Gardasil refused subsidy


gardasilAUSTRALIA - A world-first vaccine that prevents 70 per cent of cervical cancers has been knocked back from the national immunisation program, Labor said today.

The government's pharmaceutical advisory body today rejected an application from Australian manufacturer CSL to have the vaccine Gardasil available free to all females aged 12 to 26.

Australian-designed Gardasil halts the spread of sexually-transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes 70 per cent of cervical cancer.

About 700 Australian women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and 270 die, according to the NSW Cancer Council.

The vaccine has been on the market for two months but costs $460 for patients to take the recommended three doses.

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) considered whether to subsidise the drug at its regular meeting in Canberra last week.

Professor Ian Frazer, who was named Australian of the Year 2006 for designing the vaccine, and CSL were told today it had been knocked back due to its high price.