Education or Marketing?

Can you tell the difference?

That’s the Shakespearian question in the new playwright staging Gardasil and Cervarix, the main protagonists in the Agora opposing people, lobbies and government. In the center of the intrigue unaware of the external dissensions and tribulations lays cervical cancer contemplative, impotent. Somewhere in opposite continents, Far West and Europa, two fortunate families the gent Merck and Glaxo lived in opulence through their drug mercantile activities. Prosperity and happiness reigned in both households. Their power spread from medical institutions to the confined hemicycle of the government. As any influential figures both families assured and reinforced their authority with substantial cash flow to the concerned parties. After an average of five and a half years of gestation, and to the joy of both parties, both families gave birth to promising destinies Gardasil and Cervarix. Both had in common curative and preventive properties against the scourge at the time seraphic cervical cancer. Both with financial support flirted with notoriety, only one however, sweet Gardasil reached fame, totalizing from $1,4 to $1,6 billion of sales outside Europa this year. In the year 2008, as a result of an aggressive marketing campaign, Gardasil received the laurels of the Marketing Excellence Awards and was elected “Brand of the year”. In spite of doubled efforts, Cervarix got limited by European legislations restraining drug advertising. As Gardasil’s popularity increased among its devoted admirers in this idyllic set-up, outraged voices of detractors could distinctively be heard in the background. A horde of angry citizens, medical representatives spoke loudly revealing the collusion between the medical corps, associations, the government and the drug makers to encourage, to pressure the vaccination, and to legislate on cervical cancer. Their concern was the efficiency of Gardasil, its duration of protection, its long-term effect, its possible side effects… According to those voices Gardasil only offered a partial protection against the human papillomavirus (HPV) that would trigger the precancerous cells. As the gent Merck still alerts the population about the dangers of the proliferation of cervical cancer in the society, the CDC just rose an antagonistic voice by stating that over 8000 recipients, adverse reactions were reported from pain to serious side effects. Ten cases experimented as guinea pigs that they were not willing to be, temporary to total paralysis. Fifteen died. By disseminating fear among the female population, the main target, Merck manipulates consciences based on ignorance. They flip a coin on our health by negating us knowledge with the omniscient participation of partial FDA. What is irrefutable is that vaccines prevent only 70% of cervical cancers, vaccines are avoidable through pap smears or by reducing the age of sexual activity… Between education and marketing pharmaceutical companies chose their side (the dollar), what will be yours?

In memory of Hollie Anderson.

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