Merck, GlaxoSmithKline To Offer HPV Vaccine To Developing Countries At Discounted Price

“Drugmakers Merck and GlaxoSmithKline are working with the [GAVI Alliance] to provide hugely discounted cervical cancer vaccines to millions of girls in poor countries,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (5/9). “The two companies that make [the] [human papillomavirus (HPV)] vaccine … will drop their prices to $4.50 and $4.60 per dose respectively in developing countries for the period 2013-2017,” the Globe and Mail writes, noting “prices will drop further as demand grows” (Picard, 5/9). Noting women need three shots in the immunization series, so the cost will be approximately $13.50 per woman, Guardian health editor Sarah Boseley states in her “Global Health Blog,” “It is a small price to pay for preventing a disease that is a scourge of Africa and Asia — but the bill for immunizing whole populations of schoolgirls will be huge” (5/9). “The same vaccines can cost more than $100 in developed countries and the previous lowest public sector price was $13 per dose, said GAVI,” Xinhua notes (5/9).

“The new record low price for [HPV] vaccines should mean millions of girls in developing countries can be protected against the disease, [GAVI] said on Thursday,” according to Reuters (Kelland, 5/9). “Starting with pilot programs in eight Asian and African nations, the ambitious project ultimately is intended to inoculate more than 30 million girls in more than 40 countries by 2020,” the Associated Press writes (Johnson, 5/9). “The low price will initially apply to a few million doses for demonstration projects in Kenya, Ghana, Laos, Madagascar and elsewhere,” the New York Times notes (McNeil, 5/9). “Until now, there have been very few efforts to get the inoculations that protect against the sexually transmitted [virus] to women in low-income countries where there is little testing or treatment for cervical cancer,” Bloomberg Businessweek writes, adding, “More than 80 percent of deaths from cervical cancer are in developing countries, where it is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women” (Pettypiece, 5/9).

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