At What Price? Gardasil Research Targets Girls from Vulnerable Communities

N. B. Sarojini & Anjali Shenoi | Different Takes | No 65 Summer 2010

During July and August 2009, the Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat governments, in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) launched what they described as a ‘demonstration project’ for vaccination against cervical cancer. Vaccines against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) were administered to 13,791 girls in Khammam district in Andhra Pradesh, and to 9,637 girls in Vadodara district in Gujarat. The girls were between the ages of 10 and 14.

In Andhra Pradesh, the vaccine administered was Gardasil, manufactured by Merck Sharpe & Dohme (India) Pharmaceuticals Private Limited (MSD), the Indian subsidiary of US-based pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Inc.

In Gujarat, Cervarix, manufactured by Glaxo SmithKline Biologicals (GSK) of Rixensart, Belgium, was administered. Both vaccines were approved for marketing in India in 2008.

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