High Demand for the Cancer Vaccine

by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on  April 24, 2007 at 2:53 PM Drug News
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High Demand for the Cancer Vaccine
The demand for the new vaccine Gardasil is surpassing the supply for the same. This vaccine for the prevention of cervical cancer offers protection against the four strains of a sexually transmitted infection called human papillomavirus, or HPV.

New Hampshire was the first state to approve the free distribution of the vaccine. They started the distribution in January and expected to vaccinate one quarter of the suitable girls. The advertising has created a great demand for the vaccine. At three doses per patient only a small percentage of the demand can be met. The practitioners have even created a priority waiting list for it. There's a huge demand for it," said Dr. Elizabeth Sanders of Sanders Family Medicine in Concord. "I've got to say that the public is clamoring for it. Many have been encouraging parent s to find out if their insurers would pay for the vaccine rather than waiting for the free vaccine.

The Vaccine was recently approved by the FDA. The states are providing free vaccines to girls till the age of 18 in a three dose series. It prevents cervical cancer as well as 90% of genital warts. The disease is spread through sexual contact. So it is important that the girls from the age of 11 are vaccinated before they become sexually active.

At the Capital Region Family Health Center in Concord, which treats a large percentage of uninsured and underinsured patients has decided to focus on vaccinating 11- and 12-year-old girls, in accordance with CDC guidelines that recommend that all girls be vaccinated at that age.

Though the bill has been introduced in about 20 states many of them have not yet adopted it saying it wears down parent's rights and encourages promiscuity. Many have even raised safety concerns regarding the vaccine.

The state's vaccine program collects federal and state funds with assistance from the state's commercial insurers to buy vaccines in volume. Those discounted vaccines are then distributed to primary care practices and given to all children free.

Many local practices have channeled their supply through one source to ensure that they do not deliver more vaccine than the practice can deliver. As the vaccine has to be administered in three doses in six months it is necessary to budget for the second and third dose too. So many month practices won't vaccinate new patients.

We expected all along there would be an initial demand, but there is a finite amount of resources," said Greg Moore, spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services. "This program is going to take a significant part of our budget over the next four years."

Source: Medindia

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