There Is Vaccine That Helps Prevent Cancer, Says MSD

The population already has at its disposal a vaccine that helps to prevent cancer, which is the HPV vaccine, but many people stop taking it. That’s what the president of MSD pharmaceuticals in Brazil, Hugo Nisenbom, says in an interview with UOL Leaders. According to him, the political position is influencing people’s decision to take vaccines or not.

What did he say

HPV vaccine and cancer prevention. When asked about MSD’s research into a cancer vaccine, the executive said that the population already has access to a vaccine that helps prevent cancer, which is HPV, but that many people still fail to take it. there. The virus is associated with cervical cancer. In addition to the HPV vaccine, MSD is studying a vaccine against skin cancer.

Vaccination and political positioning. The executive also commented on the reduction in vaccination rates in Brazil. For him, social isolation and fake news contributed to this reduction. He also said that people started to think about vaccination based on their political position.

Medicine for covid-19 outside the SUS. The government decided not to incorporate the drug molnupiravir, against covid-19, into the SUS list. Nisenbom said MSD intends to appeal the ruling. According to him, the medicine is already used in several countries and is important in the treatment of people in risk groups.

Molnupiravir and the variants of covid. A preliminary study carried out by UK researchers raised the suspicion that molnupiravir could lead to the development of new variants of covid-19. Questioned about this, Nisenbom said that there is no evidence of correlation between the use of the drug and the emergence of variants of the virus and that, if there were, the company would withdraw the product from the market.

Potential of the research market in Brazil. The executive also spoke about research opportunities in Brazil. He says that this is a promising market, but complains about some current rules of the segment.

Listen to the full interview on the UOL Leaders podcast. You can also watch the video interview on the UOL YouTube channel. See highlights of the interview below:

Vaccine that helps prevent cancer

We have a vaccine against cancer, which is the HPV vaccine. The HPV virus is correlated with cervical cancer. The ideal was that, if everyone was vaccinated, we could eradicate cervical cancer. But there are still people who have the vaccine against cancer, which is what we’ve always dreamed of, and they won’t get vaccinated.

HPV is related to about 95% of cases of cervical cancer, and can also lead to other types of cancer, according to the WHO. The HPV vaccine is available at SUS, but vaccination is below expectations. The vaccination rate in 2022 reached 57% for girls and did not exceed 40% for boys. The ideal to prevent the disease is a coverage of 90%.

Political position and vaccination

Due to the focus on Covid, the isolation and several other reasons, such as fake news, the rates [de vacinação] fell in Brazil and in several countries. My feeling is that people all over the world, due to their political position, have started to think about whether or not they should be vaccinated. When we leave science to enter politics, we can make mistakes. We saw the eradication of poliomyelitis, the eradication of measles, and we saw them return in some countries because people were not vaccinated.

Medicine against covid-19 outside the SUS

We believe that [o molnupiravir] it is a valuable tool, especially for the at-risk patient group. These patients cannot run the risk of the disease progressing to the inflammatory phase, because complications come later. The idea is, at some point, to present this again so that it is accessible to the entire population.

Questioned on the subject, MSD said it will not appeal the decision for now, as the company understands that the covid-19 scenario is under control in Brazil at the moment.

Covid virus variants

We know that he [o molnupiravir] was effective both in reducing deaths and hospitalizations. And we know that the product works by making the virus make mistakes and not allowing it to replicate. The study cannot correlate these facts [o uso do remédio com o surgimento de mutações do vírus]. There is no scientific evidence and, if there is, we would withdraw the product from the market.

The study in question was published in January in a preliminary version and still needed to be reviewed by the scientific community. The subject was addressed by the scientific journal Science in February. The sale of molnupinavir in pharmacies in Brazil was approved by Anvisa in December 2022.

Research market potential

Research is an industry of enormous opportunity for Brazil. Brazil is close to the 10th place among the world’s economies, but in the research market we are in the 20th or so. This has to do with certain regulations. For example, when you do research, you have to give the medicine to the patient for the rest of his life. It is very difficult to sustain this.

Currently, a resolution by the Ministry of Health provides for the free supply of medication to participants in clinical research, at the physician’s discretion.

Who is Hugo Nisenbom?

Birthplace: Argentina

Current position: President of MSD Brazil

Highlights in career: Director at Schering Plow Argentina, President of IFI-Promesa, an entity of the pharmaceutical sector in Ecuador, and vice-president of the Venezuelan Chamber of Medicines (Caveme).

Training: Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy at the National University of Rosario (Argentina), Master’s Degree in Biochemistry, Doctorate in Philosophy and PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), management program at Columbia Business School (USA).

What is MSD

A MSD was founded in 1891 in the United States under the name of Merck & co. In 1953, there was a merger with Sharp & Dohmecreating the MSDacronym for Merck Sharp & Dohme. The company remains known as Merck in the United States and in Canada.

Employees: 1,900 in Brazil and 74,000 worldwide


2022: $59 billion

2021: $48 billion

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