Merck's cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil now faces direct competition from Glaxo's Cervarix, which was approved by European health authorities, said the vaccine's maker GlaxoSmithKline on Monday.
The British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (Charts) said the European Commission, which is Europe's version of the Food and Drug Administration, approved Cervarix for sale in the EU's 27 member states. Cervarix is already available in Australia.
Cervarix, approved for girls and women aged 10 to 25, protects against the sexually-transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer. Inoculation with the vaccine is considered most effective in girls before they become sexually active.