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Flu-shot debacle: Blame government
OC Register ^ | 10/19/04 | Op/Ed

Posted on 10/19/2004 8:35:17 AM PDT by NormsRevenge

The fact that at least some batches of this year's flu vaccine, manufactured by Chiron in England, have turned up contaminated and thus will not be allowed to be used in the United States has created something of a crisis. The United States is now short some 48 million doses of flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 36,000 people die every year from flu, even when vaccine is available. So tens of thousands of people are probably at risk.

What caused what could well become an annual vaccine crisis? In a nutshell, too much litigation, too much regulation and government price controls.

The first factor is the decline in the number of vaccine makers. "From 1967 to 1984, the number of U.S. vaccine manufacturers fell from 37 to 15, while the number of licensed vaccines declined from 380 to 88,"...

---snip---

Why has this happened? An important reason is litigation, a trend which came to a head about 10 years ago in regard to pediatric vaccines.

---snip---

Another factor is regulation.

---snip---

In 1994, in the early years of the Clinton administration, the government, largely through the involvement of then-first lady Hillary Clinton, decided to do something about the declining availability of vaccine for children. Unfortunately, as Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, a think tank specializing in health policy issues, reminded us, the Vaccines for Children program, set up in 1994, consisted of making the government the purchaser of 60 percent of vaccine for children - at deeply discounted prices. This made vaccine manufacturing even less profitable - or money-losing for some companies - and more companies simply got out of the business.

(Excerpt) Read more at ocregister.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: blame; clinton; debacle; flushot; government; hillary; litigation; meddling

1 posted on 10/19/2004 8:35:18 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge; All
Here's the basic info on that:

Flu Vaccine Crisis- Government Cure, or Government Problem?  P.J. O'Rourke said it best:
If you think medical care is expensive now, just wait 'till it's "free..."

2 posted on 10/19/2004 8:40:45 AM PDT by backhoe (Just a Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the Trackball into the Dawn of Information...)
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To: backhoe

Thanks, I was gonna fyi ya on this but ya beat me to it. ;-)


3 posted on 10/19/2004 8:41:48 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ...... The War on Terrorism is the ultimate 'faith-based' initiative.)
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To: NormsRevenge

4 posted on 10/19/2004 8:43:19 AM PDT by backhoe (Just a Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the Trackball into the Dawn of Information...)
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To: NormsRevenge

Here's your October Surprise, folks. Surprise to both sides, I might say, but guess who's benefitting. It's getting ugly out there, and the sheeple wouldn't be sheeple if they could comprehend the reasons for the shortage of manufacturers. It would be a nasty surprise if the election turned on the shortage on the flu vaccine. Wait and see...


5 posted on 10/19/2004 8:46:51 AM PDT by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything!")
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To: NormsRevenge
An important reason is litigation, a trend which came to a head about 10 years ago in regard to pediatric vaccines.

Is that true with the flu vaccine? Its my understanding that companies don't want to produce it as its not a big profit maker as they have to throw away unused doses. So its either make a lot and get stuck with returns, or make not enough and then get bad publicity.
6 posted on 10/19/2004 9:04:03 AM PDT by lelio
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To: NormsRevenge

How quickly we forget last years hysterical media rants. Counting the deaths from the flu. In the end there were no more deaths than in previous years. Made for unnecessary panic amongst the sheeple.


7 posted on 10/19/2004 9:28:03 AM PDT by OldFriend (It's the soldier, not the reporter who has given US freedom of the press)
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To: lelio
How U.S. Got Down to Two Makers Of Flu Vaccine

Some excerpts:

"Even under the best circumstances, vaccines have never been very attractive investments. The global market for them is about $6 billion a year, compared with $340 billion for drugs. Thirty years ago, more than a dozen companies made flu shots. Five years ago, the number was down to four." ...

"The vaccine is made of a weakened strain of virus of each type. Generally, at least one strain each year undergoes so much mutation that it needs to be replaced by an "updated" version in the next year's vaccine. Consequently, a new flu vaccine formula has to be drawn up each year. That's just one reason flu vaccine isn't very popular with vaccine makers. There are others." ...

"The waste is particularly hard for vaccine makers to stomach because their profit margin is small. Flu shots are essentially commodities -- identical products made by numerous companies and differing only in price. Because much of the vaccine is bought in huge orders by government agencies, the price is low." ...

"Gregory Poland, of the Mayo Clinic, favors a system of incentives: Vaccine makers would make a given number of doses of flu vaccine for the private market at their own risk; a given number for government purchase; and an additional amount that the government would agree to buy back at a specified price if there were unsold stocks at the end of the season. Other experts agree that only some form of direct government incentive is likely to solve the problem of a small and vulnerable manufacturing base."

8 posted on 10/19/2004 11:25:15 AM PDT by cogitator
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To: lelio

As a follow-up to the article excerpt, profit margin appears to be the problem with flu vaccine. Litigation has been a factor in the production of other vaccines.


9 posted on 10/19/2004 11:27:21 AM PDT by cogitator
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