Is it worth it?
- By: Matthew Billingsley
This month’s issue looks at the cost versus the benefit of various decisions. Our feature by Katy Bettany and Isabella Laws (doi:10.1136/sbmj.g4015) reviews the current policy on vaccinating against papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the UK, which sees teenage girls vaccinated to protect them against cervical cancer, but not boys. Because vaccination rates and herd immunity is relatively high, this is assumed to be a cost effective decision. But, this policy was described as flawed and sexist at the BMA Annual Representative’s Meeting because it fails to take into account HPV’s role in the rise of anal and oral cancers, as well as the spread of genital warts. The policy excludes men who have sex with men, and only protects men who have sex with women who have received the vaccine. In their accompanying editorial (doi:10.1136/sbmj.g4089), Martin Davies and Julian Sheather raise further ethical implications that deserve consideration too.