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Friday, September 26, 2008

Cervarix - Promotion or Scaremongering?

With many websites backing use of Glaxo's HPV vaccine, Cervarix, I thought maybe it was time to add some balance to the argument of whether or not this drug is actually needed.

I'm not a scientist, I'm a consumer, and when a drug comes along from a pharmaceutical company who have a history of manufacturing drugs that have caused misery to consumers then I feel it only right to redress the balance.

As a consumer you have the right to be protected against products, production processes and services, which are hazardous to health or life. You also have the right to be informed - to be given the facts needed to make an informed choice, and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labelling.

It is my belief that these basic rights are being taken away from children...and the parents of children.

I may be accused in certain circles of scaremongering but I believe this is exactly what GlaxoSmithKline are doing with Cervarix. There may be cervical cancer victims damning me to hell because of my beliefs, but I feel really strongly about the way Cervarix is being touted here in the UK.

Let's take a brief look at GSK and their consumer history:

Source: Consumers International

Before GSK's anti-depressant Paxil [Seroxat] was approved for use against social phobia in 1999, the company organized a large public awareness campaign about this condition, renaming it social anxiety disorder. GSK has been accused of grossly exaggerating the number of people that would be suffering from this condition, leading to inappropriate drug use and much higher sales of Paxil.

In 2000 GSK's drug Lotronex had been approved by the FDA for women with irritable bowel syndrome. Months after approval of the drug reports about side effects were sent to the FDA. GSK then voluntary withdrew the drug from the US market. Patient groups, including at least one funded by GSK, wrote letters to the FDA demanding the drug be re-approved. GSK also sponsored the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Its president Nancy Norton spoke at advisory meetings, which were set up by the FDA in order to assess the safety concerns surrounding Lotronex, without revealing that the Foundation received significant amounts of money from the pharmaceutical companies, including GSK. At the time of her appearances, the industry was reportedly funding the Foundation in the order of $600 000 a year.[1]

In 2001, GSK has been warned several times by the FDA (US) to change its promoting activities in the context of Avandia.[2]

In 2002 German authorities started an investigation against GSK for corruption of at least 1600 doctors.[3]

In February 2003, Italian authorities started an investigation against GSK for corruption of over 4,000 of doctors. The total value of illegal gifts would have been €228 million from 1999 to 2002. Because of these incentives, doctors would have prescribed 7-8% more products of GSK per year.[4]

Promotional materials for GSKs antidepressant Paxil have claimed that the drug reduces the likelihood that people will harm themselves. However, data from clinical trials indicated the opposite, namely that people continue to harm themselves.[5]

In 2005 the Dutch Code Commission ruled that GSK had made unjust claims about the necessity of using Seretide in the treatment of COPD in its promotional materials and violated the Code on the Promotion of Medicinal Products.[6] The Commission also showed that GSK had provided unclear and misleading information for Avandamet and Avandia in a mailing to healthcare professionals and ordered the company to stop these practices.[7]

In May 2004, GSK was accused of fraudulent manoeuvres to extend patent protection over its anti-depressant Paxil and its antibiotic Augmentin, in order to prevent generic competition.[8]

Parents Allege Pharmaceutical Giant Tricked Them With Experimental Vaccine

GSK's Seroxat 'may harm sperm'

Just a few things to mull over whilst you ponder whether or not you should give the go-ahead for your child to be vaccinated with GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix.

It's certainly food for thought.

I also wouldn't strictly adhere to the advice of GSK or the other sites promoting the vaccine. 'Talk with your doctor', seems to be the main deflection yet again. You may recall the term 'Talk with your doctor' appears on the Seroxat information leaflet no less than thirty times. Question you, as parents, have to ask yourselves is, What do doctors know about this vaccine? What do the NHS know about it? What do the MHRA know about it?

Give your children a chance in life, more importantly, give your children's children a chance in life. Research this drug until you have ALL the facts. Don't take the words of GSK, The NHS and The MHRA as gospel. They've been wrong in the past and know doubt they will be wrong again.

Do you really want your child to be a human guinea pig?

I feel really strongly about this, I said weeks ago that something didn't sit right with me - that feeling continues to grow as more and more websites promote this vaccine.

Read the bullet points above and compare them to the 'promotion' of Cervarix. You will see that we are going down the same old road again where the consumer [in this case your children] is being targeted for a drug that we know so little about.

At the end of the day, it's a descision that has to be made but one needs ALL the facts before they can make the right choice.

I don't trust GlaxoSmithKline, I don't trust their ethics. I, for one, would not allow any daughter of mine to be subjected to a vaccine manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. I hold them personally responsible for causing me an addiction, whatever way they or the regulators dress it up, addiction is what I had and for that I hold them in complete contempt.

I'd hate to see parents lobbying for the banning of this vaccine 10 years down the line, I would hate to see young women campaigning because they were given this drug at such an early age and it has caused them problems later on in life. I am assuming here, but that's all one can do when one does not have all the facts.

I hope I am wrong. I hope this vaccine can prevent cervical cancer. Would Andrew Witty, the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, be prepared to sign a statement that Cervarix WILL prevent cervical cancer and if it does not then he will be personally held accountable? That would be asking too much.

You see, GlaxoSmithKline, are a company, they are not one single entity one can blame when things go pear shaped. If GlaxoSmithKline were one person, then that person would have been behind bars a very long time ago.

Do your research. You owe to your children.

Fid

[1] R. Moynihan & A. Cassels, Selling Sickness, (Crows Nest/Australia, Allen & Unwin: 2005), p. 156-169.
[2] Oekom research, Corporate responsibility industry report: pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology, February 2005, p.8
[3] K.Werner, H.Weiss, 'Het nieuwe zwartboek wereldmerken en hun praktijken', (Rijswijk 2004), p.301.
[4] The Guardian (February 13, 2003). GSK British drugs giant in Italian bribery investigation; Financial Times (March 15, 2002). German doctors accused of taking bribes.
[5] D. Healy, Let them eat Prozac (Toronto: Lorimer & Co, 2003).
[6] Stichting CGR, K05.008, Boehringer jegens GSK,
http://www.cgr.nl/index.cfm?pageid=5758 (12 December 2005).
[7] Stichitng CGR, K05.003, v Ballegooie jegens GSK,
http://www.cgr.nl/index.cfm?pageid=5645 (12 December 2005).
[8] Financial Times (May 5, 2004). NY sues GSK over patent manoeuvres.



Related links

GLAXO RECALL CERVARIX VACCINE

Cervarix Tested for Boys!

Natalie Morton, 14 Dies after Cervarix jab

GlaxoSmithKline challenged safety Cervarix anti-cancer vaccine left girl partially paralysed

4,602 Suspected Adverse Reactions to GSK's Cervarix!

Girls used as Guinea Pigs in HPV Trials Admits GSK

GSK - A Catalogue of Disasters!

Glaxo: "Promote More, Feel Better and Live a Life of Luxury"

Glaxo Goes Head-to-Head on HPV

Teenage Girls Sue Over GSK's Cancer Jab, Cervarix!

GlaxoSmithKline submits final study data to FDA for cervical cancer vaccine

HPV Vaccine Video on Youtube

Concerns over GSK's Cervarix vaccine

UP YOURS GLAXO!

Mindy Merck & Gail Glaxo Dilemma

LOLA'S LAND PROMOTING HPV VACCINE

GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix. Is Your Daughter Safe?

More debate on GSK's Cervarix

Cervical Cancer, Ofsted & GlaxoSmithKline

Read the new book, The Evidence, However, Is Clear...The Seroxat Scandal

By Bob Fiddaman

ISBN: 978-1-84991-120-7
CHIPMUNKA PUBLISHING

AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD HERE


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