Mind the gaps: what's missing from current economic evaluations of universal HPV vaccination?

Vaccine. 2014 Jun 24;32(30):3732-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.05.007. Epub 2014 May 15.


Background: Since the original licensing of human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination for women, evidence is accumulating of its effectiveness in preventing HPV-related conditions in men, and universal vaccination (vaccinating men and women) is now recommended in some countries. Several models of the cost-effectiveness of universal HPV vaccination have been published, but results have been mixed. This article assesses the extent to which economic studies have captured the range of values associated with universal HPV vaccination, and how this influences estimates of its cost-effectiveness.

Methods: Eight published economic evaluations of universal HPV vaccination were reviewed to identify which of the values associated with universal HPV vaccination were included in each analysis.

Results: Studies of the cost-effectiveness of universal HPV vaccination capture only a fraction of the values generated. Most studies focused on impacts on health and health system cost, and only captured these partially. A range of values is excluded from most studies, including impacts on productivity, patient time and costs, carers and family costs, and broader social values such as the right to access treatment. Further, those studies that attempted to capture these values only did so partially.

Discussion: Decisions to invest in universal HPV vaccination need to be based on a complete assessment of the value that it generates. This is not provided by existing economic evaluations. Further work is required to understand this value. First, research is required to understand how HPV-related health outcomes impact on society including, for instance, their impact on productivity. Second, consideration should be given to alternative approaches to capture this broader set of values in a manner useful to decisions-makers, such as multi-criteria decision analysis.

Keywords: Cost-effectiveness; Health economics; Human papilloma virus; Vaccine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / economics*
  • Male
  • Papillomavirus Infections / economics
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / economics*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines