Health Equity, HPV and the Cervical Cancer Vaccine

Health Law Journal, pp. 127-143, 2008

18 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2009 Last revised: 19 Sep 2014

See all articles by Joanna N. Erdman

Joanna N. Erdman

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law

Date Written: April 3, 2009


This article explores the relationship between technological innovation and health inequity. It examines in particular the relationship between the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, the cause of cervical cancer, and inequity in cervical cancer incidence and mortality. In Canada, screening programs have drastically reduced the incidence of cervical cancer, but their benefits have been unequally distributed. Prevention efforts have disproportionately failed women of disadvantaged social groups. Technological innovation alone will not remedy this inequity. The HPV vaccine merely expands the available means for reducing or increasing health inequity depending on its implementation. For this reason, the article looks beyond technological innovation to focus on both the positive and negative health equity effects of the Canadian HPV vaccination strategy.

Keywords: health law, health equity, vaccines, bioethics, cervical cancer vaccine, Human papillomavirus vaccine

JEL Classification: K19, I18

Suggested Citation

Erdman, Joanna N., Health Equity, HPV and the Cervical Cancer Vaccine (April 3, 2009). Health Law Journal, pp. 127-143, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Joanna N. Erdman (Contact Author)

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law ( email )

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Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H9

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