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Capitalizing on the Fear of Parents


Four years ago, there were small outbreaks of a disease known as meningitis B. For starters, this is a rare but a dangerous infection. While parents were worried about their kids getting infected, businessmen saw an opportunity to sell vaccines. This has led to the introduction of two vaccines that cost around $300 each. One of these drugs is the Bexsero that is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. From the way that these manufacturers describe the disease through ads, every parent should be worried about sending their kids to college without the vaccine. It has been approximated that these manufacturers will make hundreds of millions of dollars from selling vaccines of diseases that people never get. For instance, taking Bexsero by GlaxoSmithKline alone, the drug generated the company $166 million in 2016. Financial experts say that this is a good amount considering that the outbreak happened four years ago. The outbreak was experienced in two universities namely Princeton and the University of California Santa Barbara. During the time of the accident, no vaccine was available in the US market. In fact, the United States did not issue licenses for this drug as they never expected that they could experience an outbreak. According to the Centers for Disease Control, less than 300 cases of Meningitis outbreak are reported on a yearly basis.

However, this outbreak is common in the United Kingdom. The future of the disease in the US was shaped by a double amputation and a single death. This has not gone well with industry experts and physicians who say that marketers are taking advantage of cautious parents. Not only is this happening in the meningitis B vaccine but it’s also taking place in other expensive illnesses particularly the ones related to rare illnesses. For instance, if you decide to go for the Bexsero vaccine it will cost you $320. As for the Trumenba vaccine which is a product of Pfizer, it goes for $345. A researcher at Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy known as Adrienne Faerber said that parents buy these vaccines out of fear that their children may contact the virus. On their part, marketers say that they are just providing contextualized information. They have been accused on capitalizing on parents’ fears while at the same time inflating the risk issue. For instance, GlaxoSmithKline says that if you look at their ad, they advise you to make an informed decision after speaking to your health care provider.