India is preparing to include human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines as part of the government-driven public immunization program popularly known as the Universal Immunization Program (UIP). The Indian government will float a global tender in April 2023 to procure HPV vaccines. Against this backdrop, domestic player the Serum Institute of India (SII) is expected to be the front-runner to win this tender due to its anticipated affordable pricing, says GlobalData.
In December 2017, the National Technical Advisory Group for Immunization (NTAGI) recommended the introduction of the HPV vaccine in the UIP with a one-time catch-up for 9–14-year-old adolescent girls, and girls being vaccinated at 9 years of age in future. Many cervical cancers are associated with HPV, which is mainly transmitted through sexual contact. Moreover, such HPV-related cases of cervical cancer can be prevented if the vaccine is given before girls are exposed to the virus.
The Indian government is expected to roll out a global tender of 160 million doses from various HPV vaccine players for supply until 2026. Currently, the Serum Institute of India is the only domestic player that was able to launch its homegrown HPV vaccine, “Cervavac”, in January 2023. Earlier, HPV vaccines available in India were mainly supplied by multinational players like GlaxoSmithKline and Merck in the private market.
Prashant Khadayate, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments, “The inclusion of the HPV vaccine in the UIP increases the vaccine penetration multifold and make it accessible to target populations through the Indian government’s vaccine distribution supply.”
According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, the number of diagnosed prevalent cases of cervical cancer in India is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 3.11 per cent from 0.43 million in 2021 to 0.54 million in 2030.
The Serum Institute of India has been a key supplier of various vaccines for other diseases as part of the UIP in India. The company’s COVID-19 vaccine “Covishield” accounted for around 80 per cent of doses for COVID-19 vaccination in India.
Khadayate concludes, “In India, the public sector vaccines market is highly price sensitive. Affordable pricing as per the expected pricing set by the Indian government is key to winning these bulk orders as part of the UIP. SII has an edge due to its strong partnership with the Indian government through its existing supply of other vaccines in the UIP, and its ability to supply HPV vaccines at an affordable price to be part of the UIP.”
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