The upcoming flu season is shaping up to be different from 2016 in a
number of key ways. Manufacturers plan to increase flu production, while
more consumers are going to physician offices to receive vaccines. From
a regulatory perspective, this year’s flu season is also different, as
the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updates both its
disaster response plan and adds new measures to its Quality Reporting
HIDA recently released its Influenza Vaccine Production & Distribution Market Brief.
In addition to covering the above developments, the report contains
projections for this year’s season, perspectives from distributors, and a
look at data from the 2016-17 flu season. Here are a few key insights
from the report:
- HHS updates pandemic influenza plan. In June, HHS
released an updated version of its Pandemic Influenza Plan. In this
plan, HHS said it wants to explore “modernizing medical countermeasure
distribution” by drawing on distributors’ expertise and looking at
patterns of consumer demand. To achieve this goal, the agency plans to
focus on a number of areas over the coming decade, including improving
access to diagnostic devices, vaccines, and therapeutics.
- Manufacturers predict increase in vaccine production.
Manufacturers predict 161 million doses of injectable flu vaccine will
be produced for the upcoming flu season. They expected to produce
between 157 million and 168 million doses last year, but as of March 3
of this year had only shipped 145.9 million doses.
- Physician offices see uptick in flu vaccinations. Physician
offices continue to be the primary site for patient vaccination, with
37.4% of adults and 65.3% of children being vaccinated at these sites,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These rates
are both up from last year, when 33% of adults and 63.7% of children
were vaccinated at a doctor’s office. Drug stores and the workplace were
places where adults commonly received their flu shot, while children
often received their shots at clinics or school.
- CMS adds two new flu vaccine reporting measures. As
part of the agency’s Quality Reporting Program, the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has introduced a reporting measure
for healthcare personnel who work with patients who have end stage
kidney disease. The agency also introduced a measure that tracks the
percentage of patients six months or older who are given or have already
received a flu vaccine in clinician offices. The reporting period for
both of these measures is from October 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018, and
will impact payment in the year 2020.
- Distributors continue to play an essential role in serving clinical professionals.
In addition to delivering a robust flu vaccine supply, distributors
plan to ship a full line of essential medical products to providers
throughout the upcoming flu season, according to HIDA’s Flu Products
survey. Approximately 80 percent of distributors report they will carry
gloves and wound care supplies, while more than 60 percent say they will
carry diagnostic flu tests, disinfection supplies, and wound care
materials. Additionally, distributors were responsible for nearly
two-thirds of the gloves sold in 2016.
The insights contained in the 2017 report cover demand trends and
useful customer information. HIDA will continue to monitor vaccine and
medical product demand as part of its efforts to strengthen the
healthcare supply chain and foster effective responses to infectious
To download your copy of the flu report, visit www.HIDA.org/FluBrief. Feel free to contact us at HIDAGovAffairs@HIDA.org if you have any questions or would like more information.