In 2007, Merck made a major commitment to help improve access to GARDASIL in developing countries.
Through the GARDASIL® [Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent (Types 6, 11, 16, 18) Vaccine, Recombinant] Access Program, Merck pledged to donate at least 3 million doses of GARDASIL for use in smaller-scale human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination projects in eligible lowest-income countries around the world, to enable participating organizations and institutions in those countries to gain operational experience in designing and implementing HPV vaccination projects.
Recently, the GAVI Alliance, a public-private partnership focused on increasing access to immunization in developing countries, has opened the funding window for HPV vaccines––giving countries the opportunity to sustainably introduce the vaccine through a demonstration or national program.
In this context and following consultation with a wide array of stakeholders, including WHO, GAVI, PATH, other public health organizations, select ministries of health and some GARDASIL Access Program participants, Merck and Axios Healthcare Development (AHD) have decided that the GARDASIL Access Program will no longer be awarding doses of GARDASIL to new projects. However, Merck's full donation commitment of at least three million doses of GARDASIL will be honored and options for how remaining doses of GARDASIL could be used are currently being explored. Importantly, commitments to already-awarded projects will continue to be honored.
In addition, collecting information from past and current Program participants by AHD will continue to be a key focus as a means of sharing the data and experience from the GARDASIL Access Program with the public health community.
By actively disseminating information from the operational experiences and the lessons learned by participants, the program is contributing to the public knowledge base on HPV vaccine access and child and adolescent immunization models in developing countries.
The GARDASIL Access Program received proposals from applicants to conduct smaller scale HPV vaccination projects, rather than nationwide programs. All applicants were required to secure formal endorsement from their respective ministries of health, and encouraged to follow World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and guidelines for HPV vaccination.
The program is managed by Axios Healthcare Development (AHD), a U.S. nonprofit organization, with strategic guidance provided by the independent GARDASIL Access Program Advisory Board, made up of international public health experts. AHD administers the program, reviews and approves applications based on Advisory Board recommendations, and coordinates delivery of donated vaccine to participants, with technical assistance from Axios International, a public health consultancy specializing in developing and emerging countries.