PHARMACY

Two senators urge GSK to end Shingrix shingles vaccine shortage

BY Sandra Levy

Although GlaxoSmithKline said it has developed a “fair and equitable” process to ship Shingrix, its new shingles vaccine, two U.S. senators are urging the drugmaker do more to increase inventory levels in the wake of a shortage, according to a FiercePharma report.

As of May, more than 1.5 million people have received the vaccine.

Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith wrote to GSK CEO Emma Walmsley asking that she look at “what more GSK can do to end the shortage as quickly as possible.” The senators said it appears that GSK didn’t develop “contingency plans” to ensure enough supply for the important vaccine launch. The senators voiced concern that patients may not be able to complete their recommended schedule of two doses in six months.

In an update with CBS in Minnesota, Sen. Klobuchar said GSK plans to meet with her.

After GSK received approval for Shingrix last fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine advisers recommended Shingrix above Merck’s older Zostavax, which may be one of the reasons the vaccine is in short supply, said the FiercePharma report.

GSK has set up order limits and delays to manage doses, and has delayed such “broad consumer education activities” as TV ads until it can restore inventory levels.

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