Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Functional Withdrawal, "By Stealth?" Merck Hepatitis A and B Vaccines To Remain Off-Market In 2011

Merck quietly updated -- and lengthened -- the expected outage periods for its Hep A and Hep B vaccines, last week. I simply missed it.

And you probably did too, as it was not so much press released, but rather dumped as a PDF file, on the Investor Relations section of the company's website -- as a far right margin link. Click the image to enlarge it to reading size:

. . . .Recombivax® HB (Hepatitis B Vaccine, Recombinant) | Availability anticipated first half of 2012. . . .

Vaqta® (Hepatitis A Vaccine, Inactivated) | No availability anticipated in 2011. . . .

So, I'll ask once again -- is Merck quietly withdrawing from the Hep A vaccine market, in the United States? And the US Hep B market, as well? Only time will tell. But going on three years -- even if the outages are cleared as indicated above -- is a very long time. It would seem that the complexities of vaccine production alone would not fully explain a nearly 36 month "outage".

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