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Monday, July 23, 2007

Mandatory Vaccination Controversy Did Not Hurt Gardasil Sales!

According to the Wall Street Journal health Blog:
"Looking at the numbers Merck is posting for sales of its cervical-cancer vaccine Gardasil, the Health Blog can’t help but wonder whether Merck really needed to even try its controversial lobbying push to boost the vaccine’s sales." (See "Gardasil Gives Merck Shot in the Arm").
Although sales of Gardasil were $358 million in the second quarter, following a first-quarter showing of $365 million, this doesn't mean that the slight decrease was due to the controversy that erupted in February after it was discovered that Merck was lobbying state legislatures for mandatory vaccination program for preteen girls (see "Gardasil: To Be Mandatory or Not To Be Mandatory -- That is the Question").

As pointed out by the WSJ blog, "A fall in Gardasil sales was not a surprise from the first quarter to the second this year, though, since many states were stocking up on the vaccine in the first quarter as part of a federally funded vaccine program."

In any case, it seems that the mandatory vaccination PR snafu hasn't hurt Gardasil sales.

Back in March, I suggested that rather than hurting Gardasil sales, the controversy might actually help sales (see "Does Merck Need a Vaccine for Bad PR?"). A survey asked readers their opinion, which is shown in the following chart:

Only 23% thought of Pharma marketing Blog readers who responded to this poll thought that the controversy would hurt sales. Ah! The wisdom of the crowd! Gotta love it!

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