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Whatever Happened to Informed Consent?

Gardasil Scandal Brewing in Colombia?

by MARIO LAMO JIMÉNEZ

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María Paula Mejía, one of Colombia’s first Gardasil victims?

Her name is María Paula Mejía. She is a college student. Since receiving three doses of Gardasil her health has deteriorated considerably. She now suffers from constant pain throughout her body, muscle weakness, and bleeding from the nose and gums. She has so much pain in her left knee and ankle that she must walk with a cane, and cannot continue her college education. Paula is one of the first in Colombia to report a serious new medical conditions occurring after the use of Gardasil.

Lloyd Phillips, an American researcher of infectious diseases and genetics, has studied the adverse effects of Gardasil for five years. His work has revealed how Gardasil works differently in different people. He has documented related and biologically plausible mechanisms of action which could cause the many serious and life-threatening side effects which are being reported by girls and young women around the world after receiving the HPV vaccine.

In Colombia we have a potential crisis of major proportions resulting from the use of Gardasil because it is “free and compulsory” by “Law of the Republic”. It is assumed that this HPV vaccine is effective when used to combat cervical cancer, which can be caused by human papilloma virus. However, this vaccine has been hotly debated internationally for allegedly being dangerous and ineffective. It is currently being administered in Colombia without obtaining informed consent from young girls and their parents as to the potential and unknown risks of use.

The director of vaccination at MOH (Ministry of Health), Alejandro Garcia, says the government is “confident in the report of the World Health Organization,” which gives the go-ahead to the vaccine and assures that there is no association between the developments of illness and application of the vaccine.

Lina Trujillo of the Colombian Cancer Institute says that the vaccine protects exclusively against HPV and “does not remove the possibility of having other diseases, and adolescence is the time at which diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis start to appear,” and that “the only contraindication is ‘pregnancy’ and specialists have no hesitation in recommending the vaccine.”

However, neither the director of the Ministry of Health nor Lina Trujillo, from the Colombian Cancer Institute seem to be informed about how the vaccine is produced, and much less about the potential side effects of Gardasil.

The World Health Organization, whose reports are practically the Bible of the Gardasil vaccination policy in Colombia, has been suggested to be complicit with the pharmaceutical industry in general and the Gardasil manufacturer in particular in urging promotion of HPV vaccination campaigns. Relying on the pharmaceutical industry to self-regulate has historically been a losing proposition for the public when companies are left to weigh profits against transparency.

The María Paula Mejía case is illustrative in this regard. She had a third dose of the vaccine, even though she had experienced adverse symptoms after the first two injections. The third injection is when her serious symptoms began.

Interviewed via Skype, with visible signs of pain and discomfort from the effort of sitting upright in a chair, she told us the symptoms she experienced after the third dose of vaccine.

During the first 15 days after her third injection she experienced fever, vomiting, diarrhea, bone pain, joint pain, migraines, tingling, electrical “zaps” on her hip and back, and neck pain. One day she was unable to move for 2 hours, and continues to suffer from insomnia and dizziness. María Paula had every expectation that the symptoms would abate or at least become less intense, but instead they progressed in severity.

At her medical appointments, during which she was subjected to more than 40 laboratory tests, the medical diagnosis was unanimous: All tests were perfectly “normal”, she had nothing … while her symptoms worsened.

The symptoms she was already experiencing were followed by more severe ones, which included progressively spreading joint and bone pain, worsened neck pain, scalp pain, continuing severe hip, back, and knee pain. She began to suffer loss of strength in the left leg, wrist pain, dizziness, neuralgia throughout the body, painful spinal “zaps” as well as continuation of the “zaps” in her hips and limbs. She began to suffer difficulty breathing at certain times of day, chest pain, bleeding in the nose and gums, deviation of the left knee and left ankle, and new complications from older problems.

Through all these symptoms, medical observations and tests were useless in arriving at a diagnosis until a doctor thought to ask: “Has she been recently vaccinated?”

It was then that María Paula first made the association between the vaccine and her new medical condition. And she was not mistaken.

She is currently overwhelmed by pain, has difficulty walking and feels her health is deteriorating more and more. Her symptoms are consistent with those being reported after Gardasil around the world. Although not all are affected equally, of all girls who are vaccinated, a percentage of them will suffer severe effects from Gardasil, which can lead to paralysis and even death.

Neither Merck, the manufacturer, nor the Colombian government agrees that the vaccine is causing these severe symptoms. Both simply raise an accusatory finger at those who denounce this situation, as if the victims did not exist.

The reproductive health of girls and Colombian youth’s rights are being denied to those injected with Gardasil. This is not acceptable, particularly since government support for HPV vaccines has been withdrawn in other countries, such as Japan, for example, because of concerns about serious adverse reactions including infertility.

What’s more, says researcher Lloyd Phillips, if a girl who already has HPV is vaccinated, her risk of getting cancer could substantially increase.

Colombian doctors do NOT know, or refuse to accept, the risks of this vaccine. Treatment for victims is nonexistent.

This is what the U.S. researcher Lloyd Phillips explained to me about Gardasil:

The vaccine uses an aluminum adjuvant because in 1920 a man named Glinny discovered that aluminum stimulated the immune system. A Frenchman named Ramón then discovered that if the aluminum-containing vaccine was given to a horse that had an infection, the immune system produced an even greater amount of antibodies.

Phillips found that aluminum remaining in the system after Gardasil injections can cause an enhanced and extended immune response against infections and illnesses that occurred long ago.

This enhanced response can cause inflammation in the body, especially in the digestive system, and can cause the immune system to wrongfully identify food proteins as foreign. The body then begins to produce histamine to combat what it perceives as a food allergy, causing stomach pain and dilating blood vessels, which can cause dizziness and excessive heart pounding upon standing up.

The result, according to Phillips, is that the more inflamed a digestive tract becomes, the more its ability to absorb nutrients needed to maintain the chemical cycles in the body can become impaired, which can lead to fatal consequences.

Phillips also notes that the body cannot distinguish between inflammation and fear, either of which can trigger the “fight or flight response” which forces the person to excrete magnesium, causing a deficiency. This deficiency has many symptoms, such as muscle spasms, pain, irritability, cardiac arrhythmias, headaches, brittle bones, and more.

In short, says the researcher, this type of vaccine was made for people with “a genetically perfect immune system,” which does not exist in reality.

Gardasil can produce all of these symptoms to varying degrees according to the genetic make-up and medical condition of the person who receives the vaccine, which can vary from hour to hour. This is something neither Merck, nor the Colombian government is telling the public.

In the case of María Paula, as she will recount, when she received the first dose, she was never warned that any of the symptoms she is now suffering were possible. She says:

“They told me that I could have pain in my arm for a week and that I had to wait 15 minutes before leaving the Cancer League, because some girls fainted and the next week was going to be uncomfortable, but that it was normal because of the vaccine… I received the second dose and the second dose hurt a little more … the next few months I began to experience fatigue and back pain, but I thought it was because of my daily activities … I had pain in the lower back and neck … I received the third dose on 20 January of this year and the pain was much greater than in the previous two doses … I began to experience several things … immediately after being vaccinated I began to experience dizziness, I wanted to throw up, obviously my arm really hurt … they warned me about the dizziness, and the urge to vomit and the arm pain and that the next day my arm was also going to hurt, but the following week I had fever, vomiting, diarrhea, extremely strong migraines that lasted 15 days with vomiting, and diarrhea…, I went to the doctor and was told that that there was a virus going around… one night I sat on the couch in my house and then I lay down; I started feeling really bad, very feverish, until I realized that I could not get up from the couch “…

María Paula’s symptoms seem to get worse with each passing day. For the moment, the only hope she has of improving is going to the U.S. to receive treatment.

In Colombia there is no protocol to treat these cases. The government says they do not exist.

And what is the role of Merck, the manufacturer of the vaccine?

According to Lloyd Phillips, company profits are what motivates the existence of this vaccine and its advertising campaigns, due to lawsuits against Merck as a result of VIOXX, a drug that caused 27,000 heart attacks. A single dose of Gardasil may cost about 68 cents to produce (about $ 1360 pesos), and in Colombia obtaining it privately costs the equivalent of $60 (roughly $120 thousand pesos) and in the USA up to $ 200 (about 400 thousand pesos).

The Colombian government has spent $300 million on a questionable vaccine that is already starting to claim apparent victims in Colombia. Following Lloyd Phillips’ statistics, of the $300 million paid by Colombia, $ 298.98 million (nearly $299 million) was profit for Merck.

Colombia is purchasing the HPV vaccine at a hugely inflated price. This vaccine can not only ruin lives, but can cost thousands of dollars to bring a single victim back to health. Families may have to spend thousands of dollars trying to restore their daughters’ health, without having prevented any cancer as promised, and instead causing a number of illnesses that did not exist before using this ‘miracle’ vaccine.

We are then faced with a health emergency induced by a vaccine that has never been proven to prevent any cancer and that is ravaging the children and youth around the world, against which there have been million-dollar awards for HPV vaccine injury in the U.S. (The U.S. government has already paid more than six million dollars to victims) and the vaccine has been rejected in several countries, for example in India and Japan.

But in Colombia, Gardasil will continue to claim more casualties unless an immediate halt to its “free and compulsory” status is granted.

The Colombian government is exposing itself to millions of dollars in lawsuits for its actions in making this vaccine mandatory to Colombian girls and women without informing them of the grave risks already known worldwide.

Does the government of Colombia intend to ignore medical consumers’ right to informed consent, despite knowing the consequences?

MARIO LAMO JIMÉNEZ is a founding member of the Colombian Alliance of Writers and Journalists and coeditor of its publication “La Hojarasca“. He can be reached at admin@escritoresyperiodistas.com.