CDC panel recommends Merck & Co.'s HPV vaccine Gardasil 9 for men through age 26, some older adults

Merck & Co. announced Wednesday that a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee has unanimously voted in favour of expanding routine and catch-up human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination recommendations with Gardasil 9 for males through to age 26 who are not adequately vaccinated, up from 21 currently, making it the same as the existing recommendation for women who have not been adequately vaccinated. The CDC's current recommendation that children start receiving routine HPV vaccination around 11 or 12 years old has not changed.

The panel also voted 10-4 to recommend HPV vaccination with Gardasil 9 based on shared clinical decision making for individuals 27 through 45 years of age who are not adequately vaccinated. 

Richard Haupt, head of vaccines and infectious diseases for global medical affairs at Merck, stated "we applaud the [advisory committee] and the CDC for their continued efforts to address the significant burden of HPV-related cancers by continuously evaluating vaccination recommendations utilising a comprehensive body of scientific evidence." 

Gardasil 9, which covers HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58, was initially approved by the FDA in 2014 for use in females aged nine to 26 and males aged nine to 15. The agency expanded the age range for males to 26 in 2015. Last October, Gardasil 9 was also expanded to include men and women aged 27 through 45 for the prevention of certain cancers and diseases caused by the HPV types covered by the vaccine.

Sales for the Gardasil vaccine franchise climbed 27 percent in the first quarter to $838 million.   

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