New Delhi: Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD), a wholly owned subsidiary of pharma major Merck and Co. Inc.launched a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, the most common form of the condition in India with more than 130,000 women diagnosed with it every year. The vaccine is the first of its kind and has been approved by the US Food and Drugs Authority.
The vaccine Gardasil was launched in 2006 and is available in 108 countries. Regulatory approvals and immunogenity studies delayed its launched in India. Currently, trials are being done by the Indian Council of Medical Research and “could take up to three years, but once they are done, the vaccine will be made available by the government as well,” said Naveen A. Rao, managing director, MSD India.
Gardasil is priced at Rs 2,800 a shot with three doses prescribed for efficacy. According to a World Health Organization study, the risk of the cancer in India is 2.4% compared with an average of 1.3% for the world.