GAVI Alliance could be closer to HPV vax deal

Deal could cut millions of cervical cancer deaths
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In November, the GAVI Alliance, a public-private partnership focused on saving lives and protecting health by increasing access to immunization, announced that it would look to introduce human papillomavirus (HPV) and rubella vaccines in developing countries. This seems to have come a step closer to reality, as, according to Reuters, GAVI is nearing a price deal with vaccine rivals GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Merck ($MRK) for Gardasil and Cervarix. This could cut the more than 200,000 deaths from cervical cancer that occur every year in the developing world.

A spokesperson for GAVI told Reuters that "at least one" of these pharmaceutical companies had made "encouraging progress towards an acceptable price" for GAVI-eligible countries, but hasn't identified the company.

GSK was one of the first manufacturers to sign up to the alliance, agreeing to supply up to 300 million doses of its vaccine Synflorix for invasive pneumococcal disease. A GSK spokesperson has confirmed to Reuters that the company is in negotiation with GAVI over cervical cancer vaccine provision, adding that "GSK is committed to offering the lowest prices for its vaccines to the poorest countries."

"The HPV vaccine is critical to women and girls in poorer countries because they usually do not have access to screening to prevent cervical cancer and treatment taken for granted in richer nations. Today, we have taken deliberate first steps to correct this inequity," said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI.

If negotiations are successful and the vaccine can be delivered successfully to people in the developing countries, up to 2 million women and girls in 9 countries could be protected from cervical cancer by 2015.

- read the article in Reuters

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