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HPV vaccine: Miracle or menace?

By Dr. Mercola

During a Republican debate in Tampa, Florida, presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) alleged that campaign contributions from drug company Merck—the maker of Gardasil—played "a pivotal role in Rick Perry's 2007 executive order that mandated teenage girls in Texas be inoculated against HPV," CNN reports.

The order did not go into effect, however, as it was later overturned by the legislature.

Still, it's hard to overlook the potential for undue influence and conflict of interest.

Perry responded that the company gave only $5,000 to his campaign. 

However, Merck has contributed:

$28,500 to Perry's gubernatorial campaigns since January 2001, and $377,500 to the Republican Governors Association (one of the largest backers of Perry's campaigns)

Furthermore, CNN reported that:

"Perhaps more importantly, Perry's friend, former chief of staff Mike Toomey, spun through the revolving door to become a lobbyist for Merck in Texas, a position he held at the time of the HPV-related executive order.

… Perry's actions benefiting donors from the pharmaceutical industry don't appear to stop with Merck.

For instance, drug-maker Novartis Pharmaceuticals has also contributed handsomely to the Republican Governors Association and it has also benefited from Perry's support. Novartis has donated $700,000 to the RGA since January 2006, although it has only directly donated $5,000 to Perry's own campaign. In 2009, Perry signed a bill into law mandating meningitis vaccines for all college students, a requirement he expanded again earlier this year."

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