers.
The cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil also works to prevent cancers of
the vagina and vulva, federal health officials said Friday, as they
approved expanding its use to protect against those diseases as
What we said In "Merck Is on the Mend" (Feb. 5), we recommended a second look at the pharma giant, which was recovering from the low it reached in 2004 amid the Vioxx debacle. We mentioned that Merck was winning approvals for a host of new drugs, including cervical-cancer vaccine Gardasil. We cited Bear Stearns analyst John Boris's year-end price target of $53.
Vital protection against cervical cancer could soon be made available, not just from Merck but also from GlaxoSmithKline, providing life-saving potential for women while feeding a competitive atmosphere for the drug giants.
Merck has already angered Christian conservatives by pushing to make its yet-to-be approved cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil, mandatory for girls as young as nine. But that could be the least of the company's worries regarding the projected $4 billion-a-year vaccine.
Merck, the second-biggest American drug maker, said on Friday that its experimental cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil can also prevent external genital lesions in women, including vaginal and vulvar lesions.
A cervical cancer vaccine that analysts are calling the biggest potential blockbuster in Merck & Co.'s pipeline passed the first phase in late-stage testing and will be filed with the Food and Drug Administration this year, the company said Thursday.