GlaxoSmithKline has launched its cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix® in the UK.
The firm claims the vaccine offers protection against the two strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause most cervical cancers.
It is available on private prescription only, and costs £240 for three injections.
The vaccine has not yet been approved by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence for use on the NHS.
Cervarix is also on sale in Sweden and Germany, and won approval for use in Australia back in May.
The UK Government announced in June this year that girls as young as 12 could be vaccinated against cervical cancer from autumn 2008. A review is now taking place on the cost implications for the NHS.
Cervarix is one of two jabs designed to tackle HPV. The other, Gardasil®, went on sale in the UK last year, but like Cervarix is not yet approved for use on the NHS.
Stuart Danskin, a senior nurse at the cancer charity Cancerbackup, said: “We welcome this decision on a vaccine to prevent the HPV virus, which is a significant risk factor for developing cervical cancer.
“Vaccinating against the virus may mean that the majority of cervical cancers could be prevented in the future and we look forward to a national vaccination programme being introduced.”
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