Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Doubts re: Merck's new drug

The NACI is recommending that all women get vaccinated with Gardasil, the new vaccine by Merck to prevent against cervical cancer.

The two most interesting parts of the article are as follows:

1) The Calgary Herald reported that the Alberta government is studying the possibility of a school-based vaccination program. Bonus points to Alberta for being progressive.

2) I'm just going to quote this bit since it's the easiest thing to do:
“Studies have shown,” the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of Canada stated, "that the vaccine . . . is 100 per cent effective at preventing disease from the HPV types that account for 70 per cent of all cervical cancers and 90 per cent of genital warts.”

Yet National Post columnist Colby Cosh also noted that “we only have five years’ worth of effectiveness data on Gardasil. And because cervical cancer is so rare, Merck had to measure the incidence of pre-cancerous HPV lesions rather than the incidence of the disease itself. As NACI admits (quietly), the anti-cancer effects of the drug have technically ‘not yet been demonstrated,’ even for the most promising 9-13 age group.”

Hrm. Interesting.

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