Pfizer teams up to lift adult vaccination rates--and Prevnar sales, too

Pfizer ($PFE) may so far have come up blank on the marketed vaccines it hoped to pick up through an AstraZeneca ($AZN) merger. But as it weighs any next M&A-related steps to expand its lineup, it's also embarking on a marketing initiative that could boost uptake of its current star, Prevnar 13.

Freda Lewis-Hall--Courtesy of Pfizer

Along with the American College of Physicians and healthcare service provider CECity, Pfizer announced new plans earlier in May to increase adult immunization numbers by helping docs and other HCPs recommend the right vaccination for patients and track uptake. The pharma giant will help develop, deploy and measure the program, which encourages physicians and others to utilize a cloud-based Adult Immunization Registry, in two pilot states, with hopes of later expanding nationwide.

"By bringing together tremendous expertise in health care, technology and quality improvement, this collaboration can make great strides to address the long-standing public health challenge of vaccinating American adults," Pfizer EVP and Chief Medical Officer Freda Lewis-Hall said in a statement.

As Gregg Sylvester, Pfizer Vaccines' American VP of medical and scientific affairs, told FierceVaccines in an email, a key factor behind the collaboration was U.S. vaccination rates for adults that don't meet the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Healthy People 2020 Goals, which call for 90% of adults over 65 to be immunized against the flu and pneumococcal pneumonia. The current rate falls well below 70%, and despite guidelines and multiple incentive programs, most physicians don't currently have the information they need to close the gap, he said.

By upping physician recommendation--the strongest predictor of vaccination, according to Sylvester--Pfizer may be able to up its sales of Prevnar, which boasts an indication in adults 50 years and older for pneumococcal pneumonia. While the shot led the world vaccine market last year with a sales haul surpassing $4 billion, it so far hasn't had the supporting cast necessary to vault it into serious competition with vaccine heavyweights Sanofi ($SNY), Merck ($MRK) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK)--something Pfizer has been looking to change.

- read the release

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