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    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

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    Wednesday, October 13, 2004

    Flu Vaccine Update: The CDC is working closely with Aventis Pasteur, the other supplier of flu vaccine for the United States, to make sure the flu vaccine goes where it's needed:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Aventis Pasteur announced today the first phase of the plan to allocate influenza vaccine in response to the recently announced loss of half of the nation's expected flu vaccine supply for the 2004-2005 season. The plan, announced by CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding and Aventis Pasteur US President Damian Braga, calls for CDC to work closely with Aventis to distribute in phases 22.4 million doses of unshipped vaccine to identified areas of need throughout the country.

    Beginning immediately, about 14.2 million doses of vaccine will be allocated over the next 6-8 weeks through Aventis Pasteur contracts directly to high-priority vaccine providers, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and private providers who care for young children.

    Meanwhile, Chiron, the company that had trouble with this year's vaccine batch, received a federal grand jury subpoena to investigate the matter. Does that mean the U.S. Attorney's office in Southern New York thinks this was done intentionally? Evidently::

    Says Robert Salcido, partner at law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: Generally such subpoenas are not issued to "gain leverage in a civil suit. So, when you get a grand jury subpoena, one thing you know is that the investigation has to do with [the potential] violation of criminal laws."

    Not sure what criminal laws those would be, but civil lawsuits might be around the corner:

    And shareholders will almost certainly file civil suits against Chiron in coming months as well. In late September, CEO Pien had commented to a congressional committee as well as to investors at an investment-banking conference that recent manufacturing glitches would not prevent Chiron from meeting expectations for production of 46 million to 48 million flu shot doses. Reports have also surfaced that Chiron had quality control issues with its Liverpool flu-vaccine plant well before this summer.

    ...Distributors and vendors for Chiron's flu shot may also resort to legal action. "Depending on what the contract says, you could anticipate exposure for Chiron," says Salcido.

    I have to confess, I don't understand that, either. Isn't risk an inherent part of investing?


    posted by Sydney on 10/13/2004 08:22:00 AM 0 comments


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