Truthiness in Advertising – Gardasil – It has Risks, Dangers, Side Effects

gardasilvaccinehpvWithout 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.

I could be one less. One less statistic. One less.

Because now there’s Gardasil. The only vaccine that may help protect you from 4 types of human papillomavirus [HPV] that may cause 70% of cervical cancer.

Notice we said “may help.” Not “will help.” That’s because Gardasil only affects 4 out of 18 types of HPV, and that 70% statistic is debatable, which is why we again used the word “may.”

According to the CDC and FDA websites, HPV is not dangerous in healthy women, and in most women it is short-lived, not associated with cervical cancer, and goes away on its own, without treatment.

I want to be one less woman who will battle cervical cancer. One less.

Most cervical cancer is caught early when it amounts to a few abnormal cells on a pap smear, and is treated in a doctor’s office or outpatient clinic.

Like all vaccines, Gardasil may not fully protect everyone.

In fact, since we have no long-term studies on the vaccine, you girls are our guinea pigs. Just be forewarned however, that if you do suffer from side effects such as paralysis, convulsions or death, we will claim it was a coincidence.

The side effects include pain, swelling, itching and redness at the injection site, fever nausea or dizziness.

We hate to mention this, but according to the FDA’s Vaccine Adverse Event Report System (VAERs) website and media interviews with parents of girls who got the vaccine,  Gardasil has also been associated with fainting, convulsions, seizures, blood clots, extreme fatigue, swelling, pain in the joints, severe rashes and sores, brain inflammation, paralysis, and oh by the way, it has been related to 32 deaths. But as far as we’re concerned, those are all just “anecdotal,” and you can’t prove it isn’t because the VAERs website isn’t set up to gather the information that would be needed to prove it.

Gardasil is not for women who are pregnant.

Gardasil does not prevent all types of cervical cancer, so it is important to continue with routine cervical cancer screenings.

Gardasil will not treat cervical cancer.

We try never to mention this, but some research indicates that the Gardasil vaccine may activate the HPV virus, and may accelerate existing HPV. Given that the HPV virus is extremely common and almost always harmless, this seems like a significant risk. According to one study, for women who already had cervical cancer when they got the vaccine, the vaccine increased high grade cancerous lesions by 44 percent.

Ask your doctor about getting vaccinated with the only cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil.

Well, it's really an HPV vaccine, but cervical cancer sounds so much scarier. And just in case not enough of you are asking your doctor about Gardasil, we’re throwing millions of dollars at U.S. politicians in an effort to make the Gardasil vaccine mandatory in order for girls to enter junior high school. If poor girls can’t afford it, we’ll eventually get the federal government to pay top dollar for them to get it. And get this. We’re working hard to get Gardasil approved for young boys. Not that they get cervical cancer, but it “may help” protect them from getting genital warts. What a bonanza for us! Between the boys and the girls we’ll make billions!

We would like to remind you that although Gardasil is now recommended by the powers that be for girls and women ages 9 through 26, it was only tested on teens and women 15 through 26.

Gardasil. Gardasil. Gardasil. Gardasil.

Oh what it could do for our company. The vaccine requires three shots, and costs $300. Multiply that by millions of women and boys and well, you do the math. We realize that in this economy, that’s quite a price to pay for a medication that does not have long term testing, treats 4 out of 18 strains of HPV, could very well cause terrible side effects and even death, and after millions of vaccines, will in the U.S. only prevent a few thousand deaths largely in a group of women who are unlikely to get a vaccine to begin with. But our CEOs and stockholders love it so we will do everything in our power, which is considerable, to force it on you. We’re a company that has its priorities straight!

With Gardasil, you could be one less.

Then again, with Gardasil you could be one more victim of a potentially harmful drug. With Gardasil you could be $300 poorer and still get cervical cancer. With Gardasil your existing HPV, which is very common and almost always harmless, could get much worse and actually cause cervical cancer. With Gardasil, if you have cervical cancer when you get the vaccine, it could get much worse.

Without Gardasil you could be one less woman to be harmed or killed by Big Pharma.

OK, enough of the ad. Another truth is that it's very easy and inexpensive to treat most abnormal pap smears, which are a precursor to most cervical cancers. Here's an article by Dr. John Lee, Simple Remedy for Abnormal Pap Smear.

All women should get regular pap smears, and high grade pap smears should be treated by a doctor.


Dunne EF, Unger ER, Sternberg M et al, “Prevalence of HPV infection among females in the United States,” JAMA. 2007;297:813-819.

Gostin LO, DeAngelis CD, “Mandatory HPV Vaccination: Public Health vs. PrivateWealth,” editorial, JAMA. 2007;297(17):1921-1923.

Moss, Ralph Ph.D., “On Guard – Gardasil: A critical look at a new and controversial vaccine.” The Moss Reports,

Ostrow RS, Bender M, Niimura M et al, “Human Papillomavirus DNA in Cutaneous Primary and Metastasized Squamous Cell Carcinomas, PNAS 1982;79;1634-1638.

Saraiya M, Ahmed F, Krishnan S et al, “Cervical cancer incidence in a prevaccine era in the United States, 1998-2002,” Obstet Gynecol. 2007;109:360-370.

The Future II Study Group, “Quadrivalent Vaccine against Human Papillomavirus to Prevent High-Grade Cervical Lesions, NEJM, May 10, 2007, No. 19, Volume 356:1915-1927.

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