Sunday, November 26, 2006

those sneaky bastards at merck

So for months now, we've been seeing commercials telling us that cervical cancer can be caused by a virus. Concerned women and their daughters look earnestly into the camera, giving heartfelt gasps as they learn this awful truth, trading loving hugs with each other as they tell us "I told someone", urging us to "talk to [our] doctor" about it. "Human papilloma virus...why hasn't anyone told us about this??" Thank the gods for this altruistic, purely informational public service message from the good folks at Merck. [that was sarcasm...keep reading and you'll see why]

Gosh, what a coincidence that we are now seeing commercials advertising Gardisil (r). Guess what it does? Hmmm...let me think...does it perhaps, possibly, just maybe potentially vaccinate against HPV?? Oh hurrah!! We've been so worried since being bombarded with those commercials that warned us about a virus that might cause cervical wonderful that there is now a vaccine available!! What's this? Why, the good people at Merck are the ones offering the vaccine! Is there nothing they wouldn't do for womankind? I'm sure profit has nothing to do with their selfless campaign. [cough. sarcasm again.]

It's flipping brilliant. Spend months simply informing people that a bad thing exists. After enough time passes, tell them that there is a vaccine available for this bad thing. It's money in the bank. Especially since few people will make the connection that the same company that raised the alert level to orange is the same one that is offering a vaccine.

Don't get me wrong...cervical cancer is a serious thing, and if anything can be done to help prevent it, that's wonderful. But I have a problem with the ethical side of all this. But then, ethics don't always go hand-in-hand with profits...or rather, it's a slightly different set of ethics. After all, women *will* benefit from this. Of course, so will Merck. It's a fine line.

It's the bottom line.

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