This analysis is quite unbelievable but it's got legs, and it's not going to go away on it's own. I would not so gently suggest that much of this very adverse publicity is due in part to the very spotty efforts that Merck itself has made relative to education on how HPV is not just a "women's disease," but a disease that affects all of us.
Merck might have begun by educating people two years ago on its website(s) that HPV causes a whole range of cancers, that it's an equal opportunity employer that knows no gender distinctions. Last time I looked, that crucial information still wasn't there.
I am not blaming compassionate and caring thought-leaders like Drs. Rick Haupt or Elliot Barr. My take, however, is that Merck's lawyers should long ago have been frog marched to the company woodshed. They needed to know precisely what the consequences were for not being at the forefront of the educational effort.
One doesn't need to be lead counsel to Merck to know that the FDA's domain of concern relates to misleading or unproven statements, not education. If big pharmas got in trouble for mere EDUCATION or for supporting educational campaigns in a measured and judicious way, we'd all be in a lot of trouble.
Let's hope it's not too late, or the insurance companies may begin to deny reimbursement for Gardasil even for those of the female persuasion. . . .