Gardasil :: Merck encouraging Gardasil HPV vaccine for middle-school girls

Merck recently has been providing lobbyists throughout the country with information about its human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil in an effort to encourage states to mandate that middle-school age girls receive it.

FDA in July 2006 approved Gardasil for sale and marketing to girls and women ages nine to 26, and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in July 2006 voted unanimously to recommend that girls ages 11 and 12 receive the vaccine.

Gardasil in clinical trials has been shown to be 100% effective in preventing infection with HPV strains 16 and 18, which together cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases. Merck also supports requiring private insurers to cover Gardasil, which costs $360 and is administered in three injections given over six months, as well as funding for programs that help defray vaccine costs for low-income and uninsured children.

Cervical cancer is a disease in which the cells of the cervix become abnormal and start to grow uncontrollably, forming tumors. In the United States, cervical cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women aged 35-54, and the third most common cancer of the female reproductive tract. In some developing countries, it is the most common type of cancer.

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