The Maryland Prevention and Health Promotion Agency (PHPA) has received millions — $123 million just between 2012–2017 — as part of an effort to require public schools to force children to get the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination. Those funds came in the form of grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC maintains a nonprofit foundation that gets enormous amounts of money from Big Pharma — including Merck, the company that produces Gardasil, the HPV vaccine. At the very least, Maryland’s acceptance of those funds has the appearance of impropriety.
During a PHPA-hosted “HPV symposium” attended by state pediatric practices and Maryland Department of Health staffers in March 2018 at Ten Oaks, Maryland, the featured speaker — Dr. Alix Casler — encouraged attendees to offer free dinners, bottles of wine, and “Quality Doctor Incentives $” sales bonuses to get Maryland physicians on board with the HPV vaccine-pushing program. Dr. Casler offered a $5,000 cash payment to pediatric practices that achieve targeted HPV vaccine sales goals.
Dr. Casler is a paid spokesperson for Merck — to the tune of more than $59,000 just between 2013 and 2016, according to data compiled by ProPublica.
In 2016, the Maryland Partnership for Prevention — which lists the Maryland Department of Health as its top member — accepted $70,000 from the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM). AIM’s top “Corporate Alliance Members” are Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi Pasteur and Seqirus. That same year, legislation was introduced in Maryland to mandate the shot.
In the U.S., only three jurisdictions have made HPV vaccination mandatory: Rhode Island, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Clearly, based on the money and other incentives being injected into our public-health policy system, Big Pharma would love to see Maryland become the fourth to do so.
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