What We're Reading: HPV Vaccine Use; $4 Million Drug; ACS Fundraising Concerns

A report from the President’s Cancer Panel has found that use of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines remain low, despite improvements; Novartis believes that its new gene therapy to treat spinal muscular atrophy could cost $4 million to $5 million per patient; the chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society (ACS) resigned over concerns regarding controversial fundraising partnerships.

Use of HPV Vaccines Remain Low

A report from the President’s Cancer Panel has found that use of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines remain low, despite improvements. Less than half of boys and girls in the Unites States are vaccinated against preventable cancers. Progress on HPV vaccine uptake has only been around 5% per year. However, meeting the 2020 target is still possible, and the report identifies 4 strategies that can overcome barriers to uptake.

A Gene Therapy That Could Cost $4 Million

Novartis believes that its new gene therapy to treat spinal muscular atrophy could cost $4 million to $5 million per patient. According to Reuters, the drug maker believes that the astronomical price tag would still be cost effective for health systems for the 1-time drug to treat a deadly disease. Spinal muscular atrophy is a rare genetic disorder and the treatment, AVXS-101, demonstrated 100% survival rate after 24 months, STAT reported.

ACS Fundraising Partnerships Raise Concerns

The chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society (ACS) resigned over concerns regarding controversial fundraising partnerships, such as with supplements company, Herbalife International. The New York Times reported that Otis W. Brawley, MD, MACP, FASCO, FACE, had been uncomfortable with the society receiving donations from “businesses with questionable health credentials.” Other unusual partnerships include those with Long John Silver’s, the seafood chain, and Tilted Kilt, a sports pub.