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FluShield Manufacturer to Send Letter on Price, Allocation

Cheryl A. Thompson

Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals, manufacturer of FluShield, said it is sending all customers except wholesalers and distributors the following letter:

November  , 2000

Dear   ,

I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with an update concerning the delivery and production of Wyeth Lederle Vaccines' influenza vaccine, FluShield. As you are aware, the production and distribution of Flu vaccine continues to be delayed for all manufacturers. The A/Panama (H3N2) strain of the vaccine has been a particularly difficult strain to produce and has resulted in lower than normal yields. Additionally, we continue to address issues that challenge our production efforts this year at our Marietta facility, where FluShield is manufactured. We began distributing this year's vaccine during the week of October 16th.

The CDC issued its Adjunct Influenza Vaccine Use Recommendations for the 2000-2001 Influenza Season in the July 14th issue of MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report). In support of the public health priorities set forth in the CDC guidelines (summary attached hereto) we shipped our first available doses to all nursing home accounts identified in our customer database. With respect to all remaining FluShield doses, we are implementing a fair and equitable allocation by week to all customers who have ordered vaccine from us. We anticipate that we will have shipped 54% of all orders by the end of November and the balance of available doses by the end of December.

As of February 15, 2000 we had established our selling price for FluShield and this price has not changed. We are aware of instances where others are offering FluShield at prices significantly above our selling price. Wyeth has not increased, or otherwise sold any FluShield at prices above those established in February. Further, we have no control over such prices and do not receive any revenue beyond our original selling price.

We support the CDC's guidelines that distribution should go first to those in greatest need. As we cannot determine the level of risk of the patients within your care, we strongly urge that the CDC guidelines to prioritize patients for this vaccine be followed. We have also requested that wholesalers and Distributors distribute FluShield in support of these guidelines.

We want to assure you that we are making every effort to provide you and the public with FluShield as quickly and responsibly as possible. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and appreciate your patience in this matter.



Adjunct Influenza Vaccine Use Recommendations for the 2000-2001 Influenza Season

  • Implementation of organized influenza vaccination campaigns should be delayed.

    Health-care providers, health organization, commercial companies, and other organizations planning organized influenza vaccination campaigns for the 2000-2001 influenza season should delay vaccination campaigns until early to mid-November. The purpose of this recommendation is to minimize cancellations of vaccine campaigns and wastage of vaccine doses resulting from delays in vaccine delivery.
  • Influenza vaccination of persons at high risk for complications from influenza and their close contacts should proceed routinely during regular health-care visits.

    Routine influenza vaccination activities in clinics, offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health-care settings (especially vaccination of persons at high risk for complications from influenza, health-care staff, and other persons in close contact with persons at high risk for complications from influenza) should proceed as normal with available vaccine.
  • Provider-specific contingency plans for an influenza vaccine shortage should be developed.

    All influenza vaccine providers, including health-care systems and organizers of vaccination campaigns, should develop a provider-specific contingency plan to maximize vaccination of high-risk persons and health-care workers. These plans should be available for implementation if a vaccine shortage develops.