U.K. inks HPV vaccine deal with Glaxo

Chalk up a vaccine win for GlaxoSmithKline. U.K. health officials have tapped GSK’s Cervarix as their official HPV preventative, passing over Gardasil, a longer-on-the-market shot marketed by Sanofi Pasteur and developed by Merck. Cervarix will be given to girls 12 and 13 years of age beginning in September.

But while GSK might be celebrating, some patient advocates aren’t. They’d been lobbying for Gardasil, which guards against two other strains of the cancer-causing human papilloma virus and also protects girls from genital warts. “Genital warts is the second most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.K. after Chlamydia,” said the Family Planning Association. “Selecting the Gardasil vaccine would've been a huge preventative measure in terms of health and financial costs to the NHS.”

But the government defended its choice, saying that it awarded the contract based on Cervarix’s score “against a number of pre-agreed criteria.” The GSK product, moreover, "offers best overall value to the NHS," officials said.

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