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India stops giving Gardasil after 4 deaths

What do you do when a vaccine kills?
In the U.S., we like our drugs. We’ll give any excuse, any reason, to keep them on the market. They have to get pretty dangerous before they’re pulled from the shelves. Not so in India, as evidenced by recent events. The U.S. could stand to learn a lesson here…

What happens when girls start dying after receiving an injection of a pricey new vaccine, one touted as a miracle that will save countless lives?

If you’re in the United States — well, we already know the answer to that. You give it to more girls, of course.

If you’re in India, however, it’s a different story. Recently, they took a novel approach to protecting young women. Rather than continuing to dose more girls with a potentially deadly substance, get this…

They stopped giving it to them.

After only four deaths, the Indian Council of Medical Research called for immediate suspension of the country’s cervical cancer vaccination program. Don’t get me wrong — four is still a tragic loss, but I say “only” to highlight the difference here in the U.S., where last summer the number was already hovering around 50 deaths the FDA says are potentially linked to Gardasil. And yet young women are still getting the shot every day.

The difference in attitude is amazing. Last summer, I told you about the CDC’s and FDA’s reaction to the emerging dangers of Gardasil (“Study reports on Gardasil’s shady marketing,” 8/27/2009).

By the CDC’s count, there were 32 deaths linked to Gardasil at that time. Young women whose lives weren’t lost were fainting and ending up with blood clots. And mounting evidence was already showing that the drug wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Still, they kept giving it, and kept defending it, and continue to do so, even as the facts stack against Gardasil — in fact, the mainstream has been trying to find even MORE applications for this nightmare.

And then you have India. The vaccination program has become controversial after four deaths and complications among 120 girls were reported after the vaccine was given. Stomach disorders, epilepsy, headache are just a few of the side effects these girls had to deal with.

Health authorities in India are saying the vaccine didn’t undergo enough testing before its approval. It looks like Garadsil could be outright rejected there.

Imagine that — health officials that actually look out for the health of the public, for the well being of a nation’s children. I hope the FDA is paying attention to this story, because there’s certainly a major lesson to be learned.


“Cancer vaccine programme suspended after 4 girls die,” DNA India (