The health authorities said they would start analyzing the cost-effectiveness of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) for children, made by Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.
GSK’s Synflorix, a PCV10 treatment for children, and Pfizer’s PCV13 product, marketed as Prevnar13, have been included in the National Immunization Program (NIP) since May 2014.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said it has recently disclosed the past year’s study on pneumococcal serotype in children and adolescents in Korea. The KCDC also plans to analyze the cost-effectiveness of PCV10 and PCV13 next year, it added.
Pharmaceutical experts are paying attention to the next year’s study on cost-effectiveness of PCVs.
Experts have criticized that Korea lacked epidemiological data and measurement data on the usefulness of PCVs and their cost-effectiveness.
The KCDC’s research team plans to study the usefulness of PCVs and their cost-effectiveness under the NIP.
“PCV10 and PCV13 products are not only different in serotype coverage, but also in the type of protein they bind at the time of manufacturing, approved ages for use, and price. Many countries have conducted or are conducting studies, mainly on the cost-effectiveness of the vaccines, to determine which vaccines would be the best to use,” said Lee Hwan-jong, a professor at Seoul National University Hospital.
Overseas research on the cost-effectiveness of the vaccines have said that PCV10 or PCV13 was more cost effective depending on the type and frequency of the invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) serotype, and whether the cross-immune effect on serotype 19F and 19A was recognized, Lee said.
However, such studies might not be very reliable because drugmakers themselves have sponsored them, he pointed out.
Thus, Korea needs to agree on how to produce evidence data and whether to use other evidence data when making policy decisions for an effective national PCV immunization program, Lee added.
He went on to say that it was difficult to analyze the effectiveness of PCV introduction and the change of serotype in Korea because data on the nation’s vaccination rate and national serotype distribution was limited.
“Despite a high rate of pneumococcal vaccination, the mortality of pneumonia has been continuously going up. Pneumonia has recently ranked fourth in causes of death, beating diabetes,” Lee said. “In the future, managing pneumonia and pneumococcal infection will be still important. Now, we need to collect evidence to prepare management plans.”
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