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    MSD India launches 9-valent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine, GARDASIL 9, for a healthier young India

    Published on September 29, 2021

    India’s first Gender Neutral Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine to help reduce HPV -related disease burden in Indian girls, women and boys

    Mumbai : In its endeavor to contribute to a healthy youth population in India, MSD Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck Sharp & Dohme (known as Merck & Co., Inc. in the United States and Canada), today, announced the launch of India’s first gender-neutral HPV vaccine- GARDASIL® 9. The 9-valent Human Papillomavirus (Types 6, 11, 16,18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 ) Vaccine, will help reduce the diseases burden and cancers caused by the HPV types contained in the vaccine, among Indian girls and women (9-26 years) and Indian boys (9‐15 years).

    According to ‘World Population Prospects: The 2015 revision’ Population Database of United Nations Population Division, India has the world’s highest number of 10 to 24-year-olds, which stands at almost 229 million. India continues to be home to almost 20% of world’s total population and is expected to have one of the youngest populations in the world till 2030. Health and disease prevention remain a priority for this segment. HPV vaccinations can play a crucial role in reducing the alarming incidence of HPV related cancer burden in India (both males and females) that is reported at close to 1.7 lakh cases annuallyi. Current estimates indicate that every year 96922 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 60078 lose their battle to the disease. Cervical cancer ranks as the 2nd most frequent cancer among women in India and the 2nd most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age.

    9 HPV Serotypes contribute to majority of HPV Global Disease Burden, and some are even more prominent in India. For instance, 98.3% of cervical cancer cases; 95% of Vulvar Cancer Cases; 77% of Vaginal Cancer Cases and 70% of Anal Cancer Cases in India, can be attributed to the 7 HPV serotypesii. GARDASIL® 9-valent Human Papillomavirus vaccine is the only USFDA approved vaccine, first launched in US in 2015 and already approved in more than 80 countries across the globe, that helps protect against 9 types (Types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58) of HPV. The vaccine helps reduce the disease burden of cervical cancer; vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer and anal cancer among females and continues to play a crucial role in the global elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem. HPV-related cancers and diseases can also affect males, and GARDASIL® 9-valent Human Papillomavirus vaccine is also recommended to be given to boys (aged 9-15 years) for prevention of genital warts, anal intraepithelial neoplasia; anal cancer and precancerous or dysplastic lesions.

    Reaffirming the crucial need of raising awareness on HPV vaccinations as part of preventive health care for both young boys, girls and women in our country, Rehan A. Khan, Managing Director, MSD- India Region, said, “Launching GARDASIL® 9 is a crucial step towards advancing the mission of building a healthy young India by reducing the disease burden of HPV-related cancers and disease in the country. With HPV affecting both genders, GARDASIL® 9 demonstrates our commitment towards bringing a gender- neutral HPV vaccine to our country that addresses certain HPV related diseases, among Indian girls, women and boys, and continue to promote preventive healthcare in India. We also believe that raising awareness among parents of young boys and girls is critical in addressing the HPV disease burden in India, as we embark on a journey towards reaching the highest attainable standard of health & wellbeing in a progressive, healthy and young India.”

    Dr Vijay Yewale from Dr Yewale Multispecialty Hospital for Children & former President, Indian Academy of Paediatrics added, “HPV does not discriminate between males and females. Vaccinating both boys and girls is a common practice, and today nearly 25 countries recommend Gender Neutral Vaccine programs for protecting both genders against infectious diseases. HPV-Gender Neutral Vaccinations facilitates a more rapid reduction in HPV prevalence as well as a greater resilience towards temporary drops in vaccination coverage. The immense value of a gender-neutral HPV vaccine reflects the ‘shared responsibility’ of reducing HPV related cancer and disease burden and is a progressive step towards building a healthy population of young girls and boys in our country,” he added.

    Highlighting the efficacy of the newly launched GARDASIL® 9 in fighting HPV, Dr Hema Divakar – Past President, Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India stated, “9 HPV serotypes contribute to majority of HPV Global Disease Burden, and some are even more prominent in India. 7 HPV serotypes contribute to 98.3% of Cervical Cancer In India, 95% of Vulvar Cancer, 77% of Vaginal Cancer Cases and 70% of Anal Cancer Cases in India. We resolve , yet again, that , with the availability of the 9- valent HPV Vaccine , we will leverage this opportunity for action in India, as it is highly efficacious with a – 96.7% (95% CI: 80.9, 99.8) efficacy in the per-protocol efficacy population-against HPV Serotypes 3 1, 33,45, 52, 58.”