Gardasil has also proven successful in preventing genital warts in men. The vaccine "targets the two types of HPV, or human papillomavirus, believed to be responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, and two other types that cause most genital warts."
Stobbe also notes that research on Gardasil is continuing, but that to date there is no evidence it prevents "penile cancer or other HPV-associated cancers in men. There also is no evidence it prevents men from spreading HPV to women." Right now, Gardasil as it may be used in the U.S. for males appears to prevent an unwanted but benign condition.
Stobbe's report is informative in the style of news reporting. The reader can get additional details once the main points have been covered at the beginning. Following the V structure for news writing allows for a "stay-tuned" kind of conclusion. Stobbe quotes an HPV expert at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as saying that policy makers, presumably the ones charged with passing judgment on Gardasil's availability to males in the United States, "will be looking at a variety of issues."
In spite of the limitations of news reporting and any subtexts one can glean from the article, Stobbe carefully sketches what has and has not happened yet in Gardasil's use and scrutiny for extended uses.
Among the research subjects for the study, a group was given a fake vaccine; and in ninety percent of the vaccinated subjects, Gardasil prevented genital warts. From this we can determine that the "new study" was of the experimental, empirical design type and blind, or double-blind, standard for drug companies doing clinical trials. In addition, quantitative analysis of factors such as three administrations of the drug to 4,000 participants over six months in twenty countries with examinations at various points to determine effectiveness, and so forth, clearly point to a clinical trial and the classic drug company research design.
Without having the specific procedures of the design, however, or the study itself, it is difficult to tell which statistical methods would have been applied other than standard ones for this kind of study. Randomization of the test population, careful data collection from experimental and control groups, pre- and post-assessment for evidence of the target disease would all need standardization over a specific time with subsequent proper analysis and summary.
The difficulty in identifying which statistical methods increases given the rigor needed to conduct a double-blind study the size of this one. The study's population and the different countries and therefore different languages involved seem daunting. It is likely that the study design and statistical procedures would have had to account for errors and inaccuracies.
However, an international drug company such as Merck might well have been able to carry out such a detailed and comprehensive study. It would seem so, for Stobbe reports that experts have found the reported results