Vac­cine for cer­vi­cal can­cer ar­rives on main­land af­ter ap­proval by au­thor­i­ties

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By WANG XIAODONG wangx­i­aodong@ chi­

Ini­tial ship­ments of Cer­varix, the first vac­cine for cer­vi­cal can­cer to be ap­proved for use on the Chi­nese main­land, has passed in­spec­tion by Chi­nese qual­ity au­thor­i­ties and is head­ing to health clin­ics across the coun­try, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany Glax­o­SmithK­line said on Mon­day.

Cer­varix, de­vel­oped by GSK, was ap­proved by the China Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion in July last year. Im­ported from Bel­gium, the first batch of nearly 275,000 doses of vac­cine ar­rived in China, be­gin­ning in Chongqing and Nan­chang, Jiangxi prov­ince, said Su­san Song, a com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager at GSK China.

The vac­cine will meet the needs of a great num­ber of Chi­nese women, the com­pany said in a state­ment.

“Like other vac­cines, Cer­varix can be ad­min­is­tered at com­mu­nity hos­pi­tals and health ser­vice cen­ters,” it said.

There are about 100,000 new cases of cer­vi­cal can­cer in China an­nu­ally, caus­ing more than 30,000 deaths every year, ac­cord­ing to Qiao Youlin, head of the Epi­demi­ol­ogy Depart­ment at the Can­cer Hos­pi­tal, Chi­nese Academy of Med­i­cal Sciences, in Beijing.

“Cer­vi­cal can­cer is the third-most com­mon can­cer among women be­tween 15 and 44,” he said. “Cer­vi­cal can­cer vac­ci­na­tion to­gether with cer­vi­cal can­cer screen­ing will sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the in­ci­dence.”

Thomas Willem­sen, gen­eral man­ager of GSK China Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Vac­cines, said the com­pany is un­der­tak­ing a se­ries of ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing pub­lic dis­ease aware­ness ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing to physi­cians on us­ing the vac­cine to en­able more Chi­nese fe­males to ben­e­fit.

Cer­varix has been reg­is­tered in 132 coun­tries and re­gions, and more than 69 mil­lion doses have been ad­min­is­tered world­wide, ac­cord­ing to GSK.

Zhao Fanghui, a pro­fes­sor spe­cial­iz­ing in the pre­ven­tion and treat­ment of cer­vi­cal can­cer at the Chi­nese Academy of Med­i­cal Sciences, said the vac­cine has been in use for more than 10 years and proved to be re­li­able and ef­fec­tive, es­pe­cially among ado­les­cent girls from 9 to 15 years old.

“Hu­man pa­pil­lo­mavirus, which causes cer­vi­cal can­cer, is trans­mit­ted through sex,” she said. “In many coun­tries, it is most rec­om­mended to women be­tween 9 and 15 years old, as the vac­cine pro­duces the best re­sults on them, but it can also ben­e­fit older women.”

A clin­i­cal trial in China, backed by CFDA and cov­er­ing more than 6,000 fe­males be­tween 18 and 25 from 2008 to 2015, showed the vac­cine gen­er­ally to be more than 90 per­cent ef­fec­tive, she said.

Be­cause of its high cost, the vac­cine may not be in­cluded in China’s na­tional im­mu­niza­tion plan. The three doses re­quired for the vac­ci­na­tion may cost more than 1,700 yuan ($253) in China, Zhao said.

Some Chi­nese com­pa­nies are also re­search­ing vac­cines for cer­vi­cal can­cer, and some are al­ready the sub­ject of clin­i­cal tri­als, she said.

It is ex­pected that do­mes­ti­cally made vac­cines will be avail­able at lower prices in the next few years, and even­tu­ally they may be in­cluded in the na­tional vac­cine pro­gram, Zhao said.

die of cer­vi­cal can­cer in China an­nu­ally.

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