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Originally published September 25 2008

Merck Targets Low Income and Minority Women in HPV Vaccine Study

by Joanne Waldron

(NaturalNews) Merck, manufacturer of the controversial Gardasil vaccine, has awarded a research grant of $79,000.00 to two Indiana University Kelley School of Business professors to study the effect of two interventions on acceptance of the HPV vaccination among low-income and minority women, according to a press release by the university. One professor, Dena Cox, will examine how consumers make health care decisions. Another professor, Anthony Cox, will explore how consumers evaluate the risk factors involved when considering medical treatments.

Researchers are Business Experts, Not Medical Doctors

Eli Lilly Fellow Dena Cox, who will serve as the principal investigator on the study, was previously a microbiologist before receiving a doctorate in marketing from the University of Houston. Anthony Cox, co-investigator for this study, has a Ph.D. in marketing from Indiana University. Note that neither of these researchers are medical doctors. According to the press release, it is their job to "seek the most effective ways to present HPV vaccine risk and benefit information to low-income Hispanic, African-American and White women, so that they can make informed HPV vaccination decisions."

How Does One Convince Low Income/Minority Women to Get HPV Shot?

One may wonder what Merck's idea of an "informed HPV vaccination decision" is. Given Merck's marketing campaign for Gardasil has included ad spots during televisions shows like American Idol and the Oprah Winfrey Show and during movies like Sex in the City, one can only presume that an "informed HPV vaccination decision" is one in which the women in question agree to allow themselves to be given the Gardasil jab. This is why the study is being conducted by marketers and not medical doctors. Make no mistake about it. The purpose of the study is to determine the best ways to convince these low income and minority women to get this vaccine.

Public Starting to Question Vaccine

If the vaccine is so great, why does Merck have to spend so much money marketing the vaccine and hiring researchers to determine the best ways to encourage young women to get it? The CDC still insists that the Gardasil vaccine is safe and effective. Why isn't the public buying it?

The truth is that Gardasil has been in the news quite a bit lately, and the press has not been good. Parents and young women are questioning the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and rightly so. When there are constantly news stories running about Gardasil linked to things like paralysis, death, and pancreatitis, it is no small wonder that Merck is busy getting business experts to study how to push this vaccine on low income and minority women.

About the author

Joanne Waldron is a computer scientist with a passion for writing and sharing health-related news and information with others. She hosts the Naked Wellness: The Gentle Health Revolution forum, which is devoted to achieving radiant health, well-being, and longevity.

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