Government intervention wooed Big Pharma back to loser vaccines that would have otherwise only thrived in totalitarian countries where the health of the government trumps that of the citizen.
Vaccines are hopeless losers, Big Pharma concluded decades ago. In 1985, vaccines represented a mere one quarter of 1 percent of worldwide pharmaceutical sales, making them an all-but-irrelevant segment of the otherwise booming $100-billion-a-year pharmaceutical industry. Vaccines were not only a distraction, keeping Big Pharma from concentrating on developing blockbuster drugs to address major diseases; vaccines were also hurting their bottom line. “All vaccines were losing money,” recalled former CEO Claude Vezeau of IAF BioChem International, Canada’s largest vaccine maker in the 1990s.
To rationalize the pharmaceutical industry, Big Pharma had been ditching vaccine manufacturing. Between 1968 and 1977, more than half of America’s vaccine producers shut their doors. By 1980, just 10 remained, and even those 10 had streamlined their operations by shedding some vaccines in their product lines. By the 1990s, 10 of the 15 childhood vaccines had sole manufacturers, allowing them to raise prices severalfold.
Patricia Adams is an economist and the President of the Energy Probe Research Foundation and Probe International, an independent think tank in Canada and around the world. She is the publisher of internet news services Three Gorges Probe and Odious Debts Online and the author or editor of numerous books. Her books and articles have been translated into Chinese, Spanish, Bengali, Japanese, and Bahasa Indonesia.
Lawrence Solomon is an Epoch Times columnist, author of 7 books, and executive director of the Toronto-based Consumer Policy Institute.