Drugmaker Merck has asked the FDA to approve the Gardasil vaccine’s use for boys ages 9 to 26. For those who don’t know, Gardasil is a vaccine that protects against HPV and cervical cancer.
Gardasil first hit the market in 2006 and was initially recommended for girls and young women, ages 12-26. Due to aggressive marketing, Gardasil quickly became one of Merck’s top-selling vaccines, with sales of $1.5 billion in 2007 (which were perhaps aided by the high cost- $360 for a three-dose regimen). Despite becoming a requirement for immigrant women, sales slowed in 2008 after a government-funded Harvard study found that it was not cost-effective to administer Gardasil to women in their 20s.