Dutch probe GSK, Sanofi over HPV shots

Government officials in the Netherlands are investigating accusations that Sanofi-Aventis and GlaxoSmithKline were providing research funding to members of the country's Health Council, which advises the government on public health issues, at a time when the group was considering whether to have girls vaccinated against the human papillomavirus.

As you know, Sanofi-Aventis markets the HPV vaccine Gardasil in Europe in a joint venture with Merck. Glaxo sells Cervarix, its HPV vaccine, which hasn't yet received U.S. approval.

The Health Council recently recommended that girls should get shots to prevent HPV infection, which can cause cervical cancer and genital warts. But now, the Dutch Socialist Party wants Parliament to debate the issue. Party Chair Agnes Kant says the drugmakers have been too aggressive at marketing their vaccines. And she suggests that they've tried to influence the council's decision-making via funding.

Glaxo told Pharmalot that it's cooperating with the Dutch authorities, and that a lot of misinformation is going around in the Dutch media about the issue. The company is "taking steps to correct the false information." Stay tuned.

- read the post at Pharmalot