Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Another Community Column -- on HPV.
In my "inbox" this morning I found letters referring to a column I wrote months ago--so long ago, in fact, I thought the paper wasn't going to print it. But they did, and the link is above.
I found one email particularly interesting:
Dear Mrs. Hunt:
I appreciated your article regarding the Merck HPV immunizations. May I refer you to an article, Manufacturing Need, Manufacturing "Knowledge", by the National Women's Health Network Writing Group. 2002, Adrainne Fugh-Berman, MD, et al.
In it they speak of Merck's early campaign for its drug Fosamax, by giving a large grant to a leading consumer group for older women with the understanding it would be used first to "educate older women with the message they should worry about osteoporosis. They then purchased and marketed cheaper bone density testing equipment. They gave a grant to the National Osteoporosis Foundation to create a toll free number to access locations of the testing sites. Then through lobbying they enticed federal policy via Medicare to pay for bone density screening. The drug Fosamax was then introduced. (excerpt, The Truth about Hormone Replacement Therapy: How to Break Free from the Myths of Menopause, by National Women's Health Network, Prima Publishers, Rosedale, CA.) Given the current Merck/Moffitt deal, one must turn a critical eye to these types of endeavors. It may well work to the service of cancer patients, but I can assure you there will be many stockholders and medical establishment players who will profit as well.
As an employee of *** I must remain silent but very concerned, and alas anonymous for this comment. We depend in part on journalists and columnists for advocacy, so keep up the good work.
Angie here again: do you see the pattern? We suddenly begin to hear about the dangers of a condition, then we're given the "cure." And all of it is hype, manufactured for the purposes of lining wallets.
We have to be so careful in matters of health. Do your research and make your choices wisely.