Since direct-to-consumer drug advertising debuted in 1997, pharma's credo has been When The Medication Is Ready, The Disease (and Patients) Will Appear. Who knew so many people suffered from seasonal allergies, GERD, erectile dysfunction, restless legs and bipolar disorder?
But pharma's recent plan to move from mass-market molecules into more lucrative vaccines and biologics did not see the anti-vaxer movement coming: millions of Americans saying You Want to Vaccinate Me -- and My Child -- with WHAT?? and condemning vials of H1N1, rotavirus, MMR vaccines and Gardasil and Cervarix to sit, well, way past their expiration dates. Nor were fears of an international vaccine conspiracy helped by former CDC Director Julie Gerberding resurfacing as President of Merck Vaccines in December. (Nice revolving door if you can catch it.)