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Quadrivalent HPV vaccine ‘more cost-effective’

The quadrivalent cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil, is more cost-effective than its bivalent equivalent if the two vaccines were equally priced, concludes a study published today.

Using a mathematical model of the latest evidence, Dr Mark Jit and colleagues at the Health Protection Agency found the HPV vaccine used for the UK Government programme, Ceravix, would have to be £19 to £35 cheaper per dose to be as cost-effective as Gardasil, mainly due to a lack of protection against genital warts.

According to the latest edition of the British National Forumlary, the net price of one dose of Cervarix is £80.50, and a dose of Gardasil costs £86.50.

The researchers found the price differential between the two vaccines was larger than their 2008 analysis. Cervarix gives protection from HPV types other than 16 and 18. Gardasil has also shown protection against vulvar, vaginal and anal cancer.

A Health Protection Agency spokesperson said: ‘The study used mathematical modelling to assess the value for money of the two vaccines.’

‘New data were used in this analysis to more accurately explore the potential impact of HPV vaccination, for example, about cross-protection against more HPV types than are included in the vaccines, about prevention of cancers other than cervical cancer, and about the impact of genital warts on health.’

The authors of the study in the British Medical Journal stress that although cost-effectiveness has been evaluated, considerable uncertainty remains about the differential benefit of the two vaccines.