Today's Muscat Daily has an advertorial on the front page for Muscat Private Hospital's offering of a cervical cancer vaccine. This is now available from MPH, even though the Ministry of Health is still studying the 'feasibility and efficacy". That's good, right?
The good Dr. Saxton is quoted comparing the vaccine to Penicillin, which is total nonsense (penicillin being a powerful antibiotic drug that kills bacteria, while the vaccine enables the body to recognise and defend against 4 types of cancer causing Human Papiloma Virus, HPV). The article claims the vaccine offers "effective protection against the killer disease", which it doesn't. It only protects against those 4 types of virus, albeit the most common types.
To get some more accurate information is fortunately easy via the internet. Here is a comprehensive report by the US National Cancer Institute. Quote:
Neither of these HPV vaccines has been proven to provide complete protection against persistent infection with other HPV types, although some initial results suggest that both vaccines might provide partial protection against a few additional HPV types that can cause cervical cancer. Overall, therefore, about 30 percent of cervical cancers will not be prevented by these vaccines. Also, in the case of Gardasil, 10 percent of genital warts will not be prevented by the vaccine. Neither vaccine prevents other sexually transmitted diseases, and they do not treat HPV infection or cervical cancer.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting the vaccine is a bad thing. Far from it. By I'd hardly call a 30% remaining risk "effective protection". Women must also continue to get PAP screening. The article also fails to mention that it is only licenced in the US for women between 9 and 26 years of age.
Anyhow, the price quoted today? 340RO. US$884. The exact same vaccine is available in the US at a retail price of $360 (3 x $120 per dose).
That's a HUGE 250% mark-up for the accountants at Muscat Private Hospital. And they only have enough doses for 30 women so far.
Gee, thanks MPH. You really care.
And Anita Joseph, ace reporter for Muscat Daily - how about next time taking 5 fuckin' minutes to do some basic background on google before slapping such PR copy straight on the front page beneath your by-line?
Just a suggestion.