- U.S. demand for GlaxoSmithKline's Shingrix vaccine has outstripped supply, before the shingles shot has even completed its first year on the market. There will be delays in shipping and order limits throughout 2018.
- In response, the British pharma has increased the U.S. supply for 2018, with plans to "release doses to all customer types on a consistent and predictable schedule for the rest of 2018," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Despite this, the 2018 supply of Shingrix will still be sufficient to vaccinate more patients in 2018 than in 2017.
CEO Emma Walmsley highlighted the vaccine as one of GlaxoSmithKline's crucial near-term opportunities last year.
Shingrix was approved in the U.S. in October 2017. Walmsley predicted that the vaccine could provide around a third of the company's vaccine business' growth. In March, CVS Health's pharmacy unit announced that the vaccine would be available at over 9,800 pharmacies across the country. And in its first full quarter of sales, Shingrix sales were over $150 million, rapidly overtaking Merck & Co.'s Zostavax.
Shingrix has taken off well — almost too well in fact. The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that demand for the vaccine, the CDC's preferred option for shingles prevention, has exceeded supply. The CDC began reporting shortages in May, and GlaxoSmithKline has put order limits in place, according to the agency's website.
Other current vaccine shortages in the U.S. include hepatitis A vaccines, amid increased demand following large outbreaks in adults in 2017, as well as Merck & Co's pediatric and adult monovalent hepatitis B vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration works with manufacturers and suppliers to try to mitigate shortages, and if necessary will make temporary changes in the recommendations for their use.