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< Who's Hot? Who's Not? | Main | Bill filings - Tuesday >

Cervical cancer vaccine backlash?

Posted at 7:50 PM on February 12, 2007 by Bob Collins (7 Comments)

I'm sitting in a motel room in Albany, New York. In others words, I've got no more insight on what's going on at the Capitol this week than you do.

As usual, the extent of my knowledge is merely to see stuff and wonder, "hey, what's going on here?"

So I'll only ask, "hey, what's going on here?" regarding HF 530. I called your attention to this legislation last week when the Texas governor ordered that schoolgirsl be vaccinated against the human papilloma virus. Sounds like a great idea, right? Maybe. But there's another side to this. Merck, the giant pharmaceutical company, is bankrolling the effort nationwide to get measures like this passed.

Guess who makes the vaccine?

Last week, Rep. Sandra Peterson had her name taken off the bill (or, at least, it's scratched out on the copy of the bills I keep, so I'm assuming she had it taken off...or I accidentally added it in the first place). Then, according to today's Journal of the House, Rep. Maria Ruud withdrew her name from the bill.

She was the chief author.

I don't know what's going on here, but I smell a new story, even from as far away as Albany. If the chief author is jumping ship, it may not even get a hearing. A similar bill is in the Senate. An MFL points possibility? Doesn't look like it.

Comments (7)

I talked to Rep. Ruud and she said she turned the bill over to Rep. Kahn because she was too busy with her global warming legislation (Ruud was the chief author, Kahn is now). Ruud claims it has nothing to do with any controversy surrounding the bill.

Posted by tom scheck | February 13, 2007 7:42 AM

So Merck is assumed to be guilty of what, trying to cure cancer? We complain about lack of health care and yet people back away because of a fear that Merck might be what?

What if Merck is altruistic in this, is this drug not what many people go into drug research for, to find a cure for cancer?

Posted by Brian Hanf | February 13, 2007 8:52 AM

I don't have any of your answers, Brian because I'm still asking questions before I *personally* form an opinion.

I think I would want to know how much Merck is spending and -- the big question -- why and in what form? It doesn't cost anything to get good legislation passed.

Apparently Merck is funneling the money through a group called Women in Government. Where it goes from there I don't know and Merck isn't saying.

$360 for three shots times the number of girls in each state who would be required to get them. That's a pretty good chunk of change for a company, I would think.

I think there are other -- sociological -- questions that some people have that, I assume, will come up *if* the bill gets a hearing.

Many of them are in Tom's story.

Posted by Bob Collins | February 13, 2007 11:30 AM


I was not commenting on your personal opinion, in fact I like and appreciate how you present the facts, in this piece and your other writing.

The questions were meant to be rhetorical.

Posted by Brian Hanf | February 13, 2007 12:24 PM

Merck was estimated to make over 2 billion this year from the federal government's purchase of this vaccine alone. Also, at $360.00 per series this vaccine is one of the most expensive vaccines ever made. (New York Times and MPR)

Posted by Trevor Gould | February 13, 2007 12:49 PM

//The questions were meant to be rhetorical.

Digging it! Good ones to ask too.

I'm anxious for the hearings. Haven't had any real rockin' hearings at the Cap yet this year.

Posted by Bob Collins | February 13, 2007 3:39 PM

What's wrong with the immunization being voluntary, not mandatory?

Will the state fund the immunization for families that can't afford it?

Posted by Nancy G | February 14, 2007 12:10 AM