US Senators Call on GSK to Address Shortage of Shingles Vaccine Shingrix

By Akia Thorpe -

July 10, 2018

US Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) have sent a letter calling on Emma Walmsley, Chief Executive Officer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), to take action to alleviate a shortage of its shingles vaccine, Shingrix (recombinant zoster vaccine). The US Food and Drug Administration approved Shingrix in October 2017.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all healthy adults over the age of 50 receive GSK’s Shingrix vaccine, but according to the senators’ letter dated June 29, 2018, recent reports indicate that healthcare providers are having difficulty obtaining necessary quantities of the vaccine and are experiencing shipping delays for their orders.

“We urge you to examine what more GSK can do to end the shortage as quickly as possible and to develop a comprehensive plan for maintaining adequate production and distribution of Shingrix moving forward,” the senators wrote in their letter dated June 29, 2018.

“While we appreciate that there is high demand for this product, we are concerned that GSK did not appear to prepare contingency plans to ensure that sufficient supplies would be available for all patients who fall within the CDC’s recommended guidelines,” said the senators in their letter. “This shortage is particularly concerning because the vaccine consists of two doses administered two to six months apart. As a result, some patients may be unable to complete the full Shingrix regimen within the recommended timeframe.”

The senators asked that GSK end the shortage as soon as possible and develop a comprehensive plan for maintaining adequate production and distribution of Shingrix moving forward. They requested a written response from the company to detail the specific timeframes in which it expects to lift current limits on orders of Shingrix and to resolve shipping delays in the US.

Source: Office of US Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota