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GSK to boost Shingrix production, expects shortage throughout 2019

GlaxoSmithKline PLC spokesman Sean Clements said the company plans to significantly increase shipments of its shingles vaccine Shingrix to the U.S. amid "unprecedented" demand, FiercePharma reported.

Clements said that healthcare professionals have been vaccinating at a much higher rate than in previous years, so GSK expects ordering limits to persist through 2019 in order to ensure the vaccine is distributed "fairly and equitably."

GSK, which was forced to implement order limits and delay TV advertising due to the shortage, intends to expand its overall supply capacity to the "high teen millions" annually, the report noted.

Shingrix, which takes up to nine months to produce, received approval from the European Commission and the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in March 2018, and from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2017. The vaccine was shown to be more effective than Merck & Co. Inc.'s Zostavax.

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash that develops on one side of the face or body caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox.