Before now, the only cervical cancer vaccine available was Gardasil, made by Merck & Co (this is still the only one available in the US, seeing as Cervarix has yet to be approved). The three-shot vaccine usually costs about $360, an expensive price to pay for many living in the West, and virtually impossible for women living in poor countries.
Last year, the global health association GAVI prioritized the purchase of HPV vaccines for the world's 73 poorest nations. An estimated 280,000 women die from cervical cancer each year, and 80% of the deaths are in developing countries. GAVI, formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, is a major buyer of vaccines. The WHO has approved Cervarix for use in the developing world, but it is still unclear how the distribution will be financed.
"We're eager to work with our long-term partner GAVI as well as other private NGOs or governments of developing countries to identify financing mechanisms for the vaccine," said a spokesperson for GloxoSmithKline. "That is why we're exploring a variety of distribution partnerships to ensure Cervarix will protect women and girls around the globe."
"Cervarix can save millions of women's lives throughout the world, but only if it reaches those who need it most," said Jean Stephenne, President of GSK Biologicals.
GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix Gets WHO OK For Poor Countries [Wall Street Journal]
WHO Approves Cervical Cancer Vaccine Cervarix [AP]