Gardisil And Its Political Fallout In Presidential Politics

Real Clear Politics has posted an article on Texas Governor Rick Perry and his rush to cram the Human Papilloma Virus down the throats of Texas teen-aged girls. Perry did not wait for a legislative act to make the use of the vaccine mandatory, probably because he knew that they wouldn’t pass it, but signed an “executive order” requiring the series of 3 shots for girls in the 6th grade (that’s usually 11 to 12 year-olds). Perry’s act was so egregious that the Texas legislature passed a bill overriding his diktat with a veto-proof majority. Perry, to avoid political embarrassment, allowed the bill to become law without his signature. Why? Because, he claimed, as a dedicated pro-lifer he had to do something to stop the ravages of cervical cancer.

What Perry forgot to mention was that his chief-of staff was a former Merck lobbyist. Merck is the firm that developed and manufactures Gardisil. Merck put on a hard push, including wheelbarrows full of money, to state legislators all over the United States who would support making Gardisil a mandatory vaccine. Now, why would Merck care that much, you might be asking?

Well, one of the reasons is pretty obvious. If they could pull off the political coup of getting the states to require Gardisil to young girls the would have a very lucrative monopoly involving tens of millions of girls. Think about it this way- tens of millions of girls who are required to take a series of 3 injections at $120- PER INJECTION! But there is a more important reason. Merck desperately wanted the protection that a mandatory vaccine has under the PATRIOT Act. Mandatory status means indemnification from damage suit, an important consideration for a company that wants to avoid problems for a vaccine having no long-term testing data and whose short term data showed potential problems. Later data has showed that there are serious health issues with the Gardisil vaccine, including paralysis and death. A company which can get “mandatory” status may very well gain millions in profits with no downside of potential damage lawsuits.

In light of these facts if you argue that Perry didn’t realize the implications of  indemnifying a drug company from personal damage lawsuits while awarding a monopoly and requiring the use of its product then you argue that he is too naive to be President of the United States. If you argue that Perry was just putting his ‘pro-life’ convictions into action then you are both reinforcing the previous argument and further arguing that he has no grasp of the constitutional limits of executive authority which disqualifies him from the office of President of the United States.

So next time someone says that Perry, whose past support of questionable presidential candidates like Al Gore and Rudi Giuliani call his judgment into serious question, is the “kind of ‘conservative’ we need in the White House” remind them of  the fact that Perry abused his pro-life credentials and abused his executive power as governor of Texas. Then ask if this kind of ‘conservative’ is really what the founders envisioned for the office of president.