> Prevention of cancer of the uterus?

The statistics report that there are around 12,800 european women die each year from cancer in the neck of the uterus, the cause of which seems to be the human papilloma virus (HPV) or virus warts human (also known as genital warts or ridges of a rooster) that is transmitted sexually.

There are around 13 different types of this virus that have been linked to the generation of cancer cells. Tumors of this kind are curable to 100% if they are made of screening appropriate for the time. In this regard, in the month of December ‘ created a association of european women that does political pressure for the adoption by the european health-care systems of systems screening HPV (the European Women for HPV Testing, together with the more traditional PAP test.

In Italy, the initiative for the adoption of the test HPV and is sponsored by the Ministry for Equal Opportunities and the presidency of the Council of Ministers and collects the accession of many Italian women ‘famous’, including the presenter Licia Colo’, various actresses and delegated.

In the month of December some of the popular actresses abroad, such as Liz Hurley, Carol Vordeman and Caprice have joined the battle for the adoption of the test. So far so good, even better. We are not sure we talk about the importance of the entire campaign, and we would not even have the expertise.

But there is a ‘but’. A survey of the weekly Observer (the newspaper that comes out at the place of the Guardian on Sunday has revealed that behind the whole operation lies a campaign of illegal orchestrated by a multinational company, Digene operating in Maryland (United States).

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The Digene has recently developed new genetic systems for the screening of HPV, and of course, it would be among the first to benefit from the possible adoption of european health systems to systems of mass screening on HPV.

The value of its shares may gain enormously. According to the british newspaper, in the month of December a personality to anonymous, who had received the letter of the association was suspicious at this point to investigate who hid behind his identity, noting that his address was nothing more than the box of a post office near the European Parliament in Brussels.

The letter was signed by a certain Sara Johnsson, an employee at a public relations agency known as Burson – Marsteller (whose headquarters are nearby at the post office) and also one of the most active in lobbying campaigns in the european parliament.

The executive director of Burson-Marsteller, Jeremy Galbraith, has confirmed that Burson-Marsteller worked on behalf of Digene since 2001, and that the multinational and is one of its most ‘important’. The play has held up, however, for a little while, and the whole affair is over in the newspapers.

The technique of lobbying used by the Digene is not even so new. Always assume that the writer of the Guardian, which in technical jargon, the case of the ‘third party technique’ (in Italian we would call this technique as the third party) and that it is so: the multinational contact a public relations agency.

The agency is responsible to activate and stimulate a campaign for and on behalf of the corporation. The campaign is based on the constitutions of fake pressure groups ‘from below’, and perhaps represented by some famous character. Typically works.

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we Repeat, indeed we emphasize, that the test HPV and is of fundamental importance for the prevention and control of cervical cancer. We do not say we, say most doctors.

The problem remains that to today – with a bad management of the new screening systems and in part monopolistic on the part of some of the biotech companies – the prevention of cancer of the uterus becomes a morsel too appetising to some (cynical to say the least) multinational companies.

A representative of the Digene has defended the work of the society, stressing that ‘we always Do so that our operations are transparent and we say openly what campaigns we fund’. And actually on the website of the association the name of Diogenes appears, although nothing is said about the work of the ‘Digene Corporation’ and the fact that it would be among the first to profit by the dissemination of the test.

While on the other hand – as a result of the article – in the English section of the site it is said that ‘at the moment we are ricontattando our supporters in the United Kingdom, in order to give us confirmation of their support.

Already, because in the meantime the famous actors have withdrawn their support… For more information: A. Barnett, “Revealed: how stars were hijacked to boost health company’s profits”

The Observer, 25.1.2004


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