GSK shingles vaccine stocked at nearly 10,000 CVS stores in the US.
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is caused by the same virus (varicella zoster virus, VZV) that causes chickenpox, and anyone that has suffered from chickenpox is a candidate to develop shingles. Approximately 1 million Americans deal with the disease each year, according to the CDC. Although people with weakened immune systems and that receive immunosuppressive drugs have a higher risk of getting shingles, nearly a third of Americans will develop the conditions in their lifetimes. While not life-threatening, shingles can be quite painful
The first vaccine for shingles, Zostavax, was introduced by Merck. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) received US Food and Drug Administration approval for Shingrix in October 2017. Shortly after that, the Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended (ttps://www.fiercepharma.com/vaccines/fresh-off-fda-approval-cdc-panel-recommends-glaxosmithkline-s-shingrix-over-older-merck) Shringrix over Zostavax. Studies have shown that Shingrix provides stronger and longer protection.
GSK received a further boost for the vaccine in the US with support from the pharmacy chain CVS. Nearly 10,000 CVS stores now have Shingrix stocked on the shelves and ready to administer to customers. The vaccine is recommended for people 50 years and older and is delivered in two doses spaces two to six months apart. According to CVS most insurance plans, including Medicare Part D, cover the shots.
The announcement by CVS follows one in February 2018 by grocery store company Albertsons, which has agreed to buy the remaining Rite-Aid stores, to stock Shingrix.
These deals are part of GSK’s overall strategy for Shingrix. "Our focus is now getting all of the ducks in a row so that when a patient walks into the pharmacy and asks for the vaccine, it’s in stock, it’s reimbursed, and the healthcare provider knows how to give it," said Luke Miels, GSK’s president of global pharmaceuticals.