Merck said today it would stop lobbying states to pass laws requiring that preteen girls be vaccinated against cervical cancer, following a growing backlash among parents, healthcare providers and consumer groups, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Merck’s aggressive lobbying campaign was intended to bolster sales of its Gardasil vaccine approved last year. The vaccine provides protection against two strains of the human papillomavirus, the virus thought to cause a majority of cervical cancer cases.
Merck’s lobbying efforts have become a distraction from the company’s goal of immunizing as many women as possible against cervical cancer said Richard Haupt, Merck’s executive director of medical affairs.
Merck has “decided at this point not to lobby for school laws any further,” Haupt told The Journal.