Gardasil report called ‘work of genius’
Merck & Co. wins Nebula Award
By Dr. Frank N. Stein
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. — Merck & Co.’s blockbuster report on the so-called cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil has won the prestigious Nebula Award for science fiction writing!
In praise of the pharmaceutical giant’s deft handling of the subject material, panelists from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America noted an “effective use of magical realism.” They also lauded a “surprising plot twist at the end,” where the vaccine is declared safe and effective despite side effects including seizures, nausea, feinting, difficulty swallowing, fever, chills, hives, boils, lice, swarms of locusts, fiery hail from heaven and the death of some first-born daughters.
“The fantasy created by Merck is so realistic it’s actually getting state legislatures across the nation to mandate the vaccine for girls as young as nine years old,” says Nebula Award panelist Archibald McLandish. “I haven’t seen such blind devotion since L. Ron Hubbard came up with Scientology.”
Merck’s report on the clinical trials for Gardasil was so convincing that approval sailed through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in near record time â€“ even though the vaccine neither prevents nor cures all types of cervical cancer, its long-term effects remain unknown and — these are real numbers, folks — the study of 20,541 women included a scant 1,121 girls under the age of 16, the primary target-group of Merck’s ongoing marketing campaign.
“It’s really a work of genius,” gushes FDA commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach about the report. “Research on the younger subjects was only followed up for 18 months — and yet Merck has everyone rushing to inoculate their daughters.”
Wall Street analyst Rosie Days notes that the Merck writers have provided a much needed financial boost to the company. The drug producers have been reeling since its 2004 recall of Vioxx, the arthritis pain medication that permanently relieved the symptoms of some patients by causing fatal heart attacks and strokes.
“With Vioxx lawsuits coming out their ying-yang, Merck desperately needed a cash cow — and Gardasil, at $360 a pop for its series of three shots, will have them mooing all the way to the bank,” predicts Days. “Even though less than 4,000 American women out of 150 million die from cervical cancer annually, Merck expects to rake in about $3 billion a year from the vaccine.
“The Nebula Award is fitting because those numbers are truly astronomical!”