SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2018

New HPV vaccine deals will ensure millions are protected

A record low price for human papillomavirus vaccines will allow millions of girls in developing countries to be protected against deadly cervical cancer, the GAVI Alliance said on Thursday.

GAVI's recent market shaping activities will allow for the poorest countries to access a sustainable supply of HPV vaccines for as low as $4.50 per dose, down from the previous lowest price of $13 per dose. The same vaccines can cost more than $100 in developed countries.

"A vast health gap currently exists between girls in rich and poor countries. With GAVI's programs we can begin to bridge that gap so that all girls can be protected against cervical cancer no matter where they are born," Seth Berkley, the CEO of the GAVI Alliance, said. "By 2020 we hope to reach more than 30 million girls in more than 40 countries. This is a transformational moment for the health of women and girls across the world. We thank the manufacturers for working with us to help make this happen."

HPV vaccines are primarily available in routine immunization programs to girls in relatively wealthy nations. Of the 275,000 women in the world who die of cervical cancer annually, more than 85 percent of deaths occur in low-income countries.

"Developing countries bear an increasing burden of cervical cancer and it is only right that our girls should have the same protection as girls in other countries," Richard Sezibera, the secretary general of the East African Community, said. "In Africa, where facilities to diagnose and treat cervical cancer are few and far between, HPV vaccines will mean the difference between life and death for so many women in the prime of their lives."

As early as this month, GAVI will start supporting HPV vaccination in Kenya, followed by the United Republic of Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Niger, Malawi, Madagascar, Lao PDR and Ghana.

GAVI launched its innovative public-private partnership model at the World Economic Forum in 2000 to meet the challenges of procuring vaccines for the least wealthy developing nations.