June 01, 2006
Fears over vaccines block
The weekly Cancer Letter says recent Capitol Hill testimony by the acting director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) suggests that human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines, objected to by the religious right, might have approval blocked by the FDA. Both Merck and GlaxoSmithKline are developing
According to the Cancer Letter, NCI acting director John Niederhuber seemed to downplay the vaccines' importance for US women, notwithstanding one's success in an NCI-sponsored trial, when he appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education.
However, in the third world, Niederhuber said, “the impact of this could be just absolutely huge.” The Cancer Letter says social conservatives are expected to oppose HPV vaccines at FDA the same way they opposed the emergency contraceptive Plan B.
The letter goes on to quote Reproductive Health Technologies Project president Kirsten Moore as saying Niederhuber's testimony sounded “like the birth of a convenient excuse not to look at what HPV vaccines could do for this country.”
Some religious right advocates claim that HPV vaccines, like Plan B, would encourage sexual promiscuity, especially among the young.