By Audrey Quinn
Posting in Cancer
Merck and Co's HPV vaccine Gardasil gets a boost in a new market, thanks to the American Academy of Pediatric's recommendation for the vaccine in boys as young as eleven years old.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a statement recommending Merck & Co's Gardasil vaccine for boys 11 and older, Reuters reports.
The vaccine, originally approved only for use in females in 2006, protects against the types of Human Papilomavirus (HPV) infection responsible for most cervical cancers.
About half the U.S. population will become infected with HPV at some point in their lives. Researchers link the virus to roughly 7,000 cases of cancer in men and 15,000 cases of cancer in women in the U.S. every year.
In clinical studies Merck and Co. has shown that Gardasil protects boys against genital warts and anal cancer, but only partially. The AAP points out that these vaccinations have a wider affect when considering the protection they may offer future female sexual partners.
Some physicians have doubted whether the $360 vaccine makes financial sense for males.
"The greatest benefit [of Gardasil] in terms of health care costs is with decreasing cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. Men don't have a cervix," says Dr. Diane Solomon of the National Cancer Institute. She adds that the benefits of protecting males against genital warts and anal cancer don't bring overall health care costs down enough to justify Gardasil's price.
The AAP recommendation (pdf) could prove a boon for Merck and Co. Gardasil sales started out promisingly, hitting $1.1 million in its first nine months on the market, but in recent years income from the drug has flattened. By marketing the vaccine to males, Merck and Co. potentially doubles its customer base.
Feb 27, 2012
" Researchers link the virus to roughly 7,000 cases of cancer in men and 15,000 cases of cancer in women in the U.S. every year." Firstly, the numbers are not correct. This is from the CDC website: "In 2007 (the most recent year numbers are available)??? -12,280 women in the United States were diagnosed with cervical cancer.*2 -4,021 women in the United States died from cervical cancer" http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/statistics/ " . . . Dr. Diane Solomon of the National Cancer Institute. She adds that the benefits . . . don???t bring overall health care costs down enough to justify Gardasil???s price." Secondly, the real numbers would suggest that .Dr Solomon's statement about the cost out-weighing the benefit for men, would apply to women also. Thirdly, Gardasil does not protect against all types of HPV. " However, since Gardasil, the only approved vaccine, protects against the two types of HPV that are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers and not against types of the virus responsible for the other 30% of cervical cancers, "reduction" rather than "eradication" is a more accurate goal. Given this fact, proposals to make the vaccine mandatory may not reflect the best use of public health funds at this time." "There are over 100 types (strains) of HPV. About 35 types of HPV infect the genitals and reproductive organs. Within these 35, there are high-risk and low-risk types of HPV." Gardasil protects against just two of these HPVs. " However, research on safety and effectiveness conducted to date includes relatively few girls in the younger age category, so current safety data may not be applicable to them." http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/book/companion.asp?id=15&compID=117 Current safety data may not be applicable to boys, as well. Shame on you, American Academy of Pediatrics .
I'm sure most men would pay this without a second thought to protect themselves from these diseases. It's wrong to keep this from children when it's most effective at their age. It's immoral to look at medicine in dollar's and cent's because people are real and money is a figment of our imagination.