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It’s not about the Gardasil

It’s not about the Gardasil

See dissent is patriotic.

I disagree with Matt Knee’s post earlier quoting Megan McArdle and Bryon Preston on the Rick Perry Gardasil issue.

It’s not a huge issue for me, but it’s also not a health care issue since it’s a question of the mandatory nature.

The question is does it reflect a selective big government attitude, a lack of consistency. This is a concern I have had about Perry as expressed by me earlier with regard to tort reform. Perry seems to be in favor of national tort reform because he likes the results of that federal government intrusion, instead of leaving it to the states where torts traditionally have been handled.

It’s not a deal breaker for me as to Perry, but it’s also not going to be resolved just because Gardasil is good/bad/effective/not effective.

It’s not about the Gardasil.


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Thanks, I needed that, I’m battered, bruised & depressed.

In my previous comment, I pointed out that with the exposure that Perry received about why he was so passionate about Gardisil, he came out looking like a good, decent person. However, the mandate tactic I think is still a bad one. Instead, I could imagine the governor of a state using the bully pulpit of his/her office to push its benefits and perhaps to help keep the costs down. I hope that Perry just had a moment of weakness and it is not in his nature to have the gov’t force these types of actions onto people. But we shall see soon enough the full scope of his values and actions.

    ElvenPhoenix in reply to mbabbitt. | September 17, 2011 at 8:55 am

    What many people are missing in this whole kerfluffle is that the Gardisil vaccine runs well over $300 and was not covered by insurance. By mandating it Perry ensured that insurance companies would cover the cost of the vaccine. There was an opt out (which we took, as I felt like the vaccine was too new on the market to use on my 12 y/o at the time).

    I’m against government mandates – but this was not a true “mandate”, as there was the opt out provision. And the only reason it was “mandated” was so that insurance companies would cover the cost. Perry has not been explaining that aspect of the controversy very well.

    I had been a Kay Baily fan and had planned on voting for her in the Republican primary – but ended up voting for Perry after she went all squishy up in Washington DC. I’m very much a Palin fan – but will vote for Perry over Romney in a heartbeat if Palin chooses not to get into the race.

    Perry has something most politicians don’t – the ability to admit a mistake. He truly pays attention to the views of the electorate.

      I’m against government mandates – but this was not a true “mandate”, as there was the opt out provision.

      Wrong, both by dictionary definition and by precedent– all the mandated vaccines in Texas have the same opt-out.

      Is this the new meme, since the “only medically ignorant religious nuts could possibly object” one is dying?

It isn’t about Gardasil however the sharked jumped when the argument in support of the mandated vaccine focused on heart-tugging ‘why do you want women to die of cancer’ crap.

I don’t want women OR MEN to die of cancer however I do not have to accept every mandated vaccine government forcibly injects in my body! Particularily in non-contagious situations.

I agree. Whether it is the Chicken Pox vaccine, which was optional, now required in CA, or Gardasil, or flu shots in the middle of a panic, it’s government mandating that is the issue.

It’s troubling – not just there are questions about whether or not the vaccines have been properly tested, it goes to the heart of whether or not we can trust scientists anymore, after what we have seen with ‘Global Warming’ and the super hype of the day (Swine Flu, etc.).

I chose to get the Chicken Pox vaccine for my younger kids after a bad Chicken Pox case in my older kids – but I do not like seeing it mandated simply because schools don’t like losing the ADA.

As for Gardasil, I have serious concerns, not the least of which is pushing it on girls who haven’t even started thinking about sexual activity.

They have all their other vaccines – I’m not anti-vax, but I am increasingly anti-govt posturing. I don’t trust them to make the call. At all.

That said, Perry’s taking a lot of heat and the Dems seem to want to pounce on it – but they don’t have much ground to stand on as they are the ones pushing it (Gardasil) in CA (and probably elsewhere)

    JayDick in reply to Rose. | September 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Didn’t Perry’s mandate have an opt-out provision?

      So do all the other mandatory vaccines.

      Most vaccines do have an opt out, as far as I know – even the standard kid’s vaccines. There are parents here who opt out for various reasons – a kid who had an unusual reaction to the first set, or just personal convictions of the parents. It was a combination of those that resulted in three kids in my daughter’s class coming down with whooping cough. All of the parents (save one) were responsible, caring, intelligent people, and/or but, the result was bad for their kids – one of my daughter’s friends, after many days of the coughing, said to her Mom, in exhaustion, “Would you just breathe for me, Mom.” The rest of the kids in the class were put on (voluntary) precautionary antibiotics.

      It’s a tough question. Mandating something NEW and insufficiently tested is where I have a problem.

      That won’t prevent me from supporting Perry, I like him, he’s doing well, I like what he says, if he ends up the nominee, I’ll be 100% supportive. For now I am still a Sarah fan, however. 🙂

      Republicans have to AVOID beating up on each other. The pinata thing, coupled with the media bias, is just not healthy for Republican candidates.

This has revealed a depper problem here: the fundamental misunderstanding of how medicine works by both the populace and Politicians.
Why do we mandate vaccines in the first place? Several answers will jump to most people’s minds (“To protect the stupid” “Because the parents can’t do it themselves” etc.) But it really boils down to Herd Immunity, in a simple sense that’s the only idea that allows a conservative take on mandatory vaccinations to make sense. In a herd immunity case, by choosing not to get vaccinated, you actually decrease the effect of my vaccination. (For those of you not familar with this concept, basically in any system there will be a number of people who are either unvaccinated, or for who the vaccine has no effect. However, if Vaccination reaches a critical mass, usually around 85%, then outbreaks effectively reach 0 as there aren’t enough people capable of being infected to pass along the disease. This is how the small pox vaccine effectively elimiated smallpox.)
Now looking at Gardasil, we see something interesting, Males and females can both contract HPV, but the vaccine wasn’t approved or marketed that way (insert your various reasons here, perhaps they didn’t want the vaccine associated with STDs, cost whatever). As such, the vaccine will never reach herd immnunity leves (since at most 50% of the population can be vaccinated.) Even if you approved it for males you still may not achieve herd immunity levels depending on the effectiveness of the vaccine (the flu vaccine, for example is theorized to not be able to achieve herd immunity because it’s not effective enough for various reasons, hence it’s not mandated). Actual effectivnes rates for Gardisil are hard to come by, but even best case scenerio now (with 100% of women being vaccinated and long term protection we see this from the NCI:
“Widespread vaccination has the potential to reduce cervical cancer deaths around the world by as much as two-thirds, if all women were to get the vaccine and if protection turns out to be long-term.”

(From: So the outlook isn’t all that great.

Now this isn’t to say anything about an indivdual’s choice (or a parent’s choice for their child) to get the vaccine, the risks seem fairly low. (The bullshit about increasing sexual activity makes absolutely no sense). I still get my Flu shot many years, because the risk/benefit ratio makes sense to me. But nevertheless, since the societal benefit is almost 0, there’s no possible argument for mandating it. Trying to scare people with cancer (so it’s being pushed to 26 year old married women) is just even more of a joke.

    Finally, someone else types up the whole explanation of herd immunity so I don’t have to….

    Only thing I’d add is that mandated vaccinations are a balancing act between individual rights and the public good– there is FAR more fodder for mandating, say, flu vaccine than for mandating HPV, even if you compare only flu’s deaths to the total number of cervical cancers. I wouldn’t support mandatory flu vaccinations, though.

    Oh! Another thing that’s freaking annoying– how many people have no blessed clue that vaccination does have risks associated with it. Anyone who’s ever even looked at the huge piles of paper you’re handed (and sign for) before your child can be vaccinated should know that. It’s as bad as the “it’s natural, so it can’t be dangerous” herbal medication head-bangers…..

    Scaring with cancer is one thing – and then there’s the memory of Thalidomide. In both cases, maybe, it is fear of the unknown.

workingclass artist | September 16, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I don’t think Perry would push tort reform nationally through executive fiat as this kinda goes against both his grain and Texas recent experience with the Obama administration.

For years liberals have been trying to turn Texas into California. This has become a big problem with both agriculture and energy industries in Texas. Up until a few days ago the EPA was trying to shut down the Texas Grid. Obama has used the programs of the executive to bully states economically and politically…From the DOJ to the EPA.

Look at a map of the target states and it’s easy to get a little paranoid as most have strong GOP ties and are right to work states.

I’m a native Texan and have followed Perry’s political career for a log time back to the days when he was bluedog Pitbull in the legislature. The main reason Perry is running is federal over reach interfering with states. If Perry encouraged tort reform in other states he’s already done that as an influential governor in the RGA just like he has competition. I doubt he’d go back on that as POTUS and He has to get governors to work with him on the border which will be his big thing.

Rolling back regulations that hurt the economy and securing the border.

David R. Graham | September 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Strong concur. Considered abstractly, mandatory vaccination against lethal contagious diseases (polio, smallpox, etc.) can be justified on a “greater good for all” basis. In the case where government, especially federal government, has so defiled its credibility and defaced its purpose, such as today, that trust in its decisions on a personal matter such as immunization cannot be widely achieved, mandatory vaccination is presumed, rightly, to be a species of violence. IMO, who survived polio at age six, before Salk’s vaccine, mandatory anything, including military draft, is a state-level decision primarily, at all times, and a federal-level decision only for threats to national security and then only after federal government foregoes french fries and submits to sudden and relentless obesity reform.

If it came down to Perry, I would vote for him but I feel that he’s just another RINO. In recent years,there have been several major pills that have been taken off the market for different reasons. The government approved them and then eventually took them off the market. Many people were taking those pills for ten or more years. I believe that, in general, the doctors are pushing too many pills without giving the lowdown on the side effects and pharmaceutical companies want to be compensated, and compensated very well, for all their research. I hate to be cynical, but I believe a lot of this is about money. So now Gardisil is safe, ten years down the road it could be taken off the market or prove to be worthless.

    JayDick in reply to Rosalie. | September 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I wouldn’t call Perry a RINO, but almost all of the candidates are statists, except maybe Ron Paul. That’s the nature of politicians these days, I’m afraid. They can’t publicly admit that some problems have no solutions, especially not solutions provided by the government. Doing so would be electoral suicide. Government solutions mostly don’t solve the problems they try to address and almost always create other problems that are as bad or worse.

David R. Graham | September 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Also, this immunization business confirms what was already for me the “deal breaker” re Governor Perry: that he attends a “mega-church.” There are churches and there are churches. But these “mega-churches” are dens of iniquity built on fraud. Whomever is attracted to them loses my confidence. If Governor Perry is the party’s nominee, I will vote for him. I will not vote for him in the primary.

    Cowboy Curtis in reply to David R. Graham. | September 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Is there something particularly objectionable about the specific church he attends, or are all large churches bad? If a preacher proves exceptionally gifted and charismatic, at what point should he stop welcoming (and making room for) new attendees to his ministry?

    I’ve never heard that about mega churches before. Maybe you can look at it this way, at least Perry’s not listening to a preacher damning this country.

The problem as I see it is that more and more new vaccines are coming out with less and less trustworthy oversight before they are heavily marketed and lobbied. Case in point the swine flu vaccine and the various scandalous cases of mass tort litigation over various new drugs.

Gardasil hasn’t been around long enough to establish that it is in fact safe over the long term, or that it indeed is effective over the long term. Given that HPV has been epidemic for some time, but cervical cancer has not been and is not now, then it’s simply inappropriate for the government to mandate the vaccine.

A lot of people get HPV of different kinds. Relatively very few of them get cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is not only correlated with certain strains of HPV but also other factors, such as smoking and birth control pills. So we can’t really say that HPV “causes” cervical cancer because it doesn’t in the overwhelming majority of infected people. We can only say that it is believed to be a factor. Anything else is a logic error. There apparently are other necessary factors, and the disease may require a confluence of them.

When my kids were little, I recall the pediatrician “strongly recommending” the chicken pox vaccine, but being unable to guarantee that the vaccine would not wear off. That for me made the vaccine an absolute no for a disease that is worse if contracted in adulthood and potentially devastating if contracted by a pregnant woman. Instead, I deliberately exposed my kids to playmates when they had the disease to make sure they got their adult immunity the old fashioned way.

There will be more and more highly profitable vaccines for all kinds of things in years to come. A lot of them will be discovered long afterward to have been inefficacious or to have iatrogenic effects. We would be better off with a government agency prohibited from having any ties to profit-making enterprises, and which honestly reported what we do and do not know about various drugs (maybe we could actually clean up the FDA and reform its agenda and purpose), than with legislation mandating anything pushed by pharmaceutical lobbyists.

I’m curious if anyone is arguing that the state lacks the power to mandate such public health matters under its reserved police powers?

Is anyone arguing that it was legally improper for Perry to have issued such a mandate, or is this all about policy preference?

Personally, I don’t see a contradiction between a governor exercising the maximum of his power within a state with a strong adherence to the 10th Amendment and federalism. The whole point of that amendment and theory of governance is the maximization of state power and restraint upon the federal government. If the state, in this instance Texas, sees fit to bestow such powers upon its governor, then that’s Texas’ decision to make. It doesn’t translate that being an active executive in a state, where federalism and the 10th Amendment see as the proper repository of such powers, means the same executive would be equally active or expansive with his powers as president.

    Is anyone arguing that it was legally improper for Perry to have issued such a mandate, or is this all about policy preference?

    Do you mean “illegal” or “questionable”? ‘Improper’ goes both ways, since it applies to both hard rules and simple standards of conduct.

    No doubt, the EO itself was questionable– with the whole 10ther thing, it points to a tendency to want to limit power that isn’t his own. (Sort of like Mitt and Obamacare.)

    No doubt, using the framework (and rhetoric) of a gov’t power that’s supposed to be for really huge things for something entirely different is questionable. (Similar to the difference between a draft for WWII and a draft to clean up after Katrina.)
    Again, this points to a tendency to want threats to his own power limited.

    The order itself was not firmly illegal to my knowledge, but it wasn’t normal, and I recall that folks who actually study this stuff were arguing about how rickety the justifications were. (I focus more on the medical aspects, since that’s less squishy than levels of law, and I’m much more interested in medical angles.) Either way, it was simpler and faster for the legislature to just overthrow it than any other route.

    workingclass artist in reply to Cowboy Curtis. | September 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    mentioned that very thing on another thread this morning related to the Gardisil issue.

It’s amazing how you can have a post, and 15 comments, without a single person going to the heart of your issue:

“Mandatory vaccines” have to be paid for by the insurance companies. Optional ones do not. At $360 for the vaccine, a hell of a lot more people would get it if it was “mandatory” (with an opt out) and therefore “free”, than would get it if it was optional.

He wasn’t trying to screw over parents, he wasn’t trying to take away parental rights, he was simply trying to stick it to the insurance companies.

You don’t have to like it. But please at least address what he actually did.

    He wasn’t trying to screw over parents, he wasn’t trying to take away parental rights, he was simply trying to stick it to the insurance companies.

    That was already touched on at the other post, as a “defense” of his actions. The point that it would funnel a crud ton of money to the vaccine’s maker is also a common point.

    He was trying to take away parental rights, it just wasn’t the ultimate goal– that was just a tool on the way to either force private businesses to pay for something or to reward a company that gave him money really doesn’t make the situation any better when you’re trying to figure if he’s a good choice for a conservative politician. About the best light one can put on this is that he was stupid or ignorant enough to believe that it really was on the level of polio vaccinations, and that he’s learned to do some freaking research since then. (I still want to see where he actually said that the whole thing was a mistake and he would never do something like that again.)

    Cowboy Curtis in reply to GregQ. | September 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I mentioned it in a couple of previous threads (including one today), just not this one. It is an important point, and I’m left wondering if Perry just dropped the ball in not explaining it, or if the idea was to save it for use at some later point. I hope for the latter, but fear it was the former.

    jeannebodine in reply to GregQ. | September 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Only if your definition of “free” is if the insurance company pays for it. I worked for insurance companies for 15 years and believe me, it only looks “free”. Saying Perry’s goal was to “stick it to the insurance companies” hardly makes him seem shrewd.

      Cowboy Curtis in reply to jeannebodine. | September 16, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      I don’t think the point ever was to stick it to the insurance corporations, because such a thing in this sense can’t really be done. Costs are passed on to consumers, which I think is part of your point. But it does spread the cost out across insurance consumers, be it by a nominally higher rate on all, or a more focused hike on those with kids (depending what company policy, rate plans, and regulations demand). I don’t think anyone has proposed that this was done as punishment for insurance companies, but rather as a means of making it more affordable, and one assumes, palatable, to parents. If the object is to have kids immunized, then it only makes sense to do it in a manner that maximizes its appeal.
      Now whether or not the government should be in the business of cost spreading is a different issue, but I’d suggest that government regulations in the area of insurance do just that quite a bit.

        This is the same problem with “free” birth control for all. Don’t people understand nothing is ever free. My family understands it quite clearly since we are self employed and pay 100% of our health care costs. We are very aware of how much our premiums have gone up over the past couple years and are expected to increase greatly again this year. Perhaps we are funding affordable health care for Mr. Hippy Hepatitis, I spent the last 30 years partying it up, having fun and didn’t give my money to the man (insurance companies), now my liver is rotting and I need health insurance, why should I have to pay anymore for my insurance than a family that has been paying for years? Yup, I think there is some cost spreading going on.

On the mandatory issue, didn’t it have to be mandatory in order for insurance companies and Medicaid to pay for it?

Read the comments at Jonah Goldberg’s post at The Corner for a comprehensive take on this issue.

As Old Eagle’s comment at the link sums it up best.
Q. What about Governor Perry?
A. I think he was right on the substance and wrong on the politics.

The series of three vaccines costs $360 – thus the mandate, with an opt out, to require the costs to be borne by third parties. Opt-in vaccines are paid for out of pocket. The vaccine targets HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18, which cause 70% of the cervical cancer cases.

Per Wikipedia, the clinical trial was terminated early on ethical grounds, so the placebo group of girls could receive the vaccine. A study is underway on vaccination of boys.

Just as childhood vaccines (measles, etc.), vaccines must be administered prior to exposure to the virus – Gardasil must be administered prio to sexual activity, thus the ages of 12-14 in girls.

“On February 27, 2006, the independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board recommended the clinical trials be terminated on ethical grounds, so that young women on placebo could receive Gardasil.”

“Use in males. Gardasil is also effective in males, providing protection against genital warts, anal cancer, and some potentially precancerous lesions caused by some HPV types.[5][22][23][18] An ongoing study of 4,065 males demonstrated the efficacy of Gardasil in males who did not have HPV infection prior to vaccination.[8] The vaccination is expected to protect against penile cancer and anal cancer caused by included HPV types, and research in this area is still[when?] underway.[8]

HPV infections, especially HPV 16, contribute to some head and neck cancer (HPV is found in an estimated 26-35% of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma).[19] In principle, HPV vaccines may help reduce incidence of such cancers caused by HPV, but this has not been demonstrated.[20]

Perry was attempting to piggy back on an existing and established vaccination requirement. It may not be a purely conservative policy, but required vaccinations are a fact of life in all 50 states. I figure his heart was in the right place, but it was rejected by the Texas legislature and Perry abided by that – unlike Obama ignoring the court order which overruled his ban on deep sea drilling in the Gulf.

Thanks trlblke for the herd immunity explanation.

    mdw9661 in reply to boudicca. | September 16, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    With all due respect, I don’t consider Jonah well versed on the the drug in question. To me the vaccine worthiness is a side show.

    In practical terms, only one state today makes Gardaskil mandatory, Virginia, and they do not enforce the mandate. Gov. Perry may regret his “mistake” but absent the Texas Legislature’s actions, the law would be in effect today.

    Moreover, the alleged $5,000 Gov. Perry suggested he was not for sale for was actually $30,000 in direct funds and $350,000 funneled through the Republican Governors Association.

    Sure smells like a quid pro quo to me.

    Finally, the heart-breaking video shown yesterday by Megan Kelly at Fox News was truly sad. Unfortunately the cynic in me questions the timing of the release and the fact that the story does nothing to alleviate the concerns presented over the Gardasil matter.

      Jonah didn’t say the quote offered, it’s some guy in the comments.

      boudicca in reply to mdw9661. | September 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm

      With equal respect, had you clicked on Jonah’s link, you would have read his first sentence: “I can’t make up my mind over this whole controversy…”. As I stated, the comments at the link provide a wealth of information on the subject.

    Old Eagle’s Q&A is, at best, cruddy. There’s flatly false information– the group of HPV strains being discussed does not persist indefinitely, it doesn’t “cause” an STD because it is one, I’d really like to see support for the claim that “most” of the women who die of cervical cancer are “relatively young” (since the gov’t statistics I’ve seen are all sorted by race, not age)….
    Based on these mistakes, I’m a bit suspicious about his claim to have treated “many” women who got STDs from their husbands.

    He’s an idiot if he can’t figure out that people most assuredly would pay for a vaccine to prevent “warts.”(Quote marks because it doesn’t prevent “warts,” it prevents two strains of genital warts. Same way it doesn’t prevent HPV, it prevents a couple of strains of the very diverse disease.)

    You really shouldn’t use wiki as a source. It’s handy if you can find an article that gives you sources to check, but just pointing at the wiki article for something is not very good evidence– too easy to edit.

Exactly. Few if any of us are capable nor should we evaluate the immunization’s merits. The real substance has to do with (1) the mandatory executive order, and (2) the Merck donations, which instead of the $5,000 Gov. Perry mentioned was $30,000 in direct contribution. And, the $350,000 indirect donations channeled to Gov. Perry from The Republican Governors Association, itself the receipent of $4M in donations from Merck beginning around the time Gov. Perry became the RGA head.

    Cowboy Curtis in reply to mdw9661. | September 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    If you are a company doing business in Texas in a highly regulated field which is greatly impacted by public policy, why wouldn’t you donate money to the long-sitting governor of that state? And if you are a pharmaceutical company, having been used as a public whipping boy by democrats for most of the last decade and a half, why on earth wouldn’t you donate a lot of money to republicans, and in particular the governor’s association, which is of course the traditional home of future presidential (and senate) nominees?

    Sometimes you don’t give a candidate a lot of money because you expect favors. Sometimes you just really want him to win because the other team is trying to strangle your business. Or because candidate/party X actually supports positions that will benefit your company. And sometimes it isn’t about buying a vote, its about (hopefully) getting enough access to at least make your case.

    Lobbying and donations do not equal corruption. Corporations and businesses have just as much right to petition elected officials as individual citizens do. And big companies have just as much right to do so as small ones. For all the innuendo and claims of corruption here, no one is showing me a reasonable quid pro quo here. While to you and I, $5k, or $150k, looks like a ton of money, it isn’t in the scope of campaigns involving tens of millions of dollars. And lets not kid ourselves, what is being alleged is a crime, and I’m being told he committed it for what in these circumstances is a piss-ant amount.

mdw9661: got any links to substantiate a $4 million donation by Merck to the Republican Governnors Association?

      boudicca in reply to mdw9661. | September 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm


      Here’s the money quote from your link:

      “Perry served as chairman of the RGA in 2008 and again this year, until he decided to run for president. The group ranks among the governor’s biggest donors, giving his campaign at least $4 million over the past five years, according to Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog group”

      Are you suggesting that Merck fully funded the RGA’s five year total of $4 million?

        mdw9661 in reply to boudicca. | September 16, 2011 at 6:07 pm


        Am I suggesting that Merck fully funded the RGA’s five year total of $4 million? Not necessarily. But have far exceeded the $5,000 that Gov. Perry couldn’t be bought for, right?

        It’s clear that Gov. Perry was not forthcoming with the entire extend of his relationship with Merck with respect to the charges. The evidence indicates at minimum further probing of a quid pro quo is warranted.

        It’s ironic that the Obama administration is currently fire fighting Solyndra charges.

          boudicca in reply to mdw9661. | September 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm

          Are you seriously comparing $30,000 of direct and indirect campaign contributions by Merck to Rick Perry over a period of years with the Solyndra deal, whereby the Solyndra executives visited the White House 21 times before a $550,000,000 loan was guaranteed by the Federal Government despite advice from others in the administration that Solyndra was a losing proposition, and those same executives have first priority to salvage monies from the bankruptcy ahead of the federal Government? You must be joking. The FBI has raided both the offices of Solyndra and the homes of the executives for data to determine if the law was broken.

          Let me guess: you are an Obama Democrat.

          mdw9661 in reply to mdw9661. | September 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm

          boudicca | September 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm

          Are you seriously comparing $30,000 of direct and indirect campaign contributions by Merck to Rick Perry over a period of years with the Solyndra deal?

          – Let’s be clear, $30,000 in direct Merck funds and Merck pooled money channeled through RGA. Conceviably up to $350,000 more.

          – I stated that it is ironic that the Obama administration is currently battling over the Solyndra deal and I meant it. The fact is that the Merck drug arrangement is troublesome. Should Gov. Perry be the nominee, it and the Perry venture capital deals essentially neutralize the malpractices by Obama. It represents a powerful rebuttal by Obama in the same fashion that RomneyCare does with Romney

          Whereby the Solyndra executives visited the White House 21 times before a $550,000,000 loan was guaranteed by the Federal Government despite advice from others in the administration that Solyndra was a losing proposition?

          – I am aware of commingling of Merck and Perry (former and current) personnel. What else is there, we may yet find out through proper vetting.

          Again, I never said that the Solyndra and Merck arrangements were identical. I did say it was ironic that Perry is being vetted on Merck while the Obama administration is concurrently being investigated on Solyndra.

          Rest assured that should Perry become the GOP nominee, this Merck situation will get a colon exam, and Obama will use it to neutralize his own malfeasance.

          Let me guess: you are an Obama Democrat.

          – LOL Well, that’s the first time I’ve been accused of that.

        mdw9661 in reply to boudicca. | September 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm

        More “money quote:”

        His gubernatorial campaigns, for example, have received nearly $30,000 from the drugmaker since 2000, most of that before he issued his vaccine mandate, which was overturned by the Texas legislature.

        So, $30,000 in direct Merck contributions vis-a-vis $5,000, plus the funds channeled through RGA.

      boudicca in reply to mdw9661. | September 16, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      Here’s another direct quote from the WaPo link.

      “Merck and its subsidiaries have also given more than $380,000 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) since 2006,…”

      hmmm, it doesn’t quite total $4,000,000.

      Merck is reported to have donated $400,000+/- to the RGA since 2006.

      The RGA is reported to have donated $4 million to Perry over the last five years.

“The drug-maker also has donated about $500,000 to the Republican Governors Association, a group which Perry chaired twice and has been among his most generous campaign donors.”

“And since January 2006, Merck has given an additional $377,500 to the Republican Governors Association,…”

Who ya gonna believe: Bloomberg at $500,000 Merck contribution to the Republican Governors Association or CNN reporting $377,000 contribution.

It doesn’t matter. It’s not $4 million, now, is it?

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the only campaign this issue has destroyed is Michelle Bachmann’s?

    Mr. Cowboy Curtis:

    Michelle Bachmann’s campaign was on life support before the debate. She won the exchange on the Gardasil matter only to lose it when she intimated that the vaccine was linked to mental retardation.

    As for Gov. Perry, very few of the populace outside Texas know much about him. The vetting process has only now begun with this matter coming to the fore first.

      Cowboy Curtis in reply to mdw9661. | September 16, 2011 at 6:54 pm

      No need to call me Mister, Mister, the whole world calls me Han…I mean, Cowboy.

      I’d dispute that she won the point. Romney did, as he’s the only beneficiary. Bachmann came off looking shrill, desperate, and maybe a little crazed, what with all the ‘little girls jabbed with government needles’ crap. She sounded like one of these anti-vaccine loons. She only worsened it with her retardation story afterwords, and then managed to make it worse by standing by it in following days.

      I’m also pretty skeptical of the notion that a three term governor of the second largest state, one where politics is a veritable bloodsport, has a world of skeletons yet to be un-closeted. The democrats didn’t just roll over for this guy, if they knew of a silver bullet, they’d of used it. That goes triply for Hutchison, who, with her Rove and Bush ties throughout the state party, would have had a helluva lot more material to dig through looking for it. She wanted to win, and if Karl Rove couldn’t find it for her, I’m doubtful it exists to be found.

      I’m going to goo out on a limb and guess you’re a Palin guy. She started swinging the Perry/Corruption hammer right after the debate. Anyone upset over the HPV vaccine ain’t jumping onto The Good Ship Romneycare. No one gets hurt by any discussion of this than Bachmann. Cain, Newt, Santorum, they aren’t going anywhere. Huntsman can’t get above one percent, and Paul remains, as he always will, a joke.

      I’ve said which dog in the fight is mine, which is yours?

        Cowboy Carl:

        You are welcome to your view as to who one what and how candidates acted.

        As for Gov. Perry, it is amazing how much of an advantage an incumbent governor has for reelection. The national stage is a different matter altogether. The Gardarsil matter is far from over, and there is the venture capital topic of which the governor doled out funds to his perceived winners (versus losers), immigration, in-state tuition, much yet to cover.

        Unlike the democrats, I hope the GOP vets all candidates as much as possible. The race is far too early for handicapping, at this time in 2007 Thompson had approx 34%, Rudy 27%, McCain 14%, and 12%.

        As for my preferred candidate, I’ll wait on the sidelines until the vetting is yields the best option.

          Cowboy Curtis in reply to mdw9661. | September 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm

          By which you mean Palin.

          Amazing how those who can’t argue the actual points keep trying to change the subject, isn’t it?

          mdw9661 in reply to mdw9661. | September 16, 2011 at 7:57 pm

          Cowboy Carl:

          I want to defeat President Obama first and foremost. Should Sarah Palin jump into the pool, she should be vetted as much as anyone else. For one thing, she will need to make a convincing, coherent statement regarding her resignation as governor.

          Who is my “dog?’ My dog is the candidate who, after thorough vetting, stands the best chance of defeating President Obama.

          I just wish that Obama had received one iota of this kind of scrutiny, Maybe it is not too late. He had a record of sorts – his time with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge showed how he spends other people’s money – to encourage celebration of “Juneteenth” for example rather than bolstering algebra scores… Stanley Kurtz dug it up against great resistance by the machine… his handing out cushy contracts to campaign donors is another thing, and there were reports of it in the Chicago papers. (contractors, construction, what got built… Solyndra is not an anomaly with this guy is it?)

          If you can dig out all that info – above – you sure ought to be able to dig up Obama’s quid pro quo (yeah, I know @attackwaaaatch). C’mon reporters. You’ve dug through Sarah’s garbage cans. Now Perry’s books. Michelle’s husband’s business – let’s FINALLY see OBAMA vetted.

Gee, according to Open Secrets the National Education Association is the #1 Top National Donor in the year 2008 with a grand total (State and Federal) of $56,228,408 in donations.

Coming in at #200, Merck & Co. is a piker at only $2,28,020 grand total state and Federal donations in 2008.

The SEIU ranks #6 on Open Secrets Top Donors in 2008 with $30.4 million in donations. At #14 is the American Federal of State/County Municipal Workers at $15.5 donations in 2008.

As influence peddlars, Merck barely registers and could learn a lot from the unions.

Merck’s 2008 contributions by Republican and Democrat parties and candidates pretty much broke even: $1,020,000 to the Dems and $997,00 to the Republicans.

    mdw9661 in reply to boudicca. | September 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm


    It appears you are in full defense mode for the governor. No problem here, but, you should respond to my response to you at 6:07 pm.

    As for Merck being a “piker,” it seems to only enlarge the allegations regarding the governor, not minimize them.

    Gee, according to Open Secrets the National Education Association is the #1 Top National Donor in the year 2008 with a grand total (State and Federal) of $56,228,408 in donations.

    And that has…what, exactly, to do with the topic on hand?

    “Hey! Don’t mind that this guy is a petty thief, there are bank robbers over here!”

      boudicca in reply to Foxfier. | September 16, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      “Hey! Don’t mind that this guy is a petty thief, there are bank robbers over here!”

      Who is a pretty thief? Perry?

      Has he been arrested?

I have four kids 2 sons and 2 daughters. I certainly want them to be safe but this really isn’t about the safety of this vaccine or for that matter any vaccine. It’s about forcing people to take a vaccine for a disease that is not communicable via mild contact. You actually have to have sexual intercourse to get it. It’s not like you’re going to catch it in gym class.

I can protect my kids on my own. I certainly don’t need Daddy government to help me.

    mdw9661 in reply to Roux. | September 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm


    I believe you are in the majority with your views. Imposing a mandatory requirement as opposed to public education is a slippery slope. Even the governor admits it was a mistake and he should have had a “opt-in” as opposed to his “opt-out.”

    Yet even that explanation doesn’t rid the facts that transpired. The Texas Legislature had to intervene, against the governor’s wishes at the time, to terminate his executive order.

      boudicca in reply to mdw9661. | September 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm

      Perry was attempting to piggy back on an existing and established vaccination requirement. It may not be a purely conservative policy, but required vaccinations are a fact of life in all 50 states. I figure his heart was in the right place.

      The point is: after it was rejected by the Texas legislature and Perry abided by that – unlike Obama ignoring the court order which overruled his ban on deep sea drilling in the Gulf.

        mdw9661 in reply to boudicca. | September 16, 2011 at 9:28 pm

        boudicca | September 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm

        Perry was attempting to piggy back on an existing and established vaccination requirement. It may not be a purely conservative policy, but required vaccinations are a fact of life in all 50 states. I figure his heart was in the right place.

        The point is: after it was rejected by the Texas legislature and Perry abided by that – unlike Obama ignoring the court order which overruled his ban on deep sea drilling in the Gulf.

        There is presently one state, Virgina, which makes the vaccine mandatory. Virgina doesn’t enforce it.

        The point is that Perry was perfectly willing to continue with his executive order mandate until the Texas Legislature stepped in to stop him, over his protestations.

        Today he conveniently says it was a mistake and he should have had an “opt-in” not an “opt-out.” Running for president chances one’s thinking quite a bit.

        Moreover, Perry promised not to run for president when he ran for reelection. Seems to be a pattern.

Why should insurance companies be forced by the government to pay for this overpriced drug? Why should the federal government pay these prices under its uninsured vaccination program for children without insurance?

The price of this drug is not based on manufacturing costs, or even the need to recoup research costs. Merck set the price (and the CDC approved the price) where it would maximize profits for Merck yet Merck still could argue that in 30-40 years it would result in a net savings of cost over the entire health care system.

    mdw9661 in reply to janitor. | September 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm


    I’ve hestiated to chase the “who pays” argument down the rabbit hole, but one comment I found compelling what that enviably we all pay.

    Using the “forgotten man” analogy, if the insurance company is told to pay for the vaccine for my daughter, you will end up paying for it in part through higher insurance premiums.

    There is no free lunch in business nor government.

      janitor in reply to mdw9661. | September 16, 2011 at 7:24 pm

      When the government regulates the price like this, then private insurance companies and government agencies cannot bargain to set the price. In this particular case, if Merck is lobbying for state legislatures to mandate the vaccine, those same state legislatures also should be able to negotiate the price for the government-delivered, artificial and captive market. Similarly, if Merck is lobbying insurance companies to cover the drug, then the insurance companies should be able to negotiate the price competitively. Similarly if the public had to dig a co-pay, even a sliding scale co-pay, out of their individual pockets, there would be a whole lot more caring from the public about the price, and it would be set more appropriately.

      I also find it distasteful for the government to be funding private company research while not negotiating on the prices that taxpayers will have to pay.

      If in fact, something such as drug research (let’s say vaccines are more expensive to develop than other kinds of drugs) will not be done by private industry because it’s not cost-effective (e.g. because vaccines are a one-shot deal with a limited market versus drugs such as antibiotics), then this would represent something that the taxpayers could decide warranted government research. Collectively the taxpayer is in the position of deciding, in those relatively rare instances, that certain kinds of things while not profitable, are still worth doing, e.g. fire departments or space research or vaccines. But under the particular system in place, we have taxpayers being gouged where corporate lobbyists can exert influence.

BannedbytheGuardian | September 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I don’t expect to understand where viewpoints such as Janitor come from .

May i say there IS a world out here where these things are seen very differently. Gardasil has been rolled out in many western countries by their usual practices to no opposition .

In 2004/5 in my country (bigger than Texas) it was made available nationwide free of charge to ALL girls 11-26. I was working at a Methodist girls school where the uptake was 100%.

For Janitor -. The drug was developed here over 20 years at a state university with no doubt significant private sector funding & govt supervised trials . The FDA approval was the icing on the cake – necessary to expand the market /global benefits.

For heavens sake -just what Is the problem? As I see it this vaccine -through the global arm of the big American Pharmas can export it & in time the cost will come down so that all girls can have it.

In regards to Texas – I suspect the HPV rates in the (illegal ) hispanic population could be a factor whereby “mandating ” this would catch these girls at school.

As for sex in Texas -the state has teenage pregnancy issues & I am guessing they aint no immaculata conceptionas.

    This is a regulated price, lobbied for by Merck and agreed to by the CDC. The cost will not come down unless and until the patent expires, or another company comes up with a different vaccine (not so likely, given, as you recognize, the difficulty in developing it). There are no market forces otherwise to take the price down, and certainly not if the government has agreed to pay for it.

    “In 2004/5 in my country (bigger than Texas) it was made available nationwide free of charge to ALL girls 11-26.

    If the government paid for it, that’s not “free”.


    To be clear, my applause is for BannedbytheGuardian!

      mdw9661 in reply to boudicca. | September 16, 2011 at 9:46 pm

      boudicca | September 16, 2011 at 9:09 pm

      I hope Gov. Perry is paying you by the hour. You earn whatever he is paying 🙂

    BannedbytheGuardian | September 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Oh, please, this is America, not “other countries.” In fact, “other countries” represent lab rats to pharma and medical device companies because the standards are lowered.

    Moreover, the discussion isn’t even about the availability of the drug. It is about the vetting of a GOP candidate for nomination.

    (1) Making the vaccine mandatory instead of proper public education and voluntary immunization through informed parents. Perry today says he made a mistake. So, what he wrong then or now?

    (2) Quid Pro Quo – there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to suggest that the Perry-Merck relationship was much more than he alleged in his “If you think I can be bought for $5,000…” comment.

    In fact, it is now known it was $30,000 in direct contributions and up to $350,000 indirect contributions from Merck channeled through the Republican Governors Association.

    Finally, two issues Obama must be confronted with when he goes against the GOP nominee: (1) ObamaCare and (2) Corporate-Government malfeasance. RomneyCare effectively eliminates ObamaCare should Romney be the nominee. Corporate-Government malfeasance may well be taken off the table should Perry be the nominee.

    I, for one, look forward too the Perry venture capital distribution of funds to his determined winners (versus losers).

      BannedbytheGuardian in reply to mdw9661. | September 17, 2011 at 3:00 am

      “Other countries represent lab rats “.

      Vaccines & drugs testing is a global business. In fact the Gold standard id to have 500+ traceable patients in several centres in several countries.

      I was once the 2nd person in the world to test a new anti emetic drug .(beaten by 45 minutes!). I was happy to help out Glaxco.

      As for costs we made a decision as a nation during the Aids epidemic that the burden of public health falls to the government as our collective representatives.

      You will get there one day also. for I believe in evolution -even for Texans.;)

I should add that Merck has different prices for different countries. The U.S. taxpayer indirectly had the most invested in the development of the vaccine, with some work done in Australia — and now the U.S. citizen (or insurance company or taxpayer, depending upon if and how the drug is mandated) gets gouged at the “competitive” price.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to janitor. | September 17, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Janitor -you are so wrong. There is very little American Taxpayer $$ involved in the development of Gardasil & Glaxco’s product.

    The original research was a small team at an Australian State University. Partial patent was sold to Mercks in 91 (plus an Australian company) . Glaxco also bought the intellectual property rights. This allowed funding for the trial process.

    Mercks has the US rights & I guess they know what to charge. Hey you believe in free markets -no?

      The NIH (that’s the U.S. government) developed pretty much all of the science behind Gardasil, and through our “Office of Technology Transfer” (see Birch-Bayh 1980) gave it to Merck who had deals with companies all over the world to actually create (develop a manufacturing process for) the drug. Thus the relative late-comer, Australian CSL, another global pharmaceutical, with numerous joint venture relationships with Merck. CSL, again using U.S. technology, came in first and now gets royalties from Merck.

Well, then, Foxfier, what’s you position on Ms Bachmann, whose major patron has been the insurance companies, advocating a position that profits them by making the vaccine “optional” so they don’t have to pay for it? especially since to get immunity in a population you need 93% of the population immune? She’s making money out of crippling public health. Has she no shame?

    …You’re kidding, right? That’s your idea of a great point?

    You think that failing to force Someone Else to pay for something you want is a position that needs to be defended?

    Did you get lost looking for a place that’s trying to find a Democrat or socialist candidate for the Presidency? Sure seem to share the sadly common view that it’s somehow a “profit” when government doesn’t forcibly take your property.

This is only one of Perry’s pieces of excess baggage. He’s as slick as a 21st century Elmer Gantry. A wheeler-dealer, he’s in favor of turning existing roads into toll roads owned/managed by foreign companies, a form of double taxation.

I can only hope that the vetting process will reveal the majority of his shenanigans on his political career and be assured that this guy is a career politician!

And don’t even get me started on his illegal immigration actions or should I say NON-actions like the failure to crack down on sanctuary cities, failure to institute E-Verify while OTOH he oversaw the passage in 2001 the TX version of the Dream Act. RINO indeed!

As a Texas resident of over twenty years, I can assure you that he’s just not presidential material UNLESS you approve of the practice of presidential monkey business.

I, like another poster stated, just hang in there for the right GOP candidate to emerge and then press on…

Foxfier, I believe that my point is “Sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.”