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OPINION: Merck and HPV: We must hold our legislators accountable

| February 12, 2019, 10:41 AM

Rams Head

In a completely predictable turn of events, Merck has been formally accused of fraud and a host of other serious charges relating to the approval and marketing of the troubled, liability free Gardasil vaccine. This is the same vaccine our Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has accepted over $100 million since 2011 to stealth market and hard sell throughout Maryland, including targeting our 11 and 12 year olds sitting at their school desks.

The claims are being heard by Judge Maren Nelson in California Superior Court in the matter of Robi V Merck CA BC628589. A “Dream Team” of plaintiff pharma attorneys including such renowned names as:  Ajalat & Ajalat; Weitz & Luxenberg; Morgan & Morgan; and Baum Hedlund have teamed up to take on what they call “the most dangerous vaccine ever.” The list of formal claims against Merck include: 1) Fraud and Deceit; 2) Negligent Misrepresentation; 3) Defective Product- Inadequate Warnings and Information; and 4) Medical Malpractice and Medical Battery. On January 9, 2019 Judge Maren heard hours of testimony about the science of the case from both parties. She then denied Merck’s motion to dismiss and set discovery. The case will go on. The full case file is attached above.

In the meantime, Public Information Act Requests filed in Maryland have disclosed a more complete picture of how pharma essentially bought off our MD DOH. State provided slides and notes of the March 3, 2018 HPV vaccine conference held in Ten Oaks, Maryland reveal the extent to which Pharma money colored every decision and move made by our public health bureaucrats in aggressively pushing the shot into our kids. The conference was hosted by the Md DOH, and included speakers from the Md Chapter AAP, U Md, DOH, the State Legislature, and, of course, Merck.

One state legislator, according to notes provided by the state, promised the industry insiders in attendance legislation to regulate and/or mandate the HPV vaccine as a “back to school” for Maryland school children shot within the next one to two years. He said he is working with the state D.O.H. and other parties, and may be reaching out to various attendees to help push this pork barrel gift to Merck right down our throats.

If that was not the low point of the conference- that would be Merck’s physician/vaccine huckster/presenter telling the entranced audience how to achieve their HPV vaccine sales goals by offering doctors and medical staffs incentives, quality bonus plans, bottles of wine, and restaurant dinners.

The HPV vaccine conference held in Maryland March 2018 was a nauseating throwback to the bad old days of Vioxx, Avandia, and other major medical marketing scams in which Merck itself was found to be criminally guilty of marketing fraud. It is medicine by sales contest, with safety and effectiveness secondary to the discussion of how this product is going to make everyone who touches it rich. Rather than providing oversight, and reigning this money grab in, the Md state bureaucrats instead became willing participants. To the tune of $100,000,000 and counting.

The people who are suffering the negative effects of this irresponsible public health policy are our children. The Maryland Department of Health ignored the death of 22 year old Christina Tarsell, of Baltimore County. The judicial decision that her death was caused by the HPV shot was announced in Sept, 2017, a year in which the Md DOH took over $15 million in HPV vaccine kickbacks from pharma funded front groups. There have been over 567 Vaccine Adverse Event Reports related to Gardasil in Maryland since 2006, 70 of them classified as “serious”– and our state bureaucrats not only took no action to protect us, they actively covered up the problems.

The Maryland DOH was alerted, as was Governor Hogan’s office, that this vaccine could cause problems. The allegations in Robi v Merck, discussed above, include the following specific medical issues that happened in the clinical trials, but were suppressed by Merck: 2.3% experienced serious autoimmune disease within seven months; death rates 2x times greater than background rates; birth defects among pregnant trial participants, 5 times greater; and reproductive issues 10 times greater. Perhaps most troubling of all, the evidence heard by Judge Maren in California Superior Court January, 2019 included allegations that certain clinical trial groups receiving Gardasil were up to 45% more likely to develop precancerous cervical lesions or cancer than unvaccinated girls. Merck knew all this, and deliberately covered it up, just as Merck years before had covered up knowledge that its Vioxx product was causing vascular events such as strokes and heart attacks, and wound up killing an estimated 90,000 people.

We in the State of Maryland wrongly presumed that our public health bureaucrats had their eyes on our safety, and the safety of kids. In fact, they were playing a high stakes game of vaccine money ball.  Our kids were sold out to pharma by the very people we most entrusted to keep them safe.

Flint Michigan comes to Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Take Action! E-mail Governor Hogan with this link and tell him: Stop all state, federal, and non-profit funding for Merck’s liability free Gardasil shot in Maryland.

We must hold our elected representatives responsible for this $100 million public health fiasco!

More Information:

–Josh Mazer

NOTE:  Mazer was a guest on The Maryland Crabs Podcast last fall.

Rams Head

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