HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Next Year's Flu Vaccine - Already Looking Shaky

Although not as alarming as the bird flu news that we keep hearing, according to AMNews, doctors are reporting difficulty in securing flu vaccine supply for next fall.   The AMNews reports,

At press time, neither sanofi pasteur, formerly Aventis Pasteur, which usually makes more than half the flu vaccine supply, or FFF Enterprises, a large distributor based in Temecula, Calif., was taking pre-bookings. And, although Henry Schein, another large distributor based in Melville, N.Y., was doing so, it offered no guarantee, noting that if a new round of problems were to occur, the company would use this information to direct supplies to those who need it the most.

Ultimately, the situation is the domino-effect result of the 2004-05 season, which began with an expected vaccine surplus of nearly 100 million doses that was transformed into a shortage when Chiron Corp. withdrew from the market amid contamination problems. The impact now is an unusually high level of marketplace uncertainty. . . . .    "We don't know if Chiron will come back. There are other companies that may be in the market," said Kit-Bacon Gressit, FFF spokeswoman. "We will be able to provide product. The question is, which product?"

The article seems to imply that all should be well as soon as this supplier issue is worked out.  I hope that they are correct.  [bm]

On a slightly related note, the New York Times reports today on a scientific protest to the current Administration's germ-research policy.  The article states,

More than 700 scientists sent a petition on Monday to the director of the National Institutes of Health protesting what they said was the shift of tens of millions of dollars in federal research money since 2001 away from pathogens that cause major public health problems to obscure germs the government fears might be used in a bioterrorist attack.

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