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According to a press release last week from the vaccination foundation GAVI Alliance, pharmaceutical companies Merck (NYSE: MRK ) and GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK ) are engaged in price negotiations to supply cheaper HPV vaccines to eight developing nations in Africa and Asia.
Fellow foundation UNICEF is in the process of securing the vaccines, negotiating with Merck and Glaxo in an ongoing competitive tender process. The two companies are the only firms with prequalified HPV vaccines, with Merck's Gardasil and Glaxo's Cervarix being considered.
GAVI Alliance aims to protect more than 180,000 girls against HPV, a leading cause of cervical cancer. The program will extend to Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, Niger, Malawi, and Tanzania in Africa and Laos in Asia. According to GAVI, 85% of the 275,000 annual cervical cancer deaths around the world stem from the poorest countries around the globe.