Truthiness in Advertising – Gardasil

gardasilvaccineWithout Gardasil, I Could be One Less Girl Harmed by Big Pharma

Below is the script of a TV ad for Gardasil, a vaccine for the human papillomavirus ( HPV) which may cause cervical cancer. These ads have been widely broadcast and feature hip young skateboarding and drum-playing girls just wanting to be “one less.” The Gardasil ad script is in italic type. My version of the truth, as I think it should be voiced by Merck, the manufacturer, is in normal type.

Each year in the U.S., thousands of women learn they have cervical cancer.

We admit, “thousands” is a relative term. Not many women in developed countries get cervical cancer, and even fewer die from it. In the U.S., about 12,000 women a year get cervical cancer, and less than 4,000 of them die from it. The majority of women who die from cervical cancer are drug addicts and/or prostitutes who are in poor health and don’t get regular pap smears. Many more women die of cervical cancer in underdeveloped countries, but since they’re not going to pay $300 for a vaccine, we’re focusing our efforts on the U.S.

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