Monday, November 05, 2007

Gardasil's efficacy proven for older women

Many women have asked me whether or not the Gardasil vaccine against several strains of human papilloma virus known to cause cervical cancer or genital warts would be appropriate for them. Thus far, the vaccine is approved only for use in women up to age 26 as this is the population that was represented in the study used to obtain the FDA official thumbs-up.

There is no particular reason why the vaccine would not protect older women who have not yet been exposed to these virulent strains of HPV against new infections, and now Merck has provided the data to support its use in this population. Per Merck's Dr. Eliav Barr: "The vaccine performed as we expected. It was highly effective."

Merck will seek approval from the FDA to market the vaccine to older women, and insurance willingness to pay (and this is one pricey vaccine!) may follow.

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