Texas Giveth Cancer Funding With One Hand ...

As Governor Rick Perry prepares for a huge investment in one anti-cancer program, another face financial ruin.

… and taketh with the other. Gov. Rick Perry is lining up a reported $29 million for the proposed human papillomavirus vaccination program (no word yet on whether he's going to fund any booster shots). Maybe he'd seen the recent massive TV campaign by drug giant Merck, manufacturers of HPV vaccine Gardasil, that portrayed the vaccination as a syringe full of female empowerment (paranoid minds might suggest that the campaign was less about selling vaccine and more about softening up Texans for Perry's announcement). The governor locked in with Merck's product, even though GlaxoSmithKline is expected to file with the Food and Drug Administration for approval of its rival HPV vaccine, Cervarix, in April. If approved, it would probably be available before year's end.

At the other end of the Capitol complex, the Texas Cancer Council is fighting for its financial life. The council, which tackles cancer awareness in areas with few resources and provides seed money for anti-cancer programs, had its budget slashed by $2 million over the last five years. Now it faces a further 7.6% cut, down to just $6.7 million, for 2008-2009. The council already has a staff vacancy it cannot fill because it can't afford to hire anyone: Now there are fears that it will have to cut back on educational outreach along the borders. "We went down and down and down," TCC Executive Director Sandra Balderrama told representatives this week, "and now the only thing left is programs."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Health & Human Services, Governor's Office, State Government, cancer, legislature, gardasil, cervarix, rick perry

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