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Rick Perry and HPV vaccine-maker have deep financial ties

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Dan Eggen
Washington Post
Sept 14, 2011

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose bid for the White House depends heavily on support from religious conservatives, finds himself confronting an issue that is a flash point for that part of his base: his attempt to order schoolgirls to receive a vaccine that would protect them against a sexually transmitted virus.

The uproar over the Gardasil vaccine — manufactured by ­Merck, a major Perry campaign donor — knocked the candidate off-stride during a Republican debate Monday night.

The vaccine is aimed at shielding girls from human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexual infection that can lead to cervical cancer. Federal health officials say they are confident that the vaccine is safe, noting that more than 35 million doses have been administered in the United States with no pattern of serious side effects.

Perry bristled Monday night at accusations from his chief rival for tea party voters, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), that he had pushed the vaccine in 2007 at the bidding of Merck, which employed a former aide to the governor as a lobbyist.

“It was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them,” Perry said. “I raise about $30 million. And if you’re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I’m offended.”

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This article was posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

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