Merck has been lobbying pretty hard for mandating the vaccination of pre-teen girls with its HPV vaccine Gardasil.
More than 20 states have drafted bills to mandate the vaccination, and in fact, an executive order was made by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to force young girls to be vaccinated. Mr. Perry's executive order calls for all girls entering sixth grade in that state to be vaccinated by September 2008.
Public backlash against the mandate, including parent groups, has forced Merck to end its lobbying campaign. Among the main arguments made by the opposition included, the freedom to make that decision for their daughters on their own, and of course, the high cost. A three dose regimen of Gardasil costs $360, higher than most mandated vaccination programs.
Merck will now focus on programs aimed at educating the public about HPV, which is a virus that is sexually transmitted, and is a cause of cervical cancer.
MRK 1-yr chart