November 14, 1990

British Firm Halts Vaccine Manufacture, Research

JAMA. 1990;264(18):2370. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450180024005

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JUST AS the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund announced its Childhood Vaccine Initiative, with a goal of immunizing 90% of the world's children, one of the manufacturers of the vaccines that could make this possible is going out of business.

The Wellcome Company, Beckenham, England, has announced that its Wellcome Biotech Division will no longer manufacture vaccines and research new biological products. "Too much litigation and too little profit," comments A. J. Beale, MD, Wellcome Biotech. The decision leaves Britain with only one vaccine manufacturer.

The company was one of the defendants in what has become a landmark legal suit in Britain alleging neurological damage caused by the diphtheriatetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine. The judgment, handed down in March 1988, was in the company's favor.

In Britain, the company is one of the major suppliers of oral polio vaccine and is the sole supplier of the DTP vaccine. It also manufactures