It’s been four years since Gardasil debuted as a blockbuster vaccine with sales that rocketed to over $1.1 billion in its first nine months.
Touted as a wonder vaccine that would end cervical cancer, it was supposed to be the savior of both mankind and Merck’s Vioxx-damaged bottom line. But now, according to CNN Money, it’s a dud.
It just posted $219 million in sales. But in the pharma world, that’s a paltry pittance, nothing short of an in-flight explosion that’s caused Merck stock to drop 3 percent, with analysts and investors scrambling to figure out what went wrong.
So what happened?
How did a vaccine that was supposed to be Merck’s beacon for higher profits in the 21st Century go from flagship to flop?
The Science Speaks for Itself
CNN Money calls Gardasil’s crash a “design flaw” and faults the economy, puritanical parents, bad press, and Merck itself for contributing to the fallout.
The article ends with the hypothesis: “Or, maybe people just aren’t ready for a cancer vaccine when it’s for a sexually transmitted disease.”
I think they’re way off the mark.
The real reason Gardasil is a flop is that people have become educated about this vaccine.
They’ve looked at the science and weighed the risks vs. the supposed benefits, and have made a choice not to get it for themselves or their children.