RRP ISA Survey Results

    (Important Disclaimer)


    Cervical Obsessions

    HPV is not just a women’s disease, and cervical cancer is not the only issue. HPV is also the sole cause of RRP. It also causes RRP and up to 25% of all head and neck cancers (tonsilar cancer, penile and vulvar cancer and rectal cancer. And that’s just for starters. 

    Merck's educational campaign was based on the fact that many women didn't know what HPV was or that it caused cervical cancer. Well, how many men and women don't know that HPV also causes head and neck cancer? 

    Fifteen months after releasing Gardasil, Merck’s own website showed only two HPV-caused diseases (http://www.gardasil.com). It shows cervical cancer & genital warts. On http://www.hpv.com, also by Merck, RRP indeed shows, along with cancer of the female genitalia and cervix, but a whole host of non-gender based cancers do not appear. 

    GlaxoSmithKline's version of the HPV vaccine is called Cervarix. This vaccine refers to the female anatomy. Do you think men are going to line up to take a vaccine called Cervarix? Women, would you want to take or give your daughters a vaccine with a name tied to the male anatomy such as testicularix, even if its purpose was to prevent HPV disease? 

    It is not our intention to be offensive to anyone, and we hope you see the humor. But we feel a need to comment on the continuing and serious issues of focusing educational programs about HPV only on women.

    The educational programs are centered around the statistical fact that many women have never heard of HPV, nor did they know it causes cervical cancer. But HPV causes RRP and many other forms of cancer that are killing people on a daily basis. Why isn't this part of the educational initiative?

    We think GSK may have some marketing issues with Cervarix and the male population and that Merck can do much more in educating BOTH genders about the dangers of HPV.

    RRP ISA has presented on this issue repeatedly. We testified at the CDC/ACIP hearing on Merck’s behalf in Atlanta, and we have talked many times with high level Merck staff. It isn’t that the FDA forbids education but it is possible that the big pharma lawyers think that it does. 

    It is clearly not sufficient to rely on the pharmaceutical companies. If they are not interested in mounting a vigorous educational campaign that includes RRP and other forms of cancer besides cervical, what can we do? 

    "Outside the Box” was RRP ISA’s subtitle to the last RRP Focus Session it facilitated in Los Angeles, 2005. Starting today, we are inviting cooperation with the RRPF, the RRP Taskforce, the Papillomavirus Society and a host of cancer coalitions. It is time for a broad-based educational initiative. It is time to break through the media silence on HPV.