Gardasil Vaccine Breaking Budgets

"Merck & Co.'s [HPV] vaccine retails at about $360 for the 3-shot series. To put that in perspective, vaccinations for pneumonia cost $73 dollars. Polio runs at about $22. And to immunize children against three diseases - measles, mumps and rubella - the price is $124 dollars. And as for prevalence - most women may get HPV in their lifetime, as Wendelboe said.But a CDC study shows the cancer-causing strains that the vaccine protects against occur in less than 3% of women - far from the majority. And most strains go away on their own..........Currently, New Hampshire's budget for all childhood immunizations is $17.5 million. Most of that money comes from insurance companies and the Medicaid program. The HPV vaccine -so far- takes up almost $5 million, or 28% of that pie. And that $5 million will inoculate only 25% of all eligible girls." - Diane Finch, New Hampshire Public Radio

Barbara Loe Fisher Commentary:

When ideology and politics dominate vaccine policymaking rather than evidence based science, it is not only dangerous but it is very expensive.

In a March investigation of HPV vaccine costs for parents taking their young girls into private pediatricians offices in the Washington, D.C. area, NVIC found that parents could be charged anywhere from $525 to $930 for three GARDASIL shots depending upon whether the child was a first-time or current patient. Costs for the vaccine plus an administration fee ranged from $140 to $275 per shot with an additional office visit charge that fluctuated between $35 and $185, depending upon whether a nurse or doctor saw the child. Private insurance companies will have to raise insurance premiums for all their clients to reimburse for the high costs of GARDASIL.

Vaccine costs are not only borne by Americans at the state level, where state taxes are used to fund mandatory vaccination programs, but also at the federal level, where federal taxes are used to fund massive vaccination programs, such as Vaccines for Children (VFC), to provide vaccines to children at little or no cost to families who cannot afford to pay a private doctor. Every time the CDC recommends a new vaccine for universal use in all children, the health care costs associated with that recommendation can be counted in the tens of millions and billions of dollars over time.

The cost/benefit analysis for HPV vaccine does not hold up under scrutiny. As tragic as each individual death from cervical cancer is, there are many less expensive, more effective and safer ways to bring cervical cancer cases and deaths down, starting with making sure all sexually active girls and women are educated about HPV and undergo annual pap screening. Throwing a vaccine at a health problem is not the only answer.

1 comment:

chrishna said...

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