SOURCE: Kalorama Information

Kalorama Information

October 29, 2009 16:06 ET

Vaccine Sales Don't Just Benefit Drug Makers

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 29, 2009) - Highly publicized vaccine products not only boost the bottom lines of pharmaceutical companies, but also benefit insurance companies, doctors and retailers with their businesses, according to analysis of the recent flu vaccine season by life science market research publisher Kalorama Information. Kalorama estimates there is a multi-billion dollar market from ancillary products sold as a result of vaccines -- from office visit copays, retail clinic fees, and indirect shopping revenue. None of these dollars are earned by drug giants, and the market is in addition to the intangible public relations benefits that many healthcare organizations realized from flu shots this year.

"Among the reasons vaccines are a popular play now in Pharma is that makers can count on many partners in the distribution process," said Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. "The flu vaccine had demonstrated that retailers, providers and insurance companies all have incentives to piggyback off of the focus on vaccine products, and we expect that to be the same with new products."

While attention is focused on the revenues that large drug makers such as GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis may earn directly from selling their H1N1 vaccines, Kalorama estimates that there was an ancillary services and products market of nearly $5 billion in the U.S. from this year's seasonal flu vaccine -- likely more than any firm will earn from the products themselves. These revenues could be seen once again if H1N1 vaccines meet demand and are received as well as makers indicate they will be, based on early orders.

Ancillary revenues are earned by retail drugstore chains in the form of flu clinic fees, as well as purchases from customers visiting the store for the flu shot. Walgreen's, the nation's largest drugstore chain, administered 2.5 million seasonal flu shots by the end of September, according to the company in other media outlets. Rite Aid, CVS, Kroger, Target Pharmacy and other chains also held flu clinics. Kalorama estimates that drug chains earned at least $200 million from direct fees, but also an estimated $250 million in indirect revenues in the form of purchases by customers who came to the store to obtain a shot and would not have visited otherwise. In this particular analysis, Kalorama did not include products such as syringes or needle-free injectors, which are known to be selling briskly this season, and instead concentrated on distribution-related service revenues.

Kalorama's conservative estimate of an ancillary services and products market assumes that most U.S. physicians saw at least one extra patient visit due to the vaccine availability. While most doctors depend on copay revenue to finance office operations, Kalorama notes that this does not mean doctors are profiting handsomely from vaccine copays.

"Doctor visits were down as a result of the recession, according to several surveys, and in general Americans do not follow the most advisable schedule of doctor visits, so if anything it is making up for unrealized revenue," said Carlson. "It's fair to say that anything that gets a patient into a doctor's office -- where there could be consultation about weight, blood sugar or other issues -- can be viewed as a good thing."

In addition to these ancillary revenues, a publicized health event such as the H1N1 vaccine offers an opportunity for insurance companies to develop an improved image. Wellpoint, Anthem Blue Health and many Blue Cross Blue Shield organizations nationwide are waiving copays for their insured members who receive the H1N1 vaccine. According to Kalorama, while waiving copays does not bring cash in the door, it does allow a major insurance company to build its image with its employer customers and also with the end-users at those companies in a way that would take a lot of advertising to accomplish.

Kalorama Information's "Vaccines 2009: World Market Analysis, Key Players, and Critical Trends in a Fast-Changing Industry" contains estimates, forecasts and competitive analysis of the vaccine market and can be found at:

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