Health and wellness

Alibaba ties up with GlaxoSmithKline for online HPV vaccine appointment service

Taobao users can book a vaccination appointment in more than 100 cities

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 November, 2017, 5:43pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 November, 2017, 7:45pm

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is pushing for one more inclusion in this year’s Singles’ Day shopping trolley – HPV vaccine.

GlaxoSmithKline’s Cervarix is the first HPV vaccine licensed by the China Food and Drug Administration, and is targeted at girls and women of ages between nine and 25 years.

A tie-up between pharmaceutical giant GSK and Alibaba Health will let users access online consultation services and book appointments for the anti-cervical cancer drug in more than 100 cities in China.

“By launching this online service ahead of the Singles’ Day shopping festival, we hope to provide a more convenient way for young women in China to become involved in their health care,” said Zhong Congdi, a manager for disease prevention at Alibaba Health.

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The vaccine service will spare a growing number of health-conscious women trips to Hong Kong. Increasing awareness has prompted thousands of mainland Chinese to come to the city for shots, which usually require a three-jab schedule spanning a year and a half, over the past few years.

The move also comes as GSK looks to compete with Merck globally. According to a recent report by McKinsey, China’s health care market is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 12 per cent to reach US$1 trillion by 2020, up from US$357 billion in 2011.

The UK-headquartered company has hit a bumpy road in China, as it struggles to rebuild its image after being fined about US$500 million in 2014 for bribing doctors. Last year, the CFDI slashed the price of its hepatitis B drug by about two-thirds.

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Starting this week, users can spend 0.8 yuan to book a vaccination appointment on Taobao, an e-commerce site of the Alibaba Group, which also owns the South China Morning Post.

Zhong said the appointment charge will be donated towards cervical cancer prevention, and the project will cover more than 120 cities in China by year end.

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women of ages between 15 to 44 years in China, with an estimated 130,000 new cases each year, or 28 per cent of the total diagnosis worldwide, according to GSK.