Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: the Seacoast of Bohemia
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Vaccines are apparently tricky to manufacture, so even when the patents are old, there aren't likely to be new companies coming in. However there may be competition from India and China.
The main approaches to keeping the vaccine business super profitable are creating combo vaccines and coming up with new vaccines. The combo vaccines really do seem to be more dangerous, however, and covering up and denying problems can be a hassle for the poor dears. New vaccines also have their tricky side. Most likely they are for diseases where marketing is an uphill battle--see HPV--because the disease is not well-known or the benefit takes 30 or 40 years to become visible (that is sort of an advantage, as it is hard to tell if the vaccine works, but a disadvantage because it is hard to convince someone that something far in the future is a serious threat) OR for diseases which are horrible, but quite rare. There was a meningitis vaccine that the CDC was having a hard time swallowing (amazing!) because it might save 25 lives a year but would cost $400 million.