“I will explain Harper's position in her own words,” he writes. “They are unambiguous: ‘I did not say that Cervarix was as deadly as cervical cancer. I did not say that Cervarix could be riskier or more deadly than cervical cancer. I did not say that Cervarix was controversial, I stated that Cervarix is not a 'controversial drug'. I did not 'hit out' – I was contacted by the press for facts. And this was not an exclusive interview.” Harper did not "develop Cervarix" but she did work on some important trials of Gardasil and also Cervarix. "Gardasil is not a 'sister vaccine' as the Express said, it is a different compound. I do not know of the side effects of Cervarix as it is not available in the US.’ “She did not say that Cervarix was being overmarketed. ‘I did say that Merck was egregiously overmarketing Gardasil in the US – but Gardasil and Cervarix are not the same vaccines’…She also suspects from modelling data that for the specific and restricted group of women who are punctilious about attending every single one of their cervical cancer screening appointments, vaccination may have little impact on their risk of death from cancer; but even they will benefit from the reduction in reproductive problems caused by treating pre-cancerous changes in cervical cells. ‘I fully support the HPV vaccines," she says. "I believe that in general they are safe in most women. I told the Express all of this.’”Dr. Goldacre is not new to speaking out against misinformation: Okay so why are we talking about this? When misinformation starts to spread in regards to a persons character or relationship status (aka: rumors), the damage is mostly emotional. When misinformation spreads in regards to nutrition and fitness, there can definitely be dangerous physical effects (when taken to extremes), but most often it will simply be ineffective efforts. But when we're talking about being medicated and our physical health, misinformation can be incredibly dangerous, and even deadly. The most dangerous part is that nowadays, it can be incredibly difficult to get "true" information. Because what is that? Does the HPV vaccine a) work b) pose a danger to those who use it c) If the side effects can be dangerous, are they more or less dangerous than the effects of the disease we are immunizing against. The honest answer: Who knows. Medicine is evolving and changing at such a rapid rate that we are constantly flooded with new studies and information, addendum and adaptations to old information, new studies conflicting old studies and so on and so on. So who do you listen to? Your doctor? I know I'm not the only one who has left my doctor's office on more than one occasion - feeling left in the dark. So in the age of information when we can go online and endlessly Google our symptoms until we're absolutely certain that the doorknobs in our house will kill us, what's the solution? How can we stay healthy and, furthermore, get healthy again when we're ill, if everyone is saying something different?
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