Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
Spread the word! Go to this link and order your FREE bracelet — it costs you nothing. For every one that is ordered Merck Pharmaceuticals donates $1 for cervical cancer research. If you don't have time to order the bracelet please take the time to forward this e-mail to family and friends so that they may order their FREE bracelet. I just ordered mine!
Origins: In 2006, the pharmaceutical corporation
Show your support and help make the connection between Cervical Cancer and HPV by ordering a FREE make the connection bracelet kit!
With every order of the FREE Make the Connection bracelet kit you will get two kits, so you can invite someone to join you in showing support against cervical cancer.
By ordering a free Make the Connection bracelet kit, you will be helping to advance cervical cancer education and outreach. For every pair of bracelet kits ordered, Merck will donate one dollar to Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation, up to $100,000, for cervical cancer awareness and screening programs among medically underserved women.
Kits can also be ordered over the phone 888-4-HPV-CONNECT (888-447-8266).
The stated intent of the bracelet kits is to help promote consumer awareness of the link between cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV), and in order to to encourage the wearing of the "Make the Connection" bracelets, Merck is offering to "advance cervical cancer education and outreach" by donating one dollar to the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation "for cervical cancer awareness and screening programs among medically underserved women" for every pair of bracelet kits ordered (with Merck's contribution being capped at $100,000).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20 million Americans (both women and men) carry HPV, which is transmitted by skin-to-skin genital contact:
Some of these viruses are called "high-risk" types, and may cause abnormal Pap tests. They may also lead to cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus, or penis. Others are called "low-risk" types, and they may cause mild Pap test abnormalities or genital warts. Genital warts are single or multiple growths or bumps that appear in the genital area, and sometimes are cauliflower shaped.
Merck's immediate challenge is persuading federal and state officials to recommend and pay for widespread or mandatory vaccinations, over possible objections of sexual-abstinence and anti-vaccine groups that prefer Pap smears as a proven prevention.
Merck marketers, working already for a year to publicize HPV risks and prime the market, also must take care not to undermine cancer screening and safe-sex campaigns, experts said.
All the while, Merck must watch over its shoulder at GlaxoSmithKline, which hopes to launch Cervarix by late 2007. Its second-to-market strategy is to let Merck pave the regulatory road and then slingshot past Gardasil.
At stake, beyond public health, is billions in revenue for both companies and a potential economic boost for Montgomery County, home to Merck's vaccine division. With roughly 10,000 employees, it already is Pennsylvania's biggest manufacturer of any kind, state officials say.
Merck, struggling since the 2004 recall of its blockbuster pain pill, Vioxx, has staked its turnaround in part on vaccines. They accounted for
Last fall, Merck funded "Make the Connection," run by the industry-backed, nonprofit Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation and celebrity charity Step Up Women's Network. Designed by the public-relations giant Edelman, the campaign features publicity events, a TV public-service announcement and cameos by celebrities such as Maria Shriver and Jessica Alba wearing girls' beaded
"Merck doesn't tell you why the site exists, which is to sell Gardasil," Ruskin said.
| Genital HPV Infection |
(Centers for Disease Control)
Bridges, Andrew. "Cervical Cancer Vaccine Approved." San Francisco Chronicle 8 June 2006. Bloomberg News. "A Vaccine Every Woman Should Take." 29 November 2004. BusinessWeek. "Merck Promotes Cervical Cancer Shot by Publicizing Viral Cause." 26 May 2006.