- November 25th 2011
By Jim Hopkins, USA TODAY
SAN FRANCISCO — MedImmune, scouting sites for a $75 million flu vaccine factory, considered the USA. Instead, the Maryland drugmaker chose Britain. It already had a factory near Liverpool, acquired in 2002. Plus, compared with the USA, wages are lower there — big draws for a risky $1 billion drug launch.
San Francisco biotech VaxGen is building a drug factory in South Korea.
More U.S. drug firms are shifting manufacturing out of the country in search of lower costs and government sweeteners. South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan have joined Ireland and other nations courting drug giants and the new generation of biotechs.
But critics, citing the sudden loss of half the USA's flu vaccine when British regulators yanked Chiron's Liverpool factory license, say offshoring puts too much foreign control over vital drug supplies. That could be devastating in a flu pandemic if foreign governments seized U.S.-bound vaccines.
"I don't think you wan [Read more]