In a surprising move today, Texas governor Rick Perry ordered all female school students in Texas (some as young as 11) to get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that frequently causes cervical cancer. This was a surprising move because Governor Perry normally shows little concern for schoolchildren, male or female.
The girls will have to get Merck & Co.’s new vaccine against strains of the human papilloma virus, or HPV, that are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. Merck is bankrolling efforts to pass laws in state legislatures across the country mandating it Gardasil vaccine.
Perhaps this little tidbit explains Governor Perry’s actions: one of the drug company’s three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry’s former chief of staff. Plus, Merck contributed $5000 to Perry’s reelection campaign.
Merck could sell billions of dollars worth of Gardasil (at $360 for the three-shot dosage) if the shots were made mandatory across the country.