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With HPV Vaccine Price Lowered, Challenge Now Is Strengthening Health Systems For Rollout

“Since their approval, health experts and campaigners, including The Lancet, have called for the vaccines against the human papillomaviruses (HPV) that cause cervical cancer to become available at a much cheaper price,” a Lancet editorial states. High prices “meant the vaccines were prohibitively expensive for low-income countries where most HPV infections and deaths from cervical cancer occur,” the editorial notes, adding, “Now, thanks to negotiations between the GAVI Alliance and the manufacturers, new record low prices have been secured. Merck has agreed to supply its vaccine at $4.50 per dose and GSK at $4.60 per dose. The previous lowest public sector price was $13.” The editorial continues, “Of course, the vaccines could and should be even cheaper,” adding, “However, as GAVI scales up the use of the vaccine, the price is expected to come down further” and “Merck has already agreed to lower the price of its vaccine further if total volumes increase in the future.” The journal states, “The challenge now is to make sure that countries have strong enough health systems for national rollout” (5/18).