CDC group backs Gardasil for boys

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the CDC has recommended that boys 11 and older receive Merck's ($MRK) HPV shot Gardasil. Wide use of the vaccine will further protect girls from certain types of cancer and has been shown to prevent genital warts along with throat and anal cancers in men. The vaccine has been recommended for teenage girls since 2006; however, only about a third of women between the ages of 13 and 17 have received all three doses.

Drugmakers have faced resistance convincing the public that girls should be vaccinated. Some parents fear the shot is unsafe, while others have moral objections to obtaining the vaccine for their children. Price has been a deterrent as well; Gardasil costs $100 for each dose, and three doses are needed for full protection. Still, a CDC recommendation for routine Gardasil use in boys opens up a new market for Merck, since most private insurers won't pay for a vaccine without panel endorsement.

HPV is the most common STD, affecting up to 80% of all people at some point in their lives, notes The New York Times. Although most people's immune systems clear the virus without complications, 15,000 women and 7,000 men each year will develop cancer as a result of an HPV infection.

- read the NYT piece
- get more from The Wall Street Journal

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