Merck's new dude-targeted Gardasil ad?
We knew it would happen eventually: the FDA has approved the marketing of Gardasil, Merck's wildly expensive and probably effective HPV vaccine, to boys. Since boys don't have cervixes (at least, not yet) the vaccine will only be marketed for the prevention of genital warts. Here's a choice quote from the Times article on the decision:
Although the F.D.A. panelists voted that Merck had demonstrated the safety and efficacy of Gardasil for boys, skepticism among a few panelists suggested that Merck may find it difficult to persuade boys to have shots for an uncomfortable but non-life-threatening problem that often resolves itself without medical intervention.
I, for one, can't wait for the faux-social marketing ad campaigns that are going to come out of this. The prevention of cervical cancer death, a relatively nonimportant health issue in the United States, was an effective hook because people are still scared of--and confused by--cancer, especially cancer of the lady parts that is caused by exposure to gentleman parts.
Men can get penis or anal cancer from HPV, but Gardasil has not been shown effective at preventing the strains that cause these cancers so it can only be marketed for its wart-preventing effects.
Apparently everybody's already forgotten last summer's expose in the Times that revealed how hard Merck lobbied (they would say "educated") physicians, nurses, and policymakers to manufacture demand for Gardasil:
Said Dr. Raffle, the British cervical cancer specialist [of the possibility of approval for boys]: “Oh, dear. If we give it to boys, then all pretense of scientific worth and cost analysis goes out the window.”