CDC advisory panel recommends GlaxoSmithKline's shingles vaccine Shingrix over Merck & Co.'s Zostavax

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) advisory committee on immunization practices on Wednesday voted 8-7 to recommend usage of GlaxoSmithKline's shingles vaccine Shingrix for the prevention of herpes zoster over Merck & Co.'s Zostavax. The vote came after the FDA approved Shingrix earlier this month. Chief medical officer of GlaxoSmithKline vaccines unit Thomas Breuer remarked "today’s vote is an important step forward for the prevention of shingles, as the expanded recommendation will bring access to a vaccine with efficacy of greater than 90 percent." 

The CDC committee additionally backed the use of Shingrix to prevent shingles and related complications in immunocompetent adults of at least 50 years old, as well as for preventing the disease and complications for immunocompetent adults who were previously vaccinated with Zostavax. 

Analysts have forecast sales of the vaccine to reach about 1 billion pounds ($1.37 billion) by 2023, although GlaxoSmithKline has cautioned that it may take time to grow prescription coverage. Shingrix is administered in two doses at a cost of $280, while Zostavax is administered in a single dose, at a price of $232.

Shingrix has also been authorised by regulators in Canada, while the vaccine remains under review in Europe. 

Separately on Wednesday, GlaxoSmithKline announced third-quarter results, reporting that sales of prescription drugs increased 3 percent year-over-year to 4.2 billion pounds ($5.6 billion), while revenue from vaccines climbed 5 percent to 1.7 billion pounds ($2.3 billion).

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