Mumbai: MSD Pharmaceuticals, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck Sharp & Dohme, launched India's first gender-neutral HPV vaccine 'Gardasil 9' on Wednesday.
The vaccine Gardasil 9 is a 9-valent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which will work against nine variants of HPV. It will be used among girls and women aged 9-26 years and boys 9-15 years.
Managing Director, MSD-India Region, Rehan A Khan, told News 18, "We have worked with state government like Punjab and Sikkim, and going forward we hope to work with many more state governments and corporations and expand the availability of vaccination."
"With HPV affecting both genders, the vaccine demonstrates the company's commitment towards bringing a gender-neutral HPV vaccine to India that addresses certain HPV-related diseases, among Indian girls, women and boys, and continues to promote preventive healthcare in India." added Khan.
The pharmaceutical company claimed that it is the only US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) approved vaccine, first launched in the US in 2015. It has been approved in more than 80 countries across the globe, which helps protect against nine types of HPV.
As per the report, about 1.7 lakh cases are affected with HPV-related disease; this vaccine will play a crucial role in reducing the alarming incidence of HPV-related cancer burden in India.
Current estimates indicate that 96,922 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, and 60,078 lose their battle with the disease.
According to government reports, cervical cancer ranks as the second-most frequent cancer among women in India between 15 and 44 years of age.