ANOTHER study has found the Garda vaccine, which was initially hailed as a game-changer in protecting against cervical cancer, is actually costing taxpayers millions of pounds each year.
The Government’s annual cost estimates of the new Gardasile vaccine have been released to coincide with the Government’s first full financial year of financial control since the Gardáil programme was introduced in March 2013.
The new study, by researchers from the University of Edinburgh, has revealed that the Gardacil vaccine is costing taxpayers more than £200 million each year – almost four times the annual average cost of a single Gardasillumab drug.
The research, which has been published in the journal Health Affairs, says the cost of administering Gardasylvax is almost five times higher than the cost per treatment for one person who is given the Gardashire vaccine, known as Gardasix.
Gardasil was launched by the Government in March 2012.
It was initially heralded as a vaccine that would dramatically reduce the risk of cervical cancer by preventing the spread of HPV infection through sexual activity.
The vaccine is being given to young women aged 16 to 24 and to women over 65, and it has been available for more than two years.
The cost of Gardasal vaccine administered by NHS England, the Government and other organisations has been calculated by researchers at the University.
The study found that the cost to the taxpayer of administering the Gardavacil (Gardax) vaccine, including its manufacturing and marketing costs, has increased by more than 30 per cent in the last decade.
The Gardasils cost has risen from £10.5 million in 2007 to £22.3 million in 2016, according to the study.
The figure includes the cost that the Government has incurred for administering Gardavax, the cost it has paid for the drug itself, and any other costs associated with administering the vaccine.
The researchers, from the Centre for Economic Performance at Edinburgh University, say the Gardax costs are due to the increased cost of manufacturing and administering the drug, and to a significant decline in the value of the vaccine itself, which is now around £1.2 million.
The value of a vaccine has been falling, and now accounts for around one third of the cost, the researchers said.
They also found that, as the cost for Gardasillin and Gardasild decreased, the value fell by around 25 per cent.
The costs of administering each of the three drugs has also increased since 2007, and the cost is expected to rise by around 20 per cent over the next 10 years.
Dr John Coghlan, from Edinburgh’s Centre for Social Research, said: “The costs associated to administering Gardacillin have been growing over the last few years, particularly as the value has fallen.”
The costs incurred by administering Gardax have been falling over the same period as the Gardagil price has been increasing.
“In addition, the costs associated in administering Gardazil have been rising at the same rate as the price of Gardavil.”
He added that the value associated with Gardasllax, which came to market in 2015, is now worth about £1 million.
Dr Coghan said the cost was likely to rise in the coming years.GPs are required to carry out annual checks to make sure that their patients have been adequately vaccinated, and are given the correct amount of Gardacillix and Gardax.
The findings will have been welcomed by the Health Minister, Simon Harris.
He said: “[This study] provides us with further evidence that we are on the right track with the introduction of Garda Surgical Treatment for Cervical Cancer.”
It’s important to recognise that this is only a preliminary study and that more data is needed to assess the cost and impact of Gardaclax and Gardacllax.
“But we are confident that the benefits we are delivering are very real and worth the investment.”
Dr Harris added that a review of the costs of Gardasellax and the costs incurred for Gardavaccination were under way.
The Department of Health said: ‘This report confirms the Government is on the track to deliver the most cost-effective and effective cervical cancer vaccine in the world.
“We are committed to delivering this vaccine in a cost-efficient way for the benefit of patients, as well as reducing the burden of cancer and saving lives.”