Rick Perry - Gardasil

Last Updated : Sep 26, 2011

Summary

Gardasil is a drug produced by Merck that protects against protects against the initial establishment of HPV types 16, 18, 6, and 11. It was approved for use by the FDA in June of 2006 and is administrered in three shots which each cost $120. With a 165,000 children in Texas a year at this age, this means the cost to administer the drug would be between $55 and $60 million a year.

Governor Rick Perry issued an executive order on February, 2 2007 that mandated that all Texas girls ages 11 and 12 be vaccinated with Gardasill as they enter the sixth grade.  The order allowed the parents to opt out of the shot. The order also made Gardasil immediately available to eligible young females through the Texas Vaccines for Children program for young women ages 9 to 18, and through Medicaid for women ages 19 to 21.

Mike Toomey was Rick Perry's chief of staff from November 2002 to September 2004. Upon leaving this position, Mr Toomey became a partner for the Texas Lobby Group. He was Merck's sole lobbyist in Texas and one of his chief functions was to achieve a state mandate for Merck vaccines. Between 2005 and 2010, Merck paid Toomey between $260,000 and $535,000 and is now the head of his Super Pac for his 2012 Presidential campaign.

On October 16, 2006 Perry's next chief of staff, Deirdre Delisi, met with key aides in a "Merck HPV Vaccine update." That same day, Merck & Co.'s political action committee donated $5,000 to Perry and $5,000 total to eight state lawmakers.

Merck also funded a group called Women in Govenment. This group advocated on a number of issues, including attempting to get states to enact a mandate for children to take Gardasil. The Texas state director of WIG was Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi. Dianne Delisi is the mother-in-law of Governor Perry's chief of staff Deidre Delisi.

Between January of 2006 and July of 2011, Merck gave a total of $377,500 to the Republican Governor's association and a total of $28,500 to Governor Perry between January of 2001 and July of 2011. Merck also donated a total of $4 million to the Republican Governor's association while Governor Perry was in charge of that organization.

In April of 2007, the Texas Legislature passed HB 1098, which repealed the mandate put in place by Governor Perry. On February 20 of that year, numerous cancer patients testified in favor of keeping the mandate. One of those people was Heather Burcham, although she was too weak to testify when her time finally arrived. Governor Perry becames friends with Mrs Burcham and in a speech after her passing, he notes that he met her when she came to testify on February 20, 2007.

Governor Perry was repeatedly questioned by other candidates during the Republican debates at the Reagan library, the CNN TEA Party debate, and the Fox News / Google debate. He admitted that the process used to enact the requirement was probably not the best course of action and stated that it was not a mandate as an opt out was available to parents. He stated that he had erred on the side of life and that he was not sorry about that. In the Fox News / Google debate, Governor Perry stated that he had met a 31 year old cervical cancer patient who had lobbied him to go forward with the mandate. This was a reference to Mrs Burcham, even though his speech on the official Governor of Texas website notes they met after the mandate was put in place.

As of June 22, 2011, approximately 35 million doses of Gardasil® were distributed in the U.S. and VAERS received a total of 18,727 reports of adverse events following Gardasil® vaccination: 17,958 reports among females and 346 reports for males, of which 285 reports were received after the vaccine was licensed for males in October 2009. VAERS received 423 reports of unknown gender. Of the total number of VAERS reports following Gardasil®, 92% were considered to be non-serious, and 8% were considered serious.

 

Timeline

  • Jun 8, 2006    - Gardaso; approved by the FDA
  • Oct 16, 2006  - Governor Perry's Chief of Staff, Deirdre Delisi, met with key aides about Gardasil
  • Oct 16, 2006  - Merck makes $5,000 donation to Perry campaign
  • Feb 2, 2007    - Governor Perry issues executive order mandating girls 11-12 be vaccinated with Gardasil
  • Feb 20, 2007  - Testimony is given by those opposing HB 1098 - Governor Perry meets Heather Burcham
  • May 8, 2007   - HB 1098 is signed into law, over-riding the mandate from the order

 

Gardasil

The FDA approved Gardasil for use by Merck in June of 2006. Gardasil protects against the initial establishment of HPV types 16, 18, 6, and 11. HPV, or human papillomavirus disease, is a virus that can be contracted via unprotected intercourse. In women, the virus is the primary cause of cervical cancer and it can cause genital warts in both males and females. The drug was approved to be used in females 9 to 26 years of age and claims that it can protect against 75% of cervical cancer cases, 70% of vaginal cancer, 50% of vulvar cancer cases, and 90% of genital warts cases.

Gardasil is given in three 0.5 milliliter injections over six months. The second injection is two months after the first, and the third injection is four months after the second shot was administered. Each injection costs $120, bringing the total cost for immunization to $360 per person.

The length of time that Gardasil remains effective is not fully known. It has been established that it does protect for at least 4-5 years.

 

Lobbyist Influence

Mike Toomey was Rick Perry's chief of staff from November 2002 to September 2004. Upon leaving this position, Mr Toomey became a partner for the Texas Lobby Group. He is one of three lobbyists in Texas for the company and was Merck's sole lobbyist in Texas and one of his chief functions was to achieve a state mandate for Merck vaccines. Merck paid Toomey between $260,000 and $535,000 in lobbying fees between 2005 and 2010, according to state lobbying records. Mr Toomey is running Governor Perry's Super PAC for his 2012 Presidential campaign.

Toomey's replacement as Chief of Staff was Deirdre Delisi. On October 16, 2006 Deirdre Delisi, met with key aides in a "Merck HPV Vaccine update." That same day, Merck & Co.'s political action committee donated $5,000 to Perry and $5,000 total to eight state lawmakers.

Merck also funded a group called Women in Govenment. This group advocated on a number of issues, including attempting to get states to enact a mandate for children to take Gardasil. The Texas state director of WIG was Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi. Dianne Delisi is the mother-in-law of Governor Perry's chief of staff Deidre Delisi.

Between January of 2006 and July of 2011, Merck gave a total of $377,500 to the Republican Governor's association and a total of $28,500 to Governor Perry between January of 2001 and July of 2011.

Merck Contributions to RGA and Governor Perry
Total to RGA and Perry Contributor RGA Total 1/06-7/11 Perry Total 1/01-7/11
$406,000 Merck & Co $377,500 $28,500

 

Republican Governor's Association

Governor Perry was the head of the Republican Governor's Association (RGA) from January of 2006 to July of 2011. Texas has limitations on fund-raising which prohibits politicians from directly taking funds from a company's treasury. The RGA does not have these restrictions. The RGA has given a total of $4 million to Governor Perry's campaigns since 2006. In addition, between January of 2006 and July of 2011,

 

RGA Contributions to Perry's Campaigns
Contributor
Date Amount
RGA Michigan 2010 PAC 10/4/2010 $3,000,000
Republican Governor's Association 11/2/2006 $500,000
Republican Governor's Association 10/27/2006 $500,000
Total: $4,000,000

 

Executive Order 

On February 2, 2007, Governor Perry issued an executive order mandating that all Texas girls ages 11 and 12 be vaccinated with Gardasil. The order would become effective in 2008 and girls would be immunized as they entered the 6th grade. A parental opt out was provided if parents objected. Governor Perry issued a press statement on the order on the same day.

The order also directed state health authorities to make the vaccine available free to girls 9 to 18 who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover vaccines. In addition, he ordered that Medicaid offer Gardasil to women ages 19 to 21. Texas was the first state to mandate HPV immunization.

 

HB 1098

On March 14 and April 23 of 2007, the Texas House and Senate passed HB 1098 which expressly repealed Governor Perry's executive order requiring Gardasil. The House passed the bill 118-23 and the Senate Bill passed 30-1.

Governor Perry allowed the bill to go into affect without vetoing it as the state legislature had enough votes to override the veto. Governor Perry issued a press statement on May 5 addressing the issue.

 

Republican Presidential Debates

In three debates to date, Governor Perry has been asked about the Gardasil mandate. The video below shows those conversations between him and Congressman Paul and Congresswoman Bachmann. The text of those remarks is shown below in chronological order, just as with the film. Note that Governor Perry discusses his interaction with Heather Burcham as part of the reason for going ahead with the mandate. He notes that he was lobbied by her in that matter and describes her as a 31 years old cervical cancer patient.

 

 

 

Heather Burcham

Heather Burcham was the cervical cancer victim that Governor Perry was referencing in the FoxNews / Google debate. Governor Perrry stated in that debate that he was lobbied to enact the mandate by a 31 year old woman that was dying of the disease that Gardasil could have prevented. However, in his own statements regarding the passing of Mrs Burcham, Governor Perry notes that he met her when she came to testify against HB 1098 - the law that repealed the mandate. That testimony was given on February 20, 2007 and unfortunately Mrs Burcham was not able to participate as the proceedings went into the night.

 

CDC Reports on Gardasil

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a database that allows people to report problems associated with vaccines. There is no scientific link between the problems and the vaccines other than the timing of the problems appearing within hours or days of the administration of the vaccine.

Reports to VAERS Following Gardasil®

As of June 22, 2011, approximately 35 million doses of Gardasil® were distributed in the U.S. and VAERS received a total of 18,727 reports of adverse events following Gardasil® vaccination: 17,958 reports among females and 346 reports for males, of which 285 reports were received after the vaccine was licensed for males in October 2009. VAERS received 423 reports of unknown gender. Of the total number of VAERS reports following Gardasil®, 92% were considered to be non-serious, and 8% were considered serious.

Non-serious adverse event reports

VAERS defines non-serious adverse events as those other than hospitalization, death, permanent disability, or life-threatening illness.

The vast majority (92%) of the adverse events reports following Gardasil® vaccination have included fainting, pain, and swelling at the injection site (the arm), headache, nausea, and fever. Syncope (fainting) is common after injections and vaccinations, especially in adolescents. Falls after fainting may sometimes cause serious injuries, such as head injuries, which can be prevented by closely observing the person for 15 minutes after vaccination.
Serious adverse event reports

Any VAERS report that indicated hospitalization, permanent disability, life-threatening illness, congenital anomaly or death is classified as serious. As with all VAERS reports, serious events may or may not have been caused by the vaccine.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been reported after vaccination with Gardasil® . GBS is a rare neurologic disorder that causes muscle weakness. It occurs in 1-2 out of every 100,000 people in their teens. A number of infections have been associated with GBS. There has been no indication that Gardasil® increases the rate of GBS above the rate expected in the general population, whether or not they were vaccinated.
Blood Clots

There have been some reports of blood clots in females after receiving Gardasil®. These clots have occurred in the heart, lungs, and legs. Most of these people had a risk of getting blood clots, such as taking oral contraceptives (the birth control pill), smoking, obesity, and other risk factors.
Deaths

As of June 22, 2011 there have been a total 68 VAERS reports of death among those who have received Gardasil® . There were 54 reports among females, 3 were among males, and 11 were reports of unknown gender. Thirty two of the total death reports have been confirmed and 36 remain unconfirmed due to no identifiable patient information in the report such as a name and contact information to confirm the report. A death report is confirmed (verified) after a medical doctor reviews the report and any associated records. In the 32 reports confirmed, there was no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine and some reports indicated a cause of death unrelated to vaccination.

References

[1] Website: The Houston Chronicle Article: Perry orders anti-cancer vaccine for schoolgirls Author: LIZ AUSTIN PETERSON - AP Accessed on: 05/09/2010

[2] Website: NewsMax.com Article: Texas Families Seek to Block Gov's Order Author: AP Accessed on: 05/09/2010

[3] Website: Austin American Statesman Article: GOVERNOR'S OFFICE SAYS TIMING IS COINCIDENCE, NO CONSPIRACY EXISTED Author: Liz Austin Peterson - AP Accessed on: 05/09/2010

[4] Website: Austin American Statesman Article: BILL WOULD OVERTURN HIS MANDATE Author: Corrie MacLaggan Accessed on: 05/09/2010

[5] Website: FDA.gov Article: Approval Letter - Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16, 18) Vaccine, Recombinant Author: NA Accessed on: 09/25/2011

[6] Website: Gardasal.com Article: Information about Gardasil Author: NA Accessed on: 09/25/2011

[7] Website: Berkeley Health Services Article: Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine Author: NA Accessed on: 09/26/2011

[8] Website: Texas State Legislation Article: Texas HB 1098 - 2007 Author: NA Accessed on: 09/26/2011

[9] Website: CNN Article: HPV vaccine, Merck and Rick Perry's money Author: Sheila Krumholz and Michael Beckel Accessed on: 09/26/2011

[10] Website: Center for Disease Control Article: Reports of Health Concerns Following HPV Vaccination Author: CDC Accessed on: 09/26/2011

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