Vial to prefilled syringe shift on in US ahead of flu season

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Influenza

More-and-more US biopharm companies are moving from vials to prefilled syringes ahead of the upcoming flu season, according to BD.

Adoption of prefilled syringes in the US has lagged behind Europe but BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) is reporting the shift away from vials has gained traction in the past few months.

There’s been a migration to more prefill applications for the upcoming flu season [in the US]​”, Bill Kozy, executive vice president at BD, said in a conference call with investors following third quarter results. BD has encouraged the shift with its​“vial to prefill strategy​”.

Claimed benefits of using prefilled syringes include speed of delivery, lower administration costs and increased safety. A paper published in Expert Review of Vaccines​ at the end of last year said these benefits offset higher acquisition costs.

US-based BD clients seem to be recognising these benefits. Uptake by US-based clients added $9m (€6m) to sales in the third quarter, contributing to nine per cent year-on-year growth in the country.

Europe, Asia, US

Sales in the US also benefited, to the tune of $6m, from a big pharmaceutical client shifting its sourcing from Europe to North America. While this boosted strong performance in the US, it also added to weakness, largely concentrated in France, which BD faced in Western Europe.

Big pharma sales in Europe are also down because of last year’s light flu season. Inventory produced for last year is yet to be used and as such BD clients will order less than usual ahead of the flu season. Finally, some clients have experienced “pushback on launches of new drugs​” and this also hit sales.

In Japan the impact of the tsunami is expected to knock $50m of 2011 revenue but BD is now fully operational again. “We restarted the manufacturing of the BD Hypak prefillable syringes in early May​”, Vince Forlenza, chief operating officer at BD, said in the call with investors.

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