In June 2006, the FDA approved a new vaccine from Merck for the prevention of cervical cancer, which is thought to be caused by the Human Papilloma Virus. Under a new 'rapid approval' process, it took the FDA only 6 months to complete the evaluation of the vaccine and authorize it for the market.
"This vaccine is a significant advance in the protection of women's health in that it strikes at the infections that are the root cause of many cervical cancers," said Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD, then Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs, according to an FDA statement on the approval of this new vaccine.
Despite lingering doubts as to the exact genesis of cervical cancer, and despite a distinct lack of evidence that the vaccine will indeed be a useful preventive tool, Merck lobbied heavily to make the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine mandatory for girls all over the United States. Texas governor Rick Perry's move to make the vaccine mandatory in his state drew heavy criticism, not to mention allegations that pharma money may have played a role in making this decision.
The rush to mandate an HPV vaccine to prevent Cervical Cancer, may not even make sense as a preventive measure. Is Human Papillomavirus the Real Cause of Cervical Cancer? Gary Krasner thinks there may be other causes and that vaccinating every girl would be a waste, if not a danger because the real cause - antibacterial douches that tend to destroy the natural balance of flora in the vagina - tends to get covered up.