Mumbai: MSD Pharmaceuticals on Wednesday (September 29) announced the launch of India’s first gender-neutral Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to help reduce HPV-related disease burden in the country. GARDASIL 9, which is a 9-valent HPV vaccine, will also help reduce cancers caused by the HPV types contained in the vaccine, among girls and women aged 9-26 years and boys aged between 9-15 years.
The pharmaceuticals company said that it is the only US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approved vaccine, first launched in the US in 2015. It has been approved in more than 80 countries across the globe, which helps protect against 9 types of HPV. They said that GARDASIL 9 helps reduce the disease burden of cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer and anal cancer among females and continues to play a crucial role in the global elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem.
It further stated that the vaccine is also recommended to be given to boys for the prevention of genital warts, anal intraepithelial neoplasia, anal cancer and precancerous or dysplastic lesions.
Managing Director of MSD-India region Rehan A Khan in an official statement said, “Launching GARDASIL 9 is a crucial step towards advancing the mission of building a healthy young India by reducing the disease burden of HPV-related cancers and disease in the country.”
He further noted that raising awareness among parents of young boys and girls is critical in addressing the HPV disease burden in India. “HPV does not discriminate between males and females. Vaccinating both boys and girls is a common practice, and today nearly 25 countries recommend
‘Gender Neutral Vaccine’ programs for protecting both genders against infectious diseases. HPV-Gender Neutral Vaccinations facilitates a more rapid reduction in HPV prevalence as well as a greater resilience towards temporary drops in vaccination coverage,” Dr Vijay Yewale from Dr Yewale Multispecialty Hospital for Children and former President of Indian Academy of Paediatrics said.
Highlighting the efficacy of the vaccine, Dr Hema Divakar, former President of Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India stated, “Nine HPV serotypes contribute to the majority of HPV Global Disease Burden, and some are even more prominent in India.” GARDASIL 9 is a nano valent vaccine given as an intramuscular injection, in a total of three doses spread over six months.
MSD Pharmaceuticals is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck Sharp & Dohme (known as Merck & Co., Inc. in the United States and Canada).