MSD’s Human Papillomavirus Vaccine available in Developing Countries in Africa through UNICEF Tender

MSD, known as Merck in the United States and Canada, announced today that the company has been awarded a significant portion of the UNICEF human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine tender, and will provide sustained supply of GARDASIL® [Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16, and 18) Vaccine, Recombinant] to GAVI-eligible countries.  This agreement follows the GAVI Alliance’s earlier announcement that HPV vaccines would be included in its portfolio for the first time. GAVI is expected to support the introduction of HPV vaccination in 28 countries by the end of 2017.

Through this initial tender award, MSD expects to supply approximately 2.4 million doses of GARDASIL to GAVI-eligible countries between 2013 to 2017 to help meet vaccine demand for countries already approved or recommended for approval by GAVI for HPV vaccine demonstration projects and national introductions.  Additional awards by UNICEF are anticipated as vaccine demand increases.

“It is essential that every young girl around the world has access to HPV vaccines.  Today’s decision by UNICEF is an important step forward,” said Henrik Secher, managing director, MSD Africa.  “This partnership highlights MSD’s commitment to working closely with GAVI to ensure broad and sustained access to GARDASIL in the world’s poorest countries, where the burden of HPV diseases, such as cervical cancer, is greatest.”

Following a 2009 report, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that routine HPV vaccination be included in national immunization programs to help prevent cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases.  It is estimated that approximately 500,000 women develop cervical cancer annually around the world, with about 85 percent of cases occurring in developing countries.  Cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer among women worldwide.  High-risk HPV types 16 and 18 cause about 75 percent of cervical cancers, 70 percent of vaginal cancers, 40 to 50 percent of vulvar cancers and 80 percent of anal cancers.

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