Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Do Lord Drayson's assertions on HPV vaccine coverage stack up?

A few weeks ago I attended a debate between Lord Drayson and the Guardian "Bad Science" columnist Ben Goldacre called "Science reporting: Is it good for you?".

It was well attended and as I blogged at the time, even though I disagreed with Lord Drayson's argument (that the UK press is basically good and certainly much better than it used to be when reporting science) I thought he made a good fist of his argument.

On 30th September I was getting so sick of some of the misleading coverage about the HPV vaccine (for example here) where the press was doing its usual thing of hyping up unproven fears and Lord Drayson was still tweeting that the press were doing a good job that I tweeted him this:

@LordDrayson Have you actually seen the scaremongering the Mail and the Express have been at? e.g.

His response was this:

@MarkReckons #SciDebate Much better coverage on HPV vaccine than on MMR. Scientists & sci/med reporters doing a gr8 job in difficult circs

I really did start to wonder what planet Lord Drayson was on at this point given the coverage I was seeing.

This is now further compounded by some research that Ben Goldacre has done published today which shows that last week's Sunday Express cover story headlined "'JAB' AS DEADLY AS THE CANCER" which quoted a Dr Diane Harper was full of false assertions about her claims. It is worth reading Ben's article in full.

I wonder what Lord Drayson thinks about this.

UPDATE: As Mark Pack points out on his blogpost about this subject today, the best place to get reliable information about the HPV vaccine is the official NHS page on the subject here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don’t miss the book “The HPV Vaccine Controversy: Sex, Cancer, God and Politics” authored by Shobha S. Krishnan, M.D, Barnard college, Columbia University. It is written without the influence of any pharmaceutical companies or special interest groups. The book educates both professionals and the public about HPV infections, the diseases they cause and the role/ controversies surrounding the new vaccines. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, June 17th 2009) calls the book superb and a terrific contribution to the field. It is available at, Barnes and Noble .com and through international distributors. Link to the book: