Sanofi Pasteur Experiences Unprecedented U.S. Demand For Influenza Vaccine For 2006-2007 Influenza Season
SWIFTWATER, Pa., Feb. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Recognizing Sanofi Pasteur Inc. as a reliable supplier of influenza vaccine, immunization providers contacted the company in record numbers yesterday requesting Fluzone(R), Influenza Virus Vaccine for the 2006-2007 season. During the first 30 minutes of accepting prebooking requests, the company received over 40,000 phone calls and more than 200,000 calls came in during the first eight hours.
As a result of the unprecedented demand, the company has committed all influenza vaccine doses planned for production for the next season except its no preservative Fluzone vaccine in pediatric doses.
Sanofi pasteur anticipated a surge in demand for its influenza vaccine and doubled the capacity of its phone lines and on-line ordering systems. Under normal conditions, the company receives an average of 1,500 customer calls per day. During the eight-hour period from noon to 8 PM yesterday, the company received as many calls as it normally receives in a six-month period.
The company plans to produce approximately 50 million doses of all Fluzone vaccine formulations for U.S. distribution by the end of October. Additional doses could be produced for delivery in November or December based on customer needs and production yields. To determine customer need, sanofi pasteur established a waiting list of customers who were unable to prebook and will contact those providers to offer the alternative of accepting later delivery. Customers willing to accept later delivery will have the option to cancel their request later in the year if they are able to obtain earlier delivery from another supplier. At this time, the company is no longer accepting additional customers on the waiting list.
The company is currently unable to supply the entire U.S. influenza vaccine market. However, based on public statements made by other influenza vaccine manufacturers, the company anticipates that there will be an adequate supply of vaccine to meet the nation's needs for the 2006-2007 season. Sanofi pasteur is sending apologies to its customers for the frustration they experienced in attempting to place their requests. Immunization providers who were unable to prebook their vaccine with sanofi pasteur will likely be able to look to other manufacturers to meet their vaccine needs.
In the coming season, sanofi pasteur will once again supply Fluzone vaccine across all segments of the nation's influenza immunization providers. These segments include both public and private sector providers. Private sector providers include large and small physician offices, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, managed care organizations and community immunization providers. Included in the public sector are the military, Veteran's Administration Hospitals, the Vaccines for Children Program and Federal, state, county and city public health departments.
The process of placing prebooking requests for influenza vaccine is a critical step in preparing for the immunization season each year. This process provides an important and early pre-production assessment of the overall demand for the company's projected influenza vaccine supply before manufacturing begins. Sanofi pasteur has consistently increased influenza vaccine production and modified distribution plans in order to keep pace with the nation's growing and changing immunization needs. While sanofi pasteur is committed to supplying influenza vaccine, the company currently does not have the capacity to supply the entire U.S. market.
To help address the longer-term needs of the country, sanofi pasteur has begun construction of a new manufacturing facility that will double its capacity to produce influenza vaccine for both routine influenza immunization and in case of an influenza pandemic. The new facility is expected to come online for the 2008-2009 influenza season.
The sanofi-aventis Group is the world's third-largest pharmaceutical company, ranking number one in Europe. Backed by a world-class R&D organization, sanofi-aventis is developing leading positions in seven major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular disease, thrombosis, oncology, metabolic diseases, central nervous system, internal medicine, and vaccines. The sanofi-aventis Group is listed in Paris and in New York .
Sanofi pasteur, the vaccines business of the sanofi-aventis Group, sold nearly a billion doses of vaccine in 2004, making it possible to protect more than 500 million people across the globe, which is about 1.4 million per day. The company offers the broadest range of vaccines, providing protection against 20 bacterial and viral diseases. For more information, please visit: http://www.sanofipasteur.com
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements include financial projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives and expectations with respect to future operations, products and services, and statements regarding future performance. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words "expect," "anticipates," "believes," "intends," "estimates," "plans" and similar expressions. Although sanofi-aventis' management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, investors are cautioned that forward-looking information and statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of sanofi-aventis, that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include those discussed or identified in the public filings with the SEC and the AMF made by sanofi-aventis, including those listed under "Risk Factors" and "Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" in sanofi-aventis' annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2004. Other than as required by applicable law, sanofi-aventis does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements.
Sanofi-aventis Group subsidiaries in the United States include Sanofi-Synthelabo Inc., Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Sanofi Pasteur Inc.
Contact: sanofi pasteur Len Lavenda sanofi pasteur U.S. Media Relations Tel: 570-839-4446 Len.Lavenda@sanofipasteur.comsanofi pasteur Inc.
CONTACT: Len Lavenda of sanofi pasteur U.S. Media Relations,+1-570-839-4446, Len.Lavenda@sanofipasteur.com
Web site: http://www.sanofipasteur.com/