Gardasil bests Cervarix in cost effectiveness battle

According to a study published on the British Medical Journal's website, Merck's ($MRK) and Sanofi's ($SNY) HPV vaccine Gardasil is more cost effective than GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) Cervarix. In the U.K., doses of the vaccines are listed as £80.50 for Cervarix and £88.50 for Gardasil, respectively.

Due to the discrepancy in coverage--Cervarix protects against two strains of HPV compared to Gardasil's four--U.K.'s Health Protection Agency says the former would have to be £19 ($29.70) to £35 cheaper to be as cost effective as the quadrivalent vaccine. But the study's authors caution that cost shouldn't be the only factor in determining which vaccine to use. Research has shown Cervarix may prevent more deaths than Gardasil.

"Clinical and public health decisions about choice of HPV vaccine need to take into account the whole spectrum of differences between vaccines and the uncertainty around them," the authors wrote, according to Bloomberg.

The U.K. government previously selected Cervarix for its vaccine program, but the contract will end this year.

"This study confirms that the national HPV immunization program, using either of the available HPV vaccines, is highly likely to offer valuable protection against cervical cancer," a Health Protection Agency spokeswoman told BBC. "This is additional to the considerable benefits provided to women by the National Cervical Screening Program...The Department of Health will use the results of this study as part of its decision-making process when reviewing its current vaccine choice."

Gardasil protects against HPV types 6 and 11 in addition to 16 and 18, which are targeted by both vaccines; 6 and 11 cause genital warts.

- read the piece from Bloomberg
- check out the BBC report
- here's more from HealthDay News
- and see the full text of the study