Another HPV vaccine on the way

GlaxoSmithKline has filed for FDA approval of its HPV vaccine, Cervarix. It would compete with Merck’s Gardasil, which has been on the market since June.

GlaxoSmithKline counters that Cervarix is more powerful and may prevent up to 80 percent of cancers, thanks to the company’s proprietary adjuvant, AS04, a key booster ingredient. It also is funding an unusual head-to-head comparison to try to prove Cervarix is more potent than Gardasil.

GSK has not announced how expensive Cervarix will be, but Gardasil costs $360 for the three-shot regimen. I had high hopes that the competition would bring the price down, but sadly it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen:

Jean Stéphenne, president of GSK Biologicals, the company’s Belgium-based vaccine division, said in an interview last month that GlaxoSmithKline aims to win over physicians and others by proving Cervarix is better, not by selling it for less.
“If you start a price war, you give the impression that your product is of lower quality,” Stéphenne said during a trip to Philadelphia.

…and Big Pharma doesn’t get as rich.
FDA approval is expected sometime between October and January.

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