Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/541/6257

From The Socialist newspaper, 9 July 2008

Cancer vaccines: who decides?

THIS AUTUMN, the Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine campaign is being rolled out. It is estimated this will save the lives of over 400 women a year in Britain. The government awarded the contract to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for their vaccine Cervarix, beating the competition from Sanofi Pasteur MSD and their vaccine Gardasil.

Liz Cowell

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is contracted by direct sexual/skin to skin contact so condoms do not offer guaranteed protection - this is why the vaccine schedule is set to target young women before they become sexually active.

The HPV has over a hundred sub-types with about 30 affecting the genital area. 80% of sexually active people will be exposed to the virus HPV, however most people's immune systems deal with the virus and they don't go on to develop clinical problems.

However types 16 and 18 are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers and types 6 and 11 lead to 90% of genital warts infections.

Worldwide, cervical cancer is the second commonest cancer of women, causing 270,000 deaths annually. The cervical screening programme saw mortality rates in the UK drop by 60% between 1974 and 2004, but there is still a direct correlation between higher incidence of cervical cancer and mortality rates and socioeconomic deprivation. Just recently the government claimed to be addressing health inequalities.

Both vaccines in clinical trails were over 99% effective at preventing pre-cancerous lesions associated with HPV 16 & 18 in young women but only Gardasil was 99% effective at preventing genital warts associated with HPV 6 and 11 in young women.

We must question what was the government's rationale for choosing one over the other with genital warts being the most common viral sexually transmitted infection in the UK? 80,000 new cases of genital warts were diagnosed in Britain's GUM clinics in 2006 with the highest incidence in the under 24-year age group.

While it is not a terminal disease, it causes the sufferer discomfort and often psycho-social trauma. The chief executive of the Family Planning Association elucidates how "a huge opportunity to protect an entire generation of young women against genital warts [has been missed]", and she goes on to say "selecting the Gardasil vaccine would've been a huge preventative measure in terms of health and financial costs to the NHS.".

Criticisms also come from the Terence Higgins Trust, describing the government's choice as short-sighted, "they are saving pennies to spend pounds later."

The Financial Times predicted that the government would go with the Gardasil vaccine due to its broader protection, so the choice of Cervarix has left many scratching their heads. Both vaccines are said to cost £240 for the three-dose course.

The Department of Health maintain that decisions were made against a wide range of criteria, such as cost effectiveness and scientific qualities, with the vaccination programme always having been about cervical cancer protection.

But without this information being freely available, how are the public to believe this government's motives? That's another example of why we need a nationalised pharmaceutical industry as an integral part of the NHS.

  • AFTER GSK won the contract, its shares in GSK immediately increased by 22p to £11.02 (Financial Times 19/6/08). Meanwhile Gardasil is available from private clinics for £140-£159 a shot, with a course of three being required to offer protection. Health has certainly become quite clearly a commodity.
  • Donate to the Socialist Party

    Finance appeal

    The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

    The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

    The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

    • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
    • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
    Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
    We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

    Please donate here.

    All payments are made through a secure server.

    My donation £

     

    Your message: 

     


    In The Socialist 9 July 2008:

    Striking back against low pay


    Campaign for a New Workers Party

    The working class needs its own party

    CNWP conference: Wanted - a new mass workers' party


    Socialist Party news and analysis

    UK economy sliding into recession

    Rich get richer: Why should we pay the price!

    MP backs student fees campaign

    Bonuses for chiefs, pay restraint for civil service workers

    Government lies on public-sector pay

    High farce from Boris Johnson

    G8 leaders' 'world hunger' banquet

    On the other side of the financial divide...


    Socialist Party NHS campaign

    Defend the NHS!

    Property deals threaten private nursing homes

    Cancer vaccines: who decides?


    Marxist analysis: history

    Terry Fields: A socialist voice that rocked Whitehall


    Socialist Party LGBT

    Marching against homophobia & racism


    Socialist Party workplace news

    Argos warehouse workers vote to strike

    DWP strikes bring talks

    National Shop Stewards Network Conference: Organising migrant workers

    A day in the life of a call centre worker

    Call centre charter: A framework for workers' rights

    RMT conference discusses crisis of political representation


    Shop Workers' Union Usdaw

    Socialist stands for Usdaw general secretary


     

    Home   |   The Socialist 9 July 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

    Subscribe   |   Donate  




    Related links:

    Health:

    triangleA fighting programme for women's rights and socialism

    triangleWomen's health matters

    triangleWest London Socialist Party: The fight for women's health to be a trade union issue

    triangleBoot private companies out of our NHS

    triangleNHS white paper: no solution to failed Tory policies

    Vaccine:

    triangleVaccine algorithm can't solve capitalist inequality

    triangleQuestion mark over AstraZeneca's vaccine to protect against new Covid variant

    triangleCovid 'vaccine wars' underline failure of capitalist nation states to deal with the global pandemic

    Women:

    triangleA history of International Women's Day

    triangleInternational Women's Day rally, Sunday 7th March, 3pm. Click here for Facebook and Zoom links.

    Reports and campaigns

    Reports and campaigns

    3/3/21

    Bus workers

    Under attack and fighting back

    3/3/21

    Students

    Socialist Students conference

    3/3/21

    Schools

    Teachers demand fighting union strategy

    3/3/21

    Manchester

    Manchester indefinite bus strike against 'fire and rehire'

    3/3/21

    Electricians

    Sparks force bosses back but fight continues to stamp out deskilling

    3/3/21

    Black

    Swansea BLM protest against racist police brutality

    3/3/21

    HMRC

    HMRC: Pay deal agreed but at what cost?

    3/3/21

    London

    Why we need socialists in London city hall

    3/3/21

    Brighton

    Stop domestic abuse service closures in Brighton

    3/3/21

    Election

    Determined to smash the fighting fund target to fuel election challenge in May

    3/3/21

    Music

    Union fight to save musicians' livelihoods

    3/3/21

    British Gas

    British Gas strike

    3/3/21

    Strike

    RAF Leeming strike escalates

    3/3/21

    Strike

    IT workers walkout against 'fire and rehire'

    3/3/21

    Bus

    Victory for Judith, defend Moe

    triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


    Join the Socialist Party
    Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
    Donate to the Socialist Party
    Socialist Party Facebook page
    Socialist Party on Twitter
    Visit us on Youtube

    LATEST POSTS

    CONTACT US

    Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

    Email: [email protected]

    Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

    Regional Socialist Party organisers:

    Eastern: 079 8202 1969

    East Mids: 077 3797 8057

    London: 075 4018 9052

    North East: 078 4114 4890

    North West 079 5437 6096

    South West: 077 5979 6478

    Southern: 078 3368 1910

    Wales: 079 3539 1947

    West Mids: 024 7655 5620

    Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

    ABOUT US

    ARCHIVE

    Alphabetical listing


    March 2021

    February 2021

    January 2021

    2020

    2019

    2018

    2017

    2016

    2015

    2014

    2013

    2012

    2011

    2010

    2009

    2008

    2007

    2006

    2005

    2004

    2003

    2002

    2001

    2000

    1999