The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) recently announced that a purchase agreement had been signed with Sabofi Pasteur MSD for the procurement of its product Gardasil.
But last week, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline appealed the deal arguing that their vaccine Cervarix provides better protection than Gardasil.
SALAR is furthermore accused of having breached procurement legislation by ignoring its own criteria.
However, according to the Medical Products Agency both vaccines give equallly effective protection against the most common types of cervical cancer.
The agreement between MSD and SALAR had meant that the vaccine, already substantially delayed, could be offered from October.
But following the appeal the delays are set to continue and thousands of young Swedish females will remain at risk from cervical cancer, said the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) last week.
“We are starting to get close to the line where there are girls who don’t have time to get protection before their get the infection and thus run a slightly heightened risk of getting cancer,” said Anders Tegnell of the board at the time.
When the decision was taken to incorporate the vaccine into the general vaccination programme offered by the public health service, the health and welfare board estimated that 100 lives would be saved per annum.
This is the second time that the procurement process has been appealed. Last time the purchase agreement was won by Cervarix, and it was then MSD’s turn to appeal.
Tegnell said last wek that he feared a risk that the pharmaceutical companies will continue to appeal incessantly.
“It seems that in theory they could continue as long as they like.”
“The losers are the public,” said Göran Stiernstedt at SALAR.