On Probing Our Providers

Most of us have a basic trust that when we see our doctors for illness, they have the background and authority to diagnose and treat our ailments. We don't often question the recommendations of our physicians or suspect that the drugs they prescribe don't meet the highest of safety standards. But today, as more and more stories pop up in the news about the numerous ill effects various medications can have on our bodies, we are beginning to probe our health care providers on the safety and efficacy of the medications they prescribe.

Among the largest manufacturers of pharmaceuticals worldwide, Merck & Co. made the following statement about its own product: the Gardasil vaccine: "Gardasil is the only human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that helps protect against 4 types of HPV." But according to a report from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting system, "… as of January 2010, there were more than 17,000 reports of adverse reactions regarding this vaccine. Among them are 59 deaths, 18 of which were among girls under the age of 17."

Gardasil Statistics?

Merck has been plugging the vaccine for years now, "In girls and young women ages 9 to 26, Gardasil helps protect against 2 types of HPV that cause about 75 percent of cervical cancer cases, and 2 more types that cause 90 percent of genital warts cases. [Gardasil] also helps protect against 70 percent of vaginal cancer cases."

Now, Merck has begun touting the vaccine to men, too. Regarding this development, the company states that, " … in boys and young men ages 9 to 26, Gardasil helps protect against 90 percent of genital warts cases."

These statistics, which receive prominent focus in ads for the Gardasil vaccine, are meant to evoke a kind of dread that will prod us to vaccinate ourselves and our children in the belief that three shots will protect us and them from HPV, cervical cancer, and the development of genital warts.

Eat Right

But Dr. Joseph Mercola, a well-known osteopath says otherwise, "Although there are 6 million cases of HPV each year, just 2 percent of the patients in a recent study were infected by the kinds of HPV that put them at high risk for developing cervical cancer. You need to be aware that if you eat right, exercise and keep stress in your life under control, your immune system is typically healthy enough to clear up the vast majority of HPV infections."

Most Americans don't get to hear this other side of the coin and jump on the Merck/Gardasil bandwagon, in unquestioning adherence to what they believe is medical wisdom extended for the benefit of the public. They believe Merck, the doctors, and their government that Gardasil is the only way to prevent HPV, genital warts, and cervical cancer.

Get the facts on Gardasil and decide for yourself if this vaccine is right for you or for your daughters.