Vaccines: The Backbone of the Pharmaceutical Market


William Herbert Foege, an American epidemiologist who played a huge role in the eradication of smallpox during the 1970s, once said ”vaccines are the tugboats of preventative health”. Foege has been proven correct, and as of 2013 one might go so far as to say that vaccines are the tugboats of the entire Pharmaceutical Market. Indeed, according to TechNavio’s Strategic Overview of the Global Preventative Vaccine Market 2012-2016, the overall revenue from the sales of vaccines is now significantly higher than the overall revenue from the sales of drugs. This ratio is becoming even larger as more and more vaccines for adults are developed.

Flashback to one or two decades ago, and most people were under the misconception that vaccines were only meant for children, or people vacationing in under-developed countries. Although the pediatric sector market is still dominant, adult vaccinations now account for close to half of the industry’s annual revenue, and those numbers are rapidly climbing.

The revenue of the adult vaccinations market is divided among five subtypes:

  • Influenza
  • Pneumococcal
  • Cervical
  • Hepatitis
  • Travel

One of the largest market contributors is the newest sector: cervical vaccines, offering protection from HPV. Although the first preventative HPV vaccine wasn’t released until 2006, Gardasil and Cervarex, marketed by Merck and GlaxoSmithKline respectively, are now responsible for almost a quarter of all revenue in the adult preventative vaccines market.

Growing almost just as rapidly are the influenza and pneumococcal sectors. Although flu shots have been around for decades, the H1N1 virus of 2009 prompted fear in a lot of people, and many adults are now opting to receive vaccines to defend against potential influenza pandemics. As for the latter, the increase in the aging population, particularly in the APAC region, has led to great demand for pneumococcal vaccines to defend against infectious diseases.

Despite the overall optimistic forecast, the market for preventative vaccines is heavy in challenges and controversies. The largest obstacle faced by vendors in this industry is the high risk and cost involved in developing vaccines. Millions of dollars and many years must be invested into testing potential vaccines. All this can be for nothing if a vaccination fails its final trial, which unfortunately happens more often than not. Further, the market is often met with resistance and protest from potential end-users who fear the side-effects or ”unnaturalism” of vaccines.

Nevertheless, when it comes to the Vaccine Market, the stakes are extremely high for both vendors and end-users. While pharmaceutical companies reap massive profits from successful vaccines, consumers serve to gain something just as, or even more valuable-that being, the gift of health and life. This simple fact alone should be enough to support the success and continued growth of the Global Preventative Vaccine Market.

For more information, view our Strategic Overview of the Global Preventative Vaccine Market 2012-2016.

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