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Abbott Holds Back Cervical Cancer Drug09 November 2006
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) yesterday knocked back an application from Australian manufacturer CSL to have the vaccine Gardasil available free to all females aged 12 to 26.
Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott said today he accepted the expert advice from PBAC, but said he expected the manufacturer to make another submission.
The Health Services Union has called on Mr Abbott to make the treatment availible. 'Making this drug availible would be a massively important step to ensuring the future good health of Australian women' said Craig Thomson HSU National Secretary.
'We need to make sure we are doing all that we can to halt cervical cancer which is a leading killer, the first step is to make Gardasil availible'
Gardasil halts the spread of sexually-transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes 70 per cent of cervical cancers, but it currently costs $460 for the recommended three doses.
PBAC said it made the decision because the vaccine program -which would have cost about $625 million during its first four years - was not value for money.
CSL and scientists involved have disputed the claim.
'You simply cannot say that saving tens of thousands of lives is not value for money' said Mr Thomson.
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