Survey of Hospitals Quantifies Flu Vaccine Price Gouging

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists has conducted a survey of more than 2,800 hospital pharmacy directors in the U.S. about how the flu vaccine shortage is affecting their ability to care for patients.


As of Oct. 12, 2004 nearly 650 pharmacy directors have responded. The survey will continue through midnight today.


Preliminary findings include:


-- In just the few days since the influenza vaccine shortage was announced, more than 55 percent of respondents report that they have been contacted by opportunistic vendors offering to sell flu vaccine at highly inflated prices.


Of the hospitals contacted by opportunistic vendors:


- - More than 80 percent report being offered the vaccine at more than four times the original market value.


- - Nearly 20 percent have been offered the vaccine at $800 or more per 10-dose vial -- more than 10 times the original market value


- More than 75 percent of hospitals report that they will not have enough flu vaccine to meet the vaccination recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Source: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)