The FINANCIAL — Roche announced on October 21 that it has been awarded a 5-year contract by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in the Netherlands for implementation of the cobas HPV Test as the first-line, primary screening test in the national cervical cancer screening program.
The decision concludes an extensive public tender process in which diagnostic providers were assessed on their ability to meet performance, quality and pricing criteria. The new national HPV based screening program is expected to start in the second half of 2016, according to Merck.
The Netherlands is expected to be the first country in the world with an organized cervical screening program to fully transition from the Pap test to primary HPV screening. Using HPV as the primary test is based on the overwhelming scientific evidence that it offers significant improvement over more traditional Pap cytology screening due to its ability to detect more pre-cancerous disease.
“The movement towards a national HPV screening program will lead to a more efficient and effective use of resources and, most importantly, fewer women will develop cervical cancer.” said Dr. R.L.M. Bekkers, Gynecologist/Gynecologic Oncologist, Radboud University Medical Centre. Nijmegen. “Selecting the appropriate HPV test is a crucial first step for the success of this program.”
The new Dutch cervical screening program with HPV includes a longer interval between routine screening visits as well as an option for women to self-collect their screening samples. To meet the needs of these program requirements, only HPV tests that utilize DNA PCR-based technology were considered for the tender.
“The cobas HPV Test was selected by the RIVM because it is supported by all the necessary evidence and data”, said Roland Diggelmann, Chief Operating Officer of Roche Diagnostics. “We believe countries around the world will be looking toward the Netherlands as a potential model for how to best implement HPV primary screening to prevent cervical cancer. We are excited to have been chosen as their partner.”