By Tim Waggoner

WASHINGTON, August 21, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The New England Journal of Medicine posted two articles this week that asked why two human papillomavirus vaccines have been so widely distributed given their unproven effectiveness and high costs.

Gardasil by Merck Sharp & Dohme, which has already received tremendous criticism for the severe and fatal side-effects experienced by users, and Cervarix by GlaxoSmithKline were the two drugs called to question.

As reported by the New York Times, Dr. Charlotte J. Haug, editor of The Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association, whose editorial appeared in Thursday’s issue of The New England Journal, said, "Despite great expectations and promising results of clinical trials, we still lack sufficient evidence of an effective vaccine against cervical cancer.  With so many essential questions still unanswered, there is good reason to be cautious."

Both vaccines were tested for relatively short periods of time, revealed Dr. Haug, and researchers are yet to prove whether or not the vaccines offer lasting immunity and if a user’s natural immunity to other strains not eliminated by the vaccines will be compromised.  Dr. Haug said it is not certain if the protection offered by the vaccines will even lead to reduced rates of cervical cancer.

Jane J. Kim and Dr. Sue Goldie of Harvard, who likewise had a study published in this week’s issue of the medical journal, also brought up the fact that the vaccines have not been proven to offer life-long protection.  They said that until this is certain, the cost of the vaccines cannot be justified.

Furthermore, the costs of the vaccines cannot be offset by eliminating Pap smear screening because the test is still needed to identify HPV strands that the vaccines do not protect against.

These studies criticizing the effectiveness and cost of the HPV vaccines could not come at worse time for Merck – the drug giant is under fire because of a reported 9,749 cases of severe side-effects and 21 deaths associated with Gardasil.

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

HPV Vaccine Causes 21 Deaths and Counting - CDC Study Launched
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/aug/08081405.html