The Department of Health has announced that it has agreed, in principle to accept Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) advice that Human Papilloma Virus vaccines should be introduced routinely for girls aged around 12-13 years, subject to independent peer review of the cost benefit analysis.
The JCVI has issued advice that the vaccine is clinically beneficial. It has now commissioned an analysis of cost-effectiveness and will make a formal announcement based upon this in October 2007. Depending on the outcome of this analysis it is expected that vaccinations could start in Autumn 2008 as part of the routine vaccination programme.
Currently, there is one HPV vaccine on the market (Gardasil®) although there is another product in the process of being licensed (Ceravix®).
Until this vaccine is adopted into the national programme any prescriptions issued will be charged at a local level. A complete course of three doses administered at 0, 2 and 6 months currently costs the NHS approximately £250 per patient. It would seem prudent to wait for a complete national programme unless there are clear clinical benefits to prescribing the vaccine now.
Action: Announcements such as this are likely to increase demand for this vaccination. Until the national programme is fully implemented, the decision to prescribe should include consideration of clinical benefit to the patient and assessment of the overall cost incurred at local level.
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