Cervarix gets CDC nod; Gardasil-for-boys slighted

The HPV vaccine saga continues. Less than a week after we got the FDA nod on GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix shot and a new use in males for Merck's Gardasil, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has weighed in. And though the public-health agency sided with FDA on Cervarix, it wasn't convinced that Gardasil should get routine use in boys and young men.

Here's the scoop: The CDC's advisory panel recommended Cervarix for use in girls and women to prevent cervical cancer. But the committee said it wouldn't recommend routine use of Gardasil to prevent genital warts in boys and young men, the use FDA recently approved. (Cervarix protects against the cancer-causing strains of HPV, while Gardasil also targets two strains that cause genital warts.) Doctors can use it if they want, but aren't urged to do so.

The CDC rulings are significant because insurers often won't pay for vaccines without the agency's recommendation. So Cervarix is good to go on that score, while Gardasil-for-boys isn't. But the CDC panel did recommend that Gardasil-for-boys be included in the government-funded Vaccines for Children program. So Medicaid will pay for that use, and other payers may pick up the tab based on that decision.

- get the Glaxo release
- read the Reuters news
- check out the Wall Street Journal coverage