HPV vaccination succeeds in Australia – why not in the USA?

The American government’s goal of vaccinating young girls against the human papillomavirus has been disappointing, with less than a third of teenagers having completed a full course of HPV vaccine. But now the United States can look to Australia, which six years into a successful nationwide HPV vaccination campaign has experienced a sharp decline in the number of new cases of genital warts among young men and women.

The country, one of the first to establish a nationally financed HPV vaccination program for girls and young women, has also seen a decrease in the number of cases of cervical abnormalities, a precursor to cervical cancer.

Australia’s program, which started in 2007, offers free HPV vaccination to girls who are 12 and 13 years old, and catch-up programs for girls and women under 26. The vaccine protects against genital warts as well as cancers of the cervix, head and neck…

The findings suggest that Australia’s program, which has experienced little of the resistance that has stymied vaccination efforts in the United States, has been an overwhelming success, said Basil Donovan, an author of the study and a professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney…

Australia’s vaccination campaign sharply contrasts with the program in the United States where, studies show, parents often opt out of HPV vaccination for their children, calling the vaccine unnecessary, citing concerns about its safety or saying they have difficulty explaining to their teenagers what the shots are for. Some parents have also hesitated over fears that HPV vaccination might give their teenagers license to have sex, even though studies have countered the notion that the vaccine alters sexual behavior.

“There was little resistance to the HPV vaccine in Australia, just the usual anti-vaccination people and a few religious groups,” Dr. Donovan said. “But even the religious groups have gone quiet, and I suspect that many of them are quietly getting their children vaccinated.”

Will anyone ever come up with a vaccine against the ignorance and bigotry that fuels the anti-science crusade in the American Right?

Scientist gets jail time for falsifying drug test results

A scientist who faked research data for experimental anti-cancer drugs has been jailed for three months for falsifying test results…Steven Eaton, from Cambridgeshire, has become the first person in the UK to be jailed under scientific safety laws.

Eaton, 47, was working at the Edinburgh branch of US pharmaceutical firm Aptuit in 2009 when he came up with the scam…If it had been successful, cancer patients who took the drug could have been harmed, the court was told…Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how Eaton had manipulated the results of an experiment so it was deemed successful when it had actually failed.

When bosses at his firm scrutinised his work, they noticed that it was fraudulent.

They stopped work on the project that Eaton was involved in, and reported him to watchdogs at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency…Investigators there discovered that Eaton had been selectively reporting research data since 2003…

The story emerged after Eaton was convicted last month under legislation called the 1999 Good Laboratory Practice Regulations…Sentence had been deferred so that the court could obtain reports about Eaton’s character.

Sheriff Michael O’Grady said: “I feel that my sentencing powers in this are wholly inadequate. You failed to test the drugs properly – you could have caused cancer patients unquestionable harm

Almost bemusing to see the long arm of the law come down on an individual crook in the pharmaceuticals industry. The cardinal rule of commerce in drugs and potions designed to extend life, ease and enable the ill is that nothing supersedes profitability.

Certainly, long term balance sheet considerations played a role in this case – as well as the potential for killing off customers. Providing an opportunity for politicians and bureaucrats to pat themselves on the back is always a hit, as well.

Yes, I’m glad to see a corrupt, phony scientist get jail time for his crime. Mail me a penny postcard when there is comparable effort focused on corporate theft from the body politic.

Arsenal fan dislocates shoulder cursing at Spurs – gets injury payment – sort of!

Despite the fact that it’s usually like siphoning blood from the proverbial stone, an Arsenal fan from Norway has somehow managed to secure a wodge of compensation after injuring himself in the aftermath of Tottenham’s second goal in the North London derby back in early March.

When Aaron Lennon prodded in to send Tottenham 2-0 up over his beloved Gunners, Sverre Litleskare, 30, threw a tantrum while watching the game at home with his Spurs-supporting neighbour and popped a shoulder out of joint in the process…

He told Norwegian media: “I was screaming on the floor, I shouted that I was nauseous, had to vomit and that my shoulder was dislocated. While [my friend] got a bucket, I pulled the shoulder in place.”

Sensing an opportunity to make a bit of easy money from his misfortune, Litelskare then filed an insurance claim under the pretense that he’d sustained a “football-related injury.”

His insurance company unsurprisingly rejected the initial claim, but Litelskare then wrote to them again and protested that his injuries were not his fault — postulating that, as his dislocated shoulder was a result of “emotions”, it was to be deemed “out of his control”.

I know it was a silly complaint but I emphasized the free will aspect,” he told Norwegian media. “I had just read a book that argues against free will, so I decided that I would do it for fun.”

And, Hey Presto! The insurance company paid out.

The footie columnist confirms that the insurance company didn’t actually pay Sverre any “compensation” as such. They awarded him with a “writer’s fee” as they were so impressed by the philosophical protest letter he sent to them.


Thanks, Honeyman

Before Texas plant exploded: What did regulators know? What did regulators do?

Despite being located within a short walk of a nursing home, school and residential buildings, West Fertilizer Co in central Texas had no blast walls and had filed no contingency plan to the Environmental Protection Agency for a major explosion or fire at the site.

It remains unclear what safety measures, if any, were required of the company or whether West Fertilizer failed to comply. But on Wednesday night, the company’s fertilizer complex in West, Texas – population, 2,600 – exploded with such force that 60 to 80 homes were flattened, the school and nursing home took heavy damage and at least 14 people were killed, authorities said.

In a 2011 filing with the EPA, the operators of West Fertilizer told regulators that a typical emergency scenario at the facility that holds anhydrous ammonia could result in a 10-minute release of the substance in gas form. That chemical, used as a fertilizer, is toxic to inhale but is not considered highly flammable or explosive, and the safety plan did not envisage any blast scenario.

In a separate filing earlier this year to the Texas Department of State Health Services, West Fertilizer disclosed that, as of the end of 2012, the company was also storing more volatile chemical compounds at the same address, including 270 tons of ammonium nitrate…

In a filing with the EPA in 2011, West Fertilizer outlined safety measures to deal with an incident involving only the less flammable liquid gas, anhydrous ammonia. The filing, obtained by the left-leaning Center for Effective Government, did not envisage an emergency scenario that would cause a fire or explosion.

West Fertilizer is subject to EPA regulation because the quantity of ammonia it stores on site is more than 10,000 pounds.

In December 2006, it received a 10-year permit from Texas regulators that allowed for the operation of two 12,000-gallon storage tanks for anhydrous ammonia. The permit required West Fertilizer to carry out daily visual, auditory and olfactory inspections. It was not clear whether the firm required, or obtained, additional permits for operations involving more volatile compounds…

Thousands of sites across rural America store potentially explosive materials and blend fertilizer for farmers, similar to West Fertilizer. In EPA reports, about 10,000 facilities say they store anhydrous ammonia.

Keep on rocking in the Free World.

The answer to the headline questions are stuck into “Free World” ideology. Profit-centered politicians whose priorities include neither public safety nor forward-looking regulation of any industry.

Once again, an uninformed public is left with people in charge who are perfectly willing to wait for death and destruction to motivate politics. And only begrudgingly.