Why Is There a Vaccine Shortage This Year, and What is Being Done to Prevent

                            it in the Future?       Which Drug Company Will Be the Hero of This Winter's Flu Season?                      Which Drug Company Will Miss Out?    What:    Analyst available to speak on the impact of this year's flu           season on the pharmaceutical industry    Who:     Jason LaBonte, Ph.D., analyst at Decision Resources, Inc.    How:     Available by phone and in person-Waltham, Mass.    Why a vaccine shortage? 

Typically, the flu vaccine is grown in chicken eggs, taking four to six months to complete. This year, the Fujian flu strain did not grow well in chicken eggs, forcing manufacturers to use other, less protective strains. Now that the flu season is upon us, this vaccine appears to be of limited use. Additionally, because of the long production times with egg-based systems, manufacturers have no way to quickly generate additional vaccine doses in periods of shortage. Several companies are working on a new way to grow the vaccine with cell culture systems, which should allow much faster production times and growth of a greater breadth of flu strains (e.g., the Fujian strain).

Who loses?

Wyeth has pulled out of the U.S. injectable flu vaccine market on the assumption that it would make more money with its newly approved, inhaled vaccine FluMist. Even after Wyeth spent approximately $25 million on marketing and advertising, the product has done poorly. Originally priced at $46 dollars and approved only for healthy people between the ages of 5 and 49, FluMist doesn't seem to be generating the revenue Wyeth anticipated.

Who wins?

Roche's Tamiflu may be the hero of this flu season. Up until now, Tamiflu has sold poorly because most people do not visit their doctor when they get the flu, not knowing that an effective medication exists to limit the length and severity of flu symptoms. However, with a shortage of vaccine and its presumed limited protectiveness, Tamiflu may be the safety net that limits morbidity and mortality this flu season.

To speak with Dr. LaBonte in detail about this year's flu season and the drug companies involved, please contact Liz Marshall at Decision Resources at 781-296-2563 or emarshall@dresources.com.

About Decision Resources

Decision Resources is a world leader in research publications, advisory services, and consulting designed to help clients shape strategy, allocate resources, and master their chosen markets. The company has provided strategic information services for more than 30 years, and assesses international pharmaceutical and health care industry trends. Visit Decision Resources at www.DecisionResources.com.

All company, brand, or product names contained in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

PRNewswire/ Dec. 18

SOURCE: Decision Resources

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