shutterstock_72141613Pharmaceutical companies Merck and GlaxoSmithKline will provide cervical cancer vaccines for as little $4.50 a dose in poor countries to fight high rates of deaths from cervical cancer.

The drugs Gardasil and Cervarix, made by Merck and GlaxoSmithKline respectively, prevent human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a leading cause of cervical cancer. In developed nations deaths caused by cervical cancer are uncommon, but cervical cancer is the most fatal form of cancer in women in poorer nations. On average 275,000 women die from cervical cancer a year and 85% are from poor nations.

Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) will be purchasing and distributing the vaccines. The executive director said in a statement, “By 2020 we hope to reach more than 30 million girls in more than 40 countries.” GAVI board member and former Health Minister of Rwanda told reporters, “Developing countries bear an increasing burden of cervical cancer and it is only right that our girls should have the same protection as girls in other countries.”

Media Resources: Businessweek 5/9/2013; New York Times 5/9/2013; Reuters 5/9/2013

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