Cervical cancer kills more than 250,000 women globally each year; 90% of these deaths occur in low or middle income countries, many of which cannot afford the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Researchers analysed the economic benefits of vaccinating all 12-year-old females across the globe. They took into account vaccine development, production and distribution costs and compared the economic benefits of improved health and reduced cancer treatment against the costs of purchasing and delivering the vaccine.
The study found that manufacturers have already received an economic return five times their original investment. Economic gains per vaccinated female in a high income country were five times that in a low income country.
Reporting their findings in Health Affairs
, researchers conclude that subsidising vaccine prices in low and middle income countries could reduce financial barriers and still provide economic benefits for high income countries and profits for vaccine manufacturers.
 Herlihy N, Hutubessy R & Jit M. Current Global Pricing For Human Papillomavirus Vaccines Brings The Greatest Economic Benefits to Rich Countries. Health Affairs 2016;35:227-234. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1411