TELL THE FTC: Merck HPV Vaccine Television Commercial IS FALSE & MISLEADING

Petition — Original here:

By: James Lyons-Weiler, PhD266844-1467869862-wide
Target: The Federal Trade Commission

We, the undersigned, hereby submit to the US Federal Trade Commission this formal complaint that Merck, Inc. has, by and through its misleading television campaign for its product, a Gardisil™ vaccine, willfully misled the American public on the product’s capabilities and performance in protecting individuals against infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and from HPV-associated cancer, leading to possible injury due to product use.
The television advertisement, which has aired in various markets throughout the US, is composed of statements made by actors portraying adolescents who are represented as either having been infected with the HPV virus or have developed cancer from HPV infection.

This is the transcript of the television advertisement:

YFA: Young female actor
YMA: Young male actor
FVO: Female voice over
MVO: Male voice over
VO: Voice over
“FVO: I have cervical cancer from an infection; human papilloma virus.
Who knew HPV could lead to certain cancers?
Who knew my risk for HPV would increase as I got older?
Who knew that there was something that could have helped protect me from HPV when I was 11 or 12 way before I would even be exposed to it?
YFA: Did you know – Mom, Dad?
Still: Who knew HPV could cause certain cancers and diseases in girls? And boys.
MVO: I was infected with HPV. Maybe my parents didn’t know how widespread HPV is. While HPV clears up for most, that wasn’t the case for me. Maybe they didn’t know I would end up with cancer because of HPV. Maybe if they had known there was a vaccine to help protect me when I was 11 or 12, maybe my parents just didn’t know.
YMA: Right Mom, Dad?
VO: What will you say? Don’t wait. Talk to your child’s doctor today. Learn more at”

The advertisement video is also available at

The action of advertising unproven clinical performance characteristics is the same as making false claims of a product’s ability. The claims made by the ad are unwarranted given the totality of the evidence in the scientific literature. In claiming that HPV vaccines “could have” prevented HPV infection, Merck fails to inform the public of

(a) the knowledge that HPV vaccination does not protect against all HPV types, which could lead vaccinated consumers to act as though they are in fact protected from HPV infection in general, when, in reality, they are not;

Continues here:


One thought on “TELL THE FTC: Merck HPV Vaccine Television Commercial IS FALSE & MISLEADING

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s