The battle against cancer
JUST over a year ago, Health Minister Mary Harney instructed the Health Service Executive to reopen price negotiations with manufacturers of a cervical cancer vaccine.
The rethink, if that is what it was, came after the minister had stirred massive controversy by cancelling a programme announced four months previously. A programme of cervical jabs was to be rolled out to all 12-year-old schoolgirls from 2009. The cost at the time was stated to be €10m. But weeks later, the minister withdrew her commitment because of the state of the national finances.
The decision meant parents would have to find about €600 for the inoculation to be administered privately. Fourteen other European countries have made the vaccine available free to young girls as part of public health. Now it seems the year-long search for bargain vaccine has paid off handsomely.