by Josh Mazer
Eye on Annapolis

March 24, 2020


The Maryland Prevention and Health Promotion Agency (PHPA) has received millions — $123 million just between 2012–2017 — as part of an effort to require public schools to force children to get the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination. Those funds came in the form of grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC maintains a nonprofit foundation that gets enormous amounts of money from Big Pharma — including Merck, the company that produces Gardasil, the HPV vaccine. At the very least, Maryland’s acceptance of those funds has the appearance of impropriety.

During a PHPA-hosted “HPV symposium” attended by state pediatric practices and Maryland Department of Health staffers in March 2018 at Ten Oaks, Maryland, the featured speaker — Dr. Alix Casler — encouraged attendees to offer free dinners, bottles of wine, and “Quality Doctor Incentives $” sales bonuses to get Maryland physicians on board with the HPV vaccine-pushing program. Dr. Casler offered a $5,000 cash payment to pediatric practices that achieve targeted HPV vaccine sales goals.

Dr. Casler is a paid spokesperson for Merck — to the tune of more than $59,000 just between 2013 and 2016, according to data compiled by ProPublica.

In 2016, the Maryland Partnership for Prevention — which lists the Maryland Department of Health as its top member — accepted $70,000 from the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM). AIM’s top “Corporate Alliance Members” are Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi Pasteur and Seqirus. That same year, legislation was introduced in Maryland to mandate the shot.

In the U.S., only three jurisdictions have made HPV vaccination mandatory: Rhode Island, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Clearly, based on the money and other incentives being injected into our public-health policy system, Big Pharma would love to see Maryland become the fourth to do so.

At the Maryland conference, then Delegate Lam promised the industry insiders that he was working with the Department of Health to mandate HPV vaccination as a “back to school” shot in Maryland. When queried, he denied it. Why is Senator Lam working in secret to advance a pharma product- and what constituency is he representing when he does so?

Money should not trump science 1,2,3. We need to be able to trust our government. Maryland’s leaders should stop the Merck money train and focus on proven public-health strategies to help prevent HPV cancers, such as screening and avoiding risky behaviors. No amount of money should persuade our government to allow it to be pushed in our schools.

Maryland public health bureaucrats have no scientific rationale for this illogical, dangerous program. There are 250 cases of cervical cancer in our state per year, with about 60 deaths. Injecting 1.5 million young people between the ages of 9 and 29 with two doses of this shot will not change anything with regards to cervical cancer prevalence in Maryland. It will, however, provide a $750 million gravy train to Merck, the department of health, and pediatric practices in our state.

When your pediatrician earnestly pitches this shot for your healthy child, ask whether your kid is the one that tips the medical practice into the $5000 bonus pool. Ask what evidence there is that the shot prevents cancer, and why cervical cancers are surging in countries that aggressively pushed the shot. Ask why your healthy child should take the risk of becoming another Maryland HPV vaccine statistic, to be ignored, denied, and covered up. Just like the HPV vaccine caused death of Baltimore County resident Christina Tarsell.

To read the full research, a PDF is included by clicking here.

Read the full article at Eye on Annapolis.

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