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A new study has found that human pampillomavirus vaccination programmes could save up to Â£18.6 million a year by choosing the Cervarix cervical cancer jab over Gardasil.
GlaxoSmithKline’s Cervarix guards against two strains of the HPV virus – 16 and 18 – which cause 70% of cases of cervical cancer. Gardasil, made by Merck & Co and Sanofi Pasteur MSD, protects against strains 16 and 18, but also against strains 6 and 11 which cause lesions and genital warts.
Last month, campaigners accused the UK government of “saving pennies to spend pounds later” by opting for Cervarix over Gardasil in a new programme to vaccinate girls aged 12 and 13 against human papillomavirus (HPV).
However, a new study published in the British Medical Journal outlined the mathematical model used by the government and its independent advisory body, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, to help it make a decision.
The authors estimated that Cervarix must cost Â£13 to Â£21 less per dose to be as cost effective as Gardasil, although they did recognise that Cervarix does not protect against genital warts. The Department of Health said the costs involved in the closed bidding process were “commercially confidential”.
An accompanying editorial in the BMJ predicted the government would save Â£11.5m to Â£18.6m from the cost of Cervarix alone in the first year of the programme.
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