Reports on Gardasil study offer varying interprations

Merck’s HPV vaccine, Gardasil, has received significant press in recent days, following a cost-effectiveness study published in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Depending on where Americans get their news, they received different summaries and interpretations of the study. No wonder consumers are confused. Here are four examples:

NY Times Headline: Researchers Question Wide Use of HPV Vaccines

Lede: Two
vaccines against cervical cancer are being widely used without
sufficient evidence about whether they are worth their high cost or
even whether they will effectively stop women from getting the disease,
two articles in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine conclude.

USA Today Headline: Study: HPV vaccine by age 21 a sound public health investment

Lede: A new economic analysis shows that the HPV vaccine, which protects
against the viruses that cause most cervical cancers and genital warts,
could be a good financial investment in public health if given to those
who have the most to gain: preadolescent girls and women up to age 21.

AP Headline: Cervical cancer shots less cost-effective with age

Lede: An expensive vaccine aimed at preventing cervical cancer makes sense
for young teens when it comes to cost-effectiveness, but not for women
in their 20s, contends a new report.

WSJ Headline: Study Questions Cost-Effectiveness Of Gardasil Cervical-Cancer Vaccine

Lede: A
new study suggests that giving Merck & Co.’s cervical-cancer
vaccine Gardasil to women through their mid-20s may not be worth the
price, despite U.S. recommendations that this age group receive the
costly shot.