Glaxo uncovers quadrivalent flu vax potency problems, pulls it from market
- GlaxoSmithKline is recalling 1.7 million doses of its FluLaval Quadrivalent Thimerosal-Free vaccine after discovering problems with effectiveness.
- According to a report from FiercePharma, a GSK spokesperson said that 99% of the vaccines were distributed in 2014 before their potency began to wane.
- Despite this recent discovery, sales of its quadrivalent flu jabs were strong in the U.S. last year, with $374 million in sales.
Although this news could be alarming, in fact, it should be encouraging, as it demonstrates a high level of awareness around the need to test influenza vaccines for efficacy. Part of this heightened awareness is due to last year's dismal flu vaccine efficacy rates, which the CDC estimated to be roughly 19% last year.
Even in better times, efficacy has faltered. In fact, in the last three years, overall efficacy, as measured by preventing medical visits, has hovered around the 50% mark. GSK will have new jabs available as flu season approaches and is counting on having strong revenues for winter 2015-2016.