The controversy centers around AB 499, which comes up for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee this Tuesday. The bill would allow children as young as 12 to consent to preventive care for sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) without their parents knowing about it.
The bill would allow pharmaceutical giants Merck and GlaxoSmithKline to push their controversial vaccines for human papillomavirus (HPV) directly to teens. While many parents have concerns about the vaccines, AB 499 allows the drug companies to bypass parents, convince kids they need it, and then get reimbursed by the federal government through a taxpayer-funded program called Vaccines for Children (VFC).
Merck and GlaxoSmithKline have sought to ensure uncritical passage of the bill by making campaign donations to a number of legislators, including three members of the Judiciary Committee that is scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday. Committee chair Noreen Evans, Vice-Chair Tom Harman, and member Ellen Corbett have received a total of $7,000 in the last two years from the two makers of the HPV vaccine. PJI is, therefore, calling on these three Senators to vote against or abstain from voting to financially benefit their contributors.
Kevin Snider, Chief Counsel of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, "AB 499 makes kids, who are among the most vulnerable people in the community, an easy prey for drug companies who are primarily interested in making more money. We are calling on Senators Evans, Harman and Corbett to show that they are not tainted by drug company money and can still put the interests of parents and children ahead of their special-interest contributors."