Merck Halts Vaccine Lobbying

Merck (the pharmaceutical company) has apparently decided to stop lobbying state legislatures in the US to make their new HPV / Cervical Cancer vaccine mandatory for young girls.

(I blogged about this last May: Merck’s Cancer Vaccine & the Religious Right)

Here’s the recent story, via ABC News: Drug Giant Merck Suspends Campaign for HPV Vaccines

Drug manufacturer Merck & Co. announced Tuesday that it would suspend its campaign urging states to implement mandatory vaccination programs for preteen girls with Gardasil, its human papillomavirus vaccine .

According to the company, Merck made the move to avoid having its campaign take attention away from the bills being drafted in many U.S. states that would make the vaccine mandatory for preteen girls.

So, essentially the folks ar Merck are stopping their lobbying campaing because they’ve realized that it’s actually counterproductive. Corporate lobbying generally is a really great business ethics topic: it seems perfectly legitimate for companies large and small to try to influence public policy, but with great power comes great responsibility.

Of course, Merck hasn’t stopped promoting Gardisil altogether. If you haven’t already, you’ll soon bump into an ad like this, which I ran into while reading the news this morning:
What’s interesting about the ad campaign is the focus on parents protecting their daughters. I assume this campaign is going to result in some serious soul-searching for a lot of parents — parents who love and want to protect their daughters, but who don’t want to admit (or foresee) their daughters being sexually active. It’s going to make for some rather complicated parent-daughter conversations, I’d say…

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