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Gardasil Rival Cervarix More Effective Maker Says

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 10:42 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Gardasil, Human Papillomavirus, Cervical Cancer, Teen Health, Judician Watch, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Cervarix

Cervarix will compete with Gardasil vaccine used in young girls to fight HPV. 

Cervarix Study Funded By Maker



IMAGE SOURCE: WikiMedia Commons/ Teen girls/ Savaman


GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s (GSK) Cervarix is more effective than its rival, Gardasil in fighting the most common cervical cancer-causing viruses, says its maker.

GSK is heralding a study published in today’s issue of The Lancet as it awaits U.S. approval for the drug in girls, women, and down the line in men and boys.

The Lancet study finds Cervarix is effective against five viruses, two most common virus types that cause HPV or human papillomavirus (types 16 and 18), as well as three of the next most common cancer causers ( HPV virus types 31, 33, and 45).

HPV -16/18 cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers. The cross protection could add an additional 11 to 16 percent protection against cervical cancer.

HPVs are a group of more than 100 related viruses, some that cause warts, few of which are high-risk and cause cancer.

It is also the first time any cervical cancer vaccine has shown significant protection against pre-cancerous lesions not containing the two most common virus types, reports Reuters.

The Lancet study, was multi-center and double-blind and involved 18,644 women between the ages of 15 and 25 from 14 countries, reports the Wall Street Journal.

It was funded by GlaxoSmsithKline Biologicals, maker of the Cervarix vaccine.

The drug is already approved in Europe and more than 90 countries.  Researchers behind the Lancet article conclude that the only way to stop the spread of sexually transmitted disease is to also vaccinate boys and men. 

"Women have shouldered responsibility for contraception since its inception. The goal to eradicate sexually transmitted carcinogenic viruses can be jointly carried by women and men and could be accomplished within a few decades," said Karin Michels from the Harvard Medical School in Boston and Harald zur Hausen from the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg.

About one in four teenage girls ages 13 to 17 have reportedly received the Gardasil vaccine, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of last year.  

According to Judicial Watch, a Washington D.C. based nonprofit public interest group, there have been nearly 9,000 adverse health events reported to the government concerning the drug, including a number of  deaths reported since September 2007 and at least 18 deaths total. 

Of those 18, eleven occurred less than one week after receiving the vaccine and seven in less than two days.

The approval could also translate into a revenue generator for GSK.   So far it generated $231 million in sales in 2008. Rival Gardasil, made by Merck & Co. generated more than 4400 million in revenue in 2008, but forecasters say sales are trending downward.   #


Posted by Pierce Egerton
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 12:40 PM EST

Jane has there been any discussion about whether girls and women who received Gardasil should consider revaccination with Cervarix?

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 2:45 PM EST


That is an interesting observation.

It is not yet approved in the U.S., but presuming it is, cautious physicians usually urge people to wait until a new drug has been on the market for five years before judging its safety and efficacy.

In the case of the HPV vaccine, not only has it not been five year, but the adverse events need looking at by anyone considering Gardasil.

Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request to gather reactions by young girls, including a number of deaths.

Some have suggested that Merck needed to make up for losses due to Vioxx and aggressively launched Gardasil, with the heavy-handed campaign and pressured women state legislators to introduce making the vaccine mandatory.

As a mother of a 15-year-old, who is not vaccinated, that makes me question the credibility of the drug company and the drug itself. That's just my opinion.

Have an opinion about this post? Please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 5:02 PM EST


Someone asked why we have young girls in string bikinis. That is how they dress (I know I'm a mom) and Gardasil and Cervarix is promoted to the young teen set.

Anonymous User
Posted by WhiteEagle
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 5:02 PM EST

I am curious about any side effects reported for Cervarix in the Lancet report or from GSKs experience in Europe. In addition, I beleive Gardasil is and has been available in Europe for some time. Do the Europeans track adverse effects as we do and if so, what do their numbers look like compared to the US with regard to adverse effects for Gardasil? This would be interesting information.

Anonymous User
Posted by Tena L.C. Ritter
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 7:38 PM EST

I have 2 girls: 13 & 15 years old. Obviously, I'd like to vacinate them against cancer but I'm not sure Gardasil is the answer. If we wait 5 years for another safer vacine to come out, is that going to be too late?

Anonymous User
Posted by Rick
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 10:46 PM EST

Ms. Akre and Ms. Ritter . . .

The manufacturers don’t even know whether the vaccine itself is carcinogenic.

Take a peak at my email response when Canadian health authorities marketed to my daughters on behalf of Merck.

Strongly researched and linked. May even stand up in court ;-)


Warm regards,
Rick Fontana
Vancouver, Canada

Anonymous User
Posted by Noah
Wednesday, July 08, 2009 10:08 AM EST

It is interesting and I think a healthy debate at the minimum needs to continue. It reminds me of a NEJM article/Editorial about Gardasil.


It brings up a very valid point in my professional opinion. There are side effects that seems to be shadowed by the marketing campaign.

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, July 08, 2009 12:32 PM EST


I've read your letter and thanks for sharing it. It is a must read for any parent considering the vaccination.

I always thought that Canadian health regulators were more vigilant than the U.S. I based that on the actions taken by Shiv Chopra and Margaret Haydon who resisted a major chemical company and its influences, some say bribes, to have Health Canada approve synthetic bovine growth hormone without any further studies.

But I see that Vancouver Coastal Health is saying the HPV vaccine is perfectly safe. Certainly understand that it has not been safe for a number of young girls we have written about here. Search for Gardasil and read about them.

I've asked attorney Kevin Conway of Boston to chime into this discussion. He is now representing many of the families of girls who appear to have permanent injuries.

The vaccine may prove to be a good thing, but until then, just don't be taken in by very convincing marketing.

Comments for this article are closed.

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