June 9, 2006
Any kind of vaccine to prevent any kind of cancer should be cause for unmitigated celebration. However, this article in the New York Times about a new vaccine for cervical cancer accurately gives us the complex picture of the sad state of medicine in the US at the moment.
Beyond the concerns of getting approved by the FDA and being safe enough to administer to 11 and 12 year old girls (the aim is to inoculate girls before they have sex, eliminating the risk of them contracting HPV, which later frequently turns into cervical cancer and kills 3,700 women a year in the US alone), there is the fact that Merck is charging $360 for the three-shot course. This puts the vaccination well out of the range of many uninsured families. There is talk of federal and state programs attempting to cover the cost for those who aren't able, but it seems that nobody quite has the funds. So, it becomes a triage of what vaccines the government will decide to fund, and which they choose to ignore.
"Increasingly, states are asked to make a Sophie's choice about which diseases they will allow children to be hospitalized or killed by," said Dr. Paul Offit, director of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
My point being: just because we have some amazing technology, doesn't mean we aren't still assholes.
Full Article: U.S. Approves Use of Vaccine for Cervical Cancer
(Via NYT > National.)
Posted by MostlyForMe at 6:04 PM