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Crackdown urged on false medical ads

Crackdown urged on false medical ads

A female legislator and women rights groups yesterday said many cervical cancer vaccine advertisements and commercials are exaggerated and mislead the public into thinking the vaccines are effective for a lifetime, and urged health officials to crack down on deceptive or false advertisements.
The Department of Health said it will look into the advertisements and discipline those who spread wrong or false information. The DOH stressed that drugs or vaccines are not commercial goods and they cannot be promoted or sold randomly.
Gardasil, a vaccine manufactured by Merck & Co. against four types of the human papillomavirus, was introduced to Taiwan last December. Gardasil is designed to prevent infection with HPV types 16, 18, 6, and 11. HPV types 16 and 18 cause about 70 percent of HPV-related cervical cancer cases. One has to take three doses to complete the vaccination.
Huang Sue-ying and the League of Taiwan Women yesterday held a press conference in the Legislative Yuan to remind the public to be aware of the misleading advertisements regarding the effectiveness of Gardasil.
Huang said since Gardasil entered Taiwan's market last December, many drug sellers are using exaggerating slogans or advertisements to mislead the public into believing Gardasil are effective for women of all ages of female for a lifetime. "Many posters put in the hospital said "Get three doses of Gardasil and get lifetime protection, which is false," Huang said.
She noted that in Taiwan, viruses that lead to cervical cancer are HPV types 16, 18, 52, and 58, HPV types 16 and 18 account for about 62 percent of all cervical cancer cases, meaning that the protection rate for people receiving Gardasil vaccination is about only 62 percent.
Moreover, Huang said current medical reports have only confirmed that Gardasil has a five-year-long protection, while its long-term effectiveness is still pending since researchers need more time to evaluate the results of clinical trials. Huang added that more than 2,000 negative reports concerning Gardasil were reported in the United States since last June.
In Taiwan, more than 5,000 cervical cancer cases are added each year. It is the most common form of cancer among females in Taiwan.