LYON, France, June 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --
After the United Kingdom, France is the second country in Europe
to support the zoster vaccination nationwide
Sanofi Pasteur MSD today announced the availability of the zoster vaccine Zostavax® across France for the prevention of zoster (shingles) and its most common related complication, chronic nerve pain (post-herpetic neuralgia or PHN). Zostavax® is recommended and will be reimbursed nationally in France for all adults aged 65 to 74 years. Additionally catch-up for adults aged 75 to 79 years is considered up to end of February 2017. The nationwide launch in France is a major development for zoster prevention in Europe, building on the public health commitment already seen in the UK to implement preventative health measures for the aging population.
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"The availability of Zostavax® in France is an important step forward in the prevention of zoster and its complication offering to a broader number of senior Europeans the chance of protection from this serious and debilitating disease," commented Jean-Paul Kress, President of Sanofi Pasteur MSD. "Sanofi Pasteur MSD is committed to preventative healthcare at all ages and the Zostavax® zoster vaccine is a key enabler to secure lifelong immunisation for healthier lives," Jean-Paul Kress concluded.
Vaccination is a key contributor to healthy ageing and has proven benefits in terms of decreasing morbidity and mortality and improving quality of daily life,. The fast-growing 65+ population group in Europe represents a huge public health and economic challenge which reinforces the relevance of putting preventative measures in place to ensure healthy ageing.
Zoster is caused by the reactivation of the same virus which is responsible for chickenpox and that lies dormant in the nervous system after chickenpox resolution. Because chickenpox is so common in Europe, around 95% of adults already have the virus inside them and are therefore at risk of developing Zoster as they age. PHN, the most common complication of Zoster,, is persistent nerve pain in the area of the zoster rash, after the rash has healed. It can last weeks, months and even years and PHN management is unsatisfactory and complex particularly in seniors. Similarly to shingles, the risk of developing PHN increases with age, two thirds of PHN cases occurring in adults aged 65 years and over.,
"The healthcare community welcomes the availibility of Zostavax® in France" said Dr Christophe Trivalle, hospital practitioner in geriatrics at Hospital Paul Brousse (France). "Zoster is a common and debilitating disease that can affect around one in four people at some point in their life,, with the risk of developing devastating complications such as chronic nerve pain. The inclusion of Zostavax® in the national immunisation calendar signals the importance of zoster prevention in the French healthcare agenda and will hopefully encourage other European countries to take a step in the same direction", Dr Christophe Trivalle concluded.
More than 27 million doses of Zostavax® have been distributed worldwide since 2006 and it is the only currently available preventative measure against zoster and PHN. The vaccine is licensed in Europe for the immunisation of adults over 50 years and is given as a single injection. The efficacy and safety profile shown by the vaccine in clinical trials is confirmed by nine years of real-life experience. ,
About Sanofi Pasteur MSD - http://www.spmsd.com
Sanofi Pasteur MSD is a European joint venture formed between Sanofi Pasteur (the vaccine division of Sanofi) and Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada). Combining innovation and expertise, Sanofi Pasteur MSD is the only European pharmaceutical company dedicated exclusively to the distribution of vaccines. Sanofi Pasteur MSD makes use of the combined expertise resulting from Sanofi Pasteur and Merck's research to focus on the development of new vaccines in Europe in order to produce the most effective, most acceptable and better tolerated vaccines.
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SOURCE Sanofi-Pasteur MSD