Profits from vaccines - Mothering Forums
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Vaccinations > Profits from vaccines
Rrrrrachel's Avatar Rrrrrachel 04:16 PM 11-22-2012

I thought this deserved it's own Godwin-free thread.

 

Do companies that manufacture vaccines make large profits?  Yes.  But that's not the whole story.  Vaccines are held to much higher safety standards than most drugs.  The financial impact of extra-stringent prelicensure testing is huge, and the market for vaccines is relatively small compared to other drugs.  The proof is int he pudding: in the last 50 years the number of companies making vaccines has dropped from in the mid twenties to just five.  If vaccines were SO profitable, why are companies abandoning the practice of making them?

 

Of the four largest of these five companies, none of them make more than 10% of their total revenue from vaccines.  In recent years drug companies have stopped making vaccines with little to no impact on their bottom line, leading to vaccine shortages.

 

Even though almost everyone gets a vaccine, they only get them a handful of times in a lifetime.  Compare that to a blood pressure medication that a large number of people take every day for decades. The market for vaccines, even with vaccine mandates, are much smaller than for other drugs.  The highest revenue generating vaccines is Prevnar.  It has an annual gross of around 1 billion dollars.  While that's a lot of money, a drug for a common condition like high cholesterol or impotence could easily gross 7 times that or more.

 

 

 

If you think about something like blood pressure medication, again, a doctor has a wide range of medications to choose from for a particular patient, the market is so large that multiple companies make similar drugs, or even the same companies make multiple drugs, and they can still make huge profits off of them.  The market for vaccines is so small companies don't bother with a competing product once one has been established.

 

The price of vaccines is also effectively controlled by the fact that the largest single purchaser of vaccines is the government.  The CDC vaccines for children program purchases 50-60% of all vaccines.  they get a very low rate on their vaccines per dose, and even though the "private market" price per dose is higher, it's kept artificially low by the price the government pays.  You can see how much the CDC pays and how much the private market pay per dose of various vaccines here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/cdc-vac-price-list.htm

 

The requirements for testing vaccines, because they're given to healthy children, are huge and much more stringent than for other drugs.  The blow back for even extremely rare adverse events is also much worse.  The rotovirus vaccine was tested in pre-licensure trials that included 140,000 children and cost 400 million dollars.  That's an investment in a vaccine before they even knew if it would make it to market.

 

Contrary to what you hear around here, vaccine makers do face liability for vaccines.  Families who are dissatisfied with the outcome of NVICP can opt out and take their case to a jury instead.  Vaccines that aren't recommended for all children aren't covered under NVICP.  NVICP was developed after drug companies virtually had to stop making vaccines in the face of lawsuits over bogus adverse effects.

 

Yes, vaccines make a lot of money.  Prevnar grosses 1 billion a year and that's a lot of money.  But if you're a vaccine manufacturer and you can devote r&d and manufacturing dollars and space to a vaccine, with relatively modest profits and much higher obligations in terms of safety testing and greater potential liability, or a drug which could make you ten times as much money with a smaller investment, it doesn't seem like it's worth defrauding the public in order to keep making the vaccine vs. the drug.



Rrrrrachel's Avatar Rrrrrachel 07:09 PM 11-22-2012

Here's some more stats: the vaccine market is around 8 billion total.  The pharmaceutical industry in general is worth over 600 billion.  a vaccine costs 300-800 million to develop.


Mirzam's Avatar Mirzam 08:33 PM 11-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrrrachel View Post

Here's some more stats: the vaccine market is around 8 billion total.  The pharmaceutical industry in general is worth over 600 billion.  a vaccine costs 300-800 million to develop.

Wrong. The vaccine market is around $27 billion (Kalorama). This article estimates it to be 52 billion in 2016 and are very bullish about the industry.

 

http://blogs.terrapinn.com/vaccinenation/2011/09/13/vaccine-market-forecasted-double-years/

 

 

 

Quote:
These days industries that promise to double in value in the next five years are few and far between, but the vaccine market looks to be one of the best opportunities within the next decade. According to a new report fromcompaniesandmarkets.com, the value of the vaccine market is supposed to double from its 2007 value of $24.5 billion to a 2016 estimate of $52 billion. In today’s economy that has to be one of the most attractive outlooks for an industry.

pek64's Avatar pek64 09:01 PM 11-22-2012
Totally off topic, but I really want to know -- if almost all people get vaccinated (as said in post #1), then why bother trying to convince those rare few that don't vax that they should vax? It seems to me to be a waste of time.
Mirzam's Avatar Mirzam 09:12 PM 11-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Totally off topic, but I really want to know -- if almost all people get vaccinated (as said in post #1), then why bother trying to convince those rare few that don't vax that they should vax? It seems to me to be a waste of time.

It does doesn't! There is absolutely nothing anyone could post here that would ever convice me to vax my children or myself.


Chicharronita's Avatar Chicharronita 10:54 PM 11-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Totally off topic, but I really want to know -- if almost all people get vaccinated (as said in post #1), then why bother trying to convince those rare few that don't vax that they should vax? It seems to me to be a waste of time.

 

Not necessarily. I think that many people who vaccinate do what their doctors tell them without thinking about it very much.

 

And even if they might be slightly on the fence, the ridicule and censure that the pharmaceutical industry and its mouthpiece the mainstream media heap on vaccine questioners may make them think twice about joining social pariahs (like Andrew Wakefield).

 

The industry's fear is that the minority of people who research and reject vaccines will start influencing the majority. 

 

I think the other fear is that if more people start rejecting vaccines for general good health, what else can mainstream doctors offer? There's very little in their tool kit besides meds and vaccines.

 

Most doctors don't care about what you eat or what your kids eat for that matter (at least that's my experience with pediatricians). But they sure are adamant that you get vaccines!


Taximom5's Avatar Taximom5 06:24 AM 11-23-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrrrachel View Post



Even though almost everyone gets a vaccine, they only get them a handful of times in a lifetime.  Compare that to a blood pressure medication that a large number of people take every day for decades.

A handful of times?

Let's take another lookat the CDC schedule: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/downloads/parent-ver-sch-0-6yrs.pdf

By the age of 6, children have received 36 doses of vaccines on the pediatric schedule.

DTaP is given again at age 11, with boosters every 10 years. Since the pertussis component efficacy is poor, a new vaccine is likely to be added.

3 doses of Gardasil are given the same year. Since efficacy appears to be 4-6 years, boosters will have to be given.

So is meningococcal, with another dose at 18.

Flu shots are given yearly--forever. Even if you only get the flu shot and nothing else, that's 26 vaccines by the age of 25.

So we're looking at at receiving 53 vaccines by the age of 18, with at least one additional vaccine every year.

That is not a handful.

Comparing vaccines to blood pressure medicine is not a valid comparison. Blood pressure medication is not given to the entire population, it's not mandated, and it's not given to healthy people. People who don't take blood pressure medication aren't denied medical care or schooling.
Rrrrrachel's Avatar Rrrrrachel 07:44 AM 11-23-2012
The market for vaccines is much smaller than the drug market, taxi. I'm not sure what school entry requirements has to do with it.
Rrrrrachel's Avatar Rrrrrachel 07:52 AM 11-23-2012
And when I say a vaccine is given a handful of times, I mean each vaccine. Since that's the relevant information to a manufacturer considering whether to devote resources to vaccines vs a drug. If we wanted to compare the number of times a person receives any vaccine in their lifetime to the number of times they take any drug I think the fifty some number will get dwarfed pretty quickly.
kathymuggle's Avatar kathymuggle 07:54 AM 11-23-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrrrachel View Post

 

 

Yes, vaccines make a lot of money.  Prevnar grosses 1 billion a year and that's a lot of money.  But if you're a vaccine manufacturer and you can devote r&d and manufacturing dollars and space to a vaccine, with relatively modest profits and much higher obligations in terms of safety testing and greater potential liability, or a drug which could make you ten times as much money with a smaller investment, it doesn't seem like it's worth defrauding the public in order to keep making the vaccine vs. the drug.

 

I spent the last day or so wondering why people were arguing over vaccine profits.  To me it is pretty clear cut:  vaccines make a lot of money but they do not generate a significant portion (relative to other drugs) of total pharmaceutical revenue.  Anyone disagree?

 

I think the clincher comes with the last line, above.

 

In order to sort out whether the last line is true (and any implications that may have) we need to define fraud and talk about ethics.

 

My 2cents.gif:

 

Do I think Big Pharm engages in defrauding the public?

 

 

fraud/frôd/

 
Noun:
  1. Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.
  2. A person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.

 

I doubt they engage in fraud more than any other corporation, which is not saying much as I don't really trust corporations to have my best interest at heart.  I think the bottom line for most corporations is the bottom line - and that is about that. History and current events are filled with stories of corporations doing what is best for them (and not the consumer).   With products such as paint brushes - it is not such a big deal:   if the bristles come out before they are supposed to, I am out a few bucks.  With vaccines it is a very big deal - we are talking injecting a healthy newborn with a drug.

 

Things that I do not like about the vaccine industry:

- most testing of vaccines is done by those who are going to profit from vaccines

-vaccine manufacturers sit on advisory boards (oh the nepotism and conflict-of-interest)

-I would not be surprised if vaccine manufacturers are more likely to publish studies that show them in a good light versus other studies - but this is a hunch

-I do not think summaries or information fed to the public is always as clear as it should be, or contains the proper information to help people make decisions.  One example would be some of the wording around control groups.  People often think a control group gets a saline injection or sugar pill (i.e the control group is unvaxxed) when in reality the control group is often receiving a different vax or a vaccine minus the thing in the study, such as thimerosal.

 

 

Is all the above "fraud?"  Probably not.  I might be considered snowing the public, though.  Both are unethical and do not build trust in my eyes - but one is chargeable in court and one is not.  I figure vaccine manufacturers are smart enough they can figure out how to snow the public without repeatedly landing in court. winky.gif

 

I also suspect many vaccine manufacturers (like in other industries) do not consider what they are doing as fraud or unethical.  Their bottom line is the bottom line, and they probably believe in their product - hence they see no issues with doing what they can to get their product into the arms and thighs of the world.  

 

Do I think the amount of money someone makes off a product make them more or less inclined to indulge in fraud?

 

Not really.  If you are the sort of corporation that commits fraud, you will do it for 1 billion dollars, as you would do it for 300 billion dollars.  It is your modus operandi…and that sort of company ethic is not going to change because the dollar amount does.

 

As per implication of whether or not Big Pharm is trying to defraud the public…I think the implications are large, but not (perhaps) as large as some would think.

 

Main reasons for non-vax:

-personal negative experience with vaccines

-health system that is holistic in nature - perhaps they are more naturopathic in general, perhaps they are simply trying to minimize pharmaceuticals...

-religious or spiritual reasons

-are not happy with the science they have seen.  

 

Really, in only the last one, would trust issues with Big Pharm be a influencing factor.  Even then…it is not always a dominant issue.  These things have weight.  For some people they might straight up not believe anything mainstream media prints, but I doubt that is the majority. I tend to use mainstream statistics as a baseline.  If the VIS for measles says the seizure rate post vaccine is 1/3000 I treat that as a baseline figure.  A  VIS is pro -vaccine, it is not going to artificially inflate reaction rates.   Without question, the resource I turn to the most often, and that has caused me to question vaccines the most, is the CDC pink book.  


Rrrrrachel's Avatar Rrrrrachel 08:39 AM 11-23-2012
It just seems to come up a lot that "big pharm" is hiding research and misleading the public in order to protect their buckets of money that they get from making vaccines.
Mirzam's Avatar Mirzam 09:32 AM 11-23-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrrrachel View Post

It just seems to come up a lot that "big pharm" is hiding research and misleading the public in order to protect their buckets of money that they get from making vaccines.

They are misleading the public to protect a whole house of cards, that if when it comes crashing down their entire empire and those connected with it will be exposed as hoaxters. It is beginning to happen.

 

OT alert, the breast cancer scam has just been exposed, 30 years of mammograms and 1.3 million women wrongly treated (some probably killed). Now that is a huge chunk of change.

 

Study: Effect of three decades of screening mammography on breast cancer incidence


prosciencemum's Avatar prosciencemum 02:54 AM 11-26-2012

I was at the British Museum recently and reminded of an exhibit they have there which seems relevant to this thread. 

 

It's called "Cradle to Grave", by Phamacopoeia (link to online description). Here's a little snippet from the description

 

 

 

Quote:
The contemporary art installation Cradle to Grave dates from 2003, and was made by Susie Freeman, a textile artist, David Critchley, a video artist, and Dr Liz Lee, who is a GP. Together they call themselves Pharmacopoeia. The installation explores our approach to health in Britain today. The piece incorporates a lifetime's supply of prescribed drugs sewn into two lengths of textile, drawn from the composite medical histories of four women and four men.

 

 Here's a picture of the artists with the exhibit. Basically it's all the drugs a typical person in Britain takes in a lifetime sewn into a length of fabric. As you can see it's absolutely massive. It's 14 metres long.

 

 

 

There's more about how they made it here (http://www.pharmacopoeia-art.net/articles/in-sickness-and-in-health/) which also talks about how they added childhood immunizations (and includes the below picture of the bit representing them). 

 

 

 

For me this illustrates why drugs other than childhood vaccines (which are represented in syringes at the beginning of the fabric) are the main money earners for pharmaceutical companies, much better than any statistics.


pek64's Avatar pek64 04:02 AM 11-26-2012
But if vaccinations are causing chronic health issues, solved by drugs, then indirectly they (the vaccines) are generating profit.
kathymuggle's Avatar kathymuggle 06:01 AM 11-26-2012

Wow, thanks for the link, prosciencemom.

 

For me the image shows how we are such a pharmaceutical culture.  Vaccines are a part of this.   This gives me less reassurance that vaccines are safe - can a culture that is so in love with pharmaceuticals objectively judge whether a vaccines is necessary?  

 

ETA:  the link said the average person in the UK took 14 000 prescribes pills in their lifetime (the installation does not include OTC meds).  


Rrrrrachel's Avatar Rrrrrachel 06:46 AM 11-26-2012
Pek you're right there and that comes up every once in awhile around here. I think it's important to note that if that's what you believe, you are accusing thousands of people of conspiring not just to cover up information on a product they believe is safe but isn't, but actually creating, testing, and injecting a product into healthy children that they know will cause lifelong harm. I don't believe that's possible.

There is also no evidence that vaccines cause life long medical conditions except in the case of very rare serious adverse events. The overwhelming majority of Americans get vaccines. What percentage have a life long medical condition?
Mirzam's Avatar Mirzam 07:11 AM 11-26-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrrrachel View Post

Pek you're right there and that comes up every once in awhile around here. I think it's important to note that if that's what you believe, you are accusing thousands of people of conspiring not just to cover up information on a product they believe is safe but isn't, but actually creating, testing, and injecting a product into healthy children that they know will cause lifelong harm. I don't believe that's possible.

There is also no evidence that vaccines cause life long medical conditions except in the case of very rare serious adverse events. The overwhelming majority of Americans get vaccines. What percentage have a life long medical condition?

From the CDC"

 

Over the last 10 years, the percentage of Americans who took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44% to 48%. The use of two or more drugs increased from 25% to 31%. The use of five or more drugs increased from 6% to 11%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are clearly a nation of very unhealthy people.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db42.htm


Rrrrrachel's Avatar Rrrrrachel 07:24 AM 11-26-2012
Even if you ascribe ALL of those conditions to "vaccine damage," why are half the people no get vaccines not on medication, then? Why the big gap? The gap gets even bigger if you consider many of those conditions (in my opinion most, but I have nothing to back that up) are caused by obesity and bad diets.

I don't know that we're so unhealthy. Some of those medications are for things like insomnia, which while requiring medication doesn't exactly make you unhealthy. People are also living longer than they used to, which means they have more time to acquire conditions that require medication.
Mirzam's Avatar Mirzam 07:42 AM 11-26-2012

An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease

 

 

 
Reported Cases of Common Chronic Diseases 2003 
Millions (As percent of population)
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Cancers: 10.6 (3.6%)
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Diabetes: 13.7 (4.7%)
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Heart Disease: 19.1 (6.6%)
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Hypertension: 36.8 (12.6%)
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Stroke: 2.4 (0.8%)
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Mental Disorders: 30.3 (10.4%)
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Pulmonary Conditions: 49.2 (16.9%)
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Total Reported Cases: 162.2 (55.8%)

Rrrrrachel's Avatar Rrrrrachel 07:47 AM 11-26-2012
There math is a little funny there. I'm not sure you can just add all those up, since there are people who fall in more than one category. Interesting how many of those are considered to be caused primarily by weight and diet.
Mirzam's Avatar Mirzam 07:56 AM 11-26-2012

I am sure diet and lifestyle have a great deal to do with the nation's ill health, as I am sure over vaccination does too.

 

Epidemiology and estimated population burden of selected autoimmune diseases in the United States

 

 

 

Quote:
From the incidence data we estimate that 237,203 Americans will develop an autoimmune disease in 1996 and that approximately 1,186,015 new cases of these autoimmune diseases occur in the United States every 5 years. Women were at 2.7 times greater risk than men to acquire an autoimmune disease. After reviewing the medical literature for incidence and prevalence rates of 24 autoimmune diseases, we conclude that many autoimmune diseases are infrequently studied by epidemiologists. As a result the total burden of disease may be an underestimate. 

 

 

#OneMan'sBurdenIsAnotherMan'sProfit

 


kathymuggle's Avatar kathymuggle 07:58 AM 11-26-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrrrachel View Post

Pek you're right there and that comes up every once in awhile around here. I think it's important to note that if that's what you believe, you are accusing thousands of people of conspiring not just to cover up information on a product they believe is safe but isn't, but actually creating, testing, and injecting a product into healthy children that they know will cause lifelong harm. I don't believe that's possible.
Not necessarily.

 

Reaping the benfit of does not equal set out to cause.


prosciencemum's Avatar prosciencemum 08:05 AM 11-26-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

 

Reaping the benfit of does not equal set out to cause.

 

I don't think Rrrrrachel is saying they are being accused of having developed vaccines specifically to damage children, just that they are being accused of conspiring to hide evidence that the vaccines they have developed are more dangerous than good. That is what it boils down to right? 


Rrrrrachel's Avatar Rrrrrachel 08:23 AM 11-26-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

Reaping the benfit of does not equal set out to cause.

If you're accusing them of being motivated by profit, and getting that profit by causing life long medical conditions, you may not be accusing them as having set out intentionally int hat path,but you're certainly accusing them of knowingly traveling on it.
Bokonon's Avatar Bokonon 09:11 AM 11-26-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrrrachel View Post


If you're accusing them of being motivated by profit, and getting that profit by causing life long medical conditions, you may not be accusing them as having set out intentionally int hat path,but you're certainly accusing them of knowingly traveling on it.

 

So what if one does?  If that's what one believes, why can't it be stated?  


Rrrrrachel's Avatar Rrrrrachel 09:14 AM 11-26-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post

So what if one does?  If that's what one believes, why can't it be stated?  
I don't care what you state. I was just responding to what Kathy said.
beckybird's Avatar beckybird 09:58 AM 11-26-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrrrachel View Post

Pek you're right there and that comes up every once in awhile around here. I think it's important to note that if that's what you believe, you are accusing thousands of people of conspiring not just to cover up information on a product they believe is safe but isn't, but actually creating, testing, and injecting a product into healthy children that they know will cause lifelong harm. I don't believe that's possible.
 

Your belief.


kathymuggle's Avatar kathymuggle 10:03 AM 11-26-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrrrachel View Post


If you're accusing them of being motivated by profit, and getting that profit by causing life long medical conditions, you may not be accusing them as having set out intentionally int hat path,but you're certainly accusing them of knowingly traveling on it.

I think most in the vaccine industry genuinely believe in their product.  I think most of them are looking at large scale number - i.e. public health (whereas I am more interested in my families health) I think a lot of the information that is disseminated to the public is very careful to shine a pro-vax light on things, as they worry about scaring people away from vaxxing.

 

 

As per Big Pharm, they are profit motivated corporations.  Of course they try and display themselves and their product in a good light.  I dont really trust them to have individuals best interests at heart, which is no different from how I feel about many corporations.  If that makes me a conspiracy theorist in some peoples eyes, so be it.  It would be a pretty loose interpretation of the word.


Rrrrrachel's Avatar Rrrrrachel 12:14 PM 11-26-2012
I don't consider your position to be a conspiracy theory, Kathy. It is not one of the more extreme ones around, though. You're right that public health officials are cautious about anything that might scare people away from vaccinating.

Becky - yup. Hence my use of the word belief. Purely my opinion, ymmv.
pek64's Avatar pek64 01:36 PM 11-26-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrrrachel View Post

Pek you're right there and that comes up every once in awhile around here. I think it's important to note that if that's what you believe, you are accusing thousands of people of conspiring not just to cover up information on a product they believe is safe but isn't, but actually creating, testing, and injecting a product into healthy children that they know will cause lifelong harm. I don't believe that's possible.
There is also no evidence that vaccines cause life long medical conditions except in the case of very rare serious adverse events. The overwhelming majority of Americans get vaccines. What percentage have a life long medical condition?

It took me quite a while to get back to this thread, and there's lots below this post I'm quoting.

I threw that out there as a devil's advocate thing. But the tobacco industry covered up knowledge that their products were harmful, and they denied marketing to children with a cute cartoon camel. That the pharmaceutical industry could repeat those actions doesn't seem farfetched. And it doesn't take an organized conspiracy. Just lots of people who put profit ahead of health of others.
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