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February 15, 1995

Efforts to Raise Supply of Two Prophylactic Agents

JAMA. 1995;273(7):530. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520310024020

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WORLD EVENTS and a jump in immunizations have led to shortages of two prophylactic agents—pneumococcal vaccine and intramuscularly administered immunoglobulin (Gammar, Armour Pharmaceutical, Collegeville, Pa).

Shortages of both began to show up last summer. That of immunogobulin is likely to remain acute until the vaccine against hepatitis A is licensed. That of pneumococcal vaccine may be alleviated shortly, thanks to increased munufacture, but the lack has slowed efforts by the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) to push immunization.

The shortage is largely due to physicians' increased use of this vaccine. Sales rose from 1.5 million doses in 1990 to 3.5 million in 1993, with another 70% increase in orders for 1994, Steve Hadler, MD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the National Vaccine Program's advisory committee.

Lederle Laboratories, Wayne, NJ, and Merck & Company, West Point, Pa, are the only licensed manufacturers of pneumococcal vaccine. Production problems in

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