Patents no barrier to producing cheaper HPV vaccine

By Wai Lang Chu, 12-Jul-2010

A new study believes vaccine manufacturers from developing countries may be able to produce a HPV vaccine at a lower cost without infringing on the numerous patents drug makers have taken out on the vaccine technology.

The researcher’s findings have particular relevance with India as it shoulders almost 25 per cent of the global cervical cancer burden and is a main supplier of childhood vaccines to agencies like the World Health Organization. Its growing middle class is also a potentially large market for the sale of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.

Currently, blockbuster HPV vaccines, such as Gardasil [HPV quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16, and 18) vaccine, recombinant] from Merck & Co and Cervarix [HPV bivalent (types 16 and 18) vaccine, recombinant] from GlaxoSmithKline command at least $300 (€238) for a three-dose regimen.

Gardasil’s private market price can exceed $500 in several developed and developing countries, which few can afford in most low- and middle-income countries.

Researchers at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy began by gathering and analysing all HPV vaccine-related patents that had been granted in the US and internationally.

Patents in India

The researchers specifically focused on India, who in 1995 signed on to World Trade Organization agreements that tightened efforts in granting intellectual property rights worldwide. Researchers identified 19 of 86 international patent applications filed in India by the end of 2008.

The resultant data suggested that vaccines identical in formulation or HPV strain coverage to those on the market were not covered by patent claims granted in India.

Researchers speculated that the production of follow-on biologic drugs could be viable, which could provide protection against the two HPV strains responsible for almost 70 per cent of all HPV-induced cancer.

Whilst access to the HPV vaccine would become easier as a result of this, Subhashini Chandrasekharan, a researcher within the IGSP’s Centre for Genome Ethics, Law and Policy stated that circumstance is unlikely to hold for future vaccines, including second-generation HPV vaccines.

“Some of the enabling technologies were patented in the 1990s before companies had begun seeking patents in vaccine-making countries like India,” she said. “The fact that a number of HPV vaccine patents have been filed in India as well as other developing countries suggests a new trend.”


I posted a comment about this yesterday stating that the damn HPV vaccines are mutating like a virus….harder to track adverse reactions and deaths. Pharma knows exactly what they are doing. Bastards.


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.