Dr. Paul Offit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia earned millions of dollars as part of a $182-million sale by the hospital of its worldwide royalty interest in the Merck Rotateq vaccine. The amount of income distributed to Offit could be as high as $46 million. Offit has refused to say how much he made from the vaccine.
The high price placed on the patents raises concerns over Offit’s use of his former position on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to help create the market for rotavirus vaccine -- effectively, to vote himself rich.
Offit’s claim to a share of the profits from Rotateq revenues is based on his role as a listed inventor on the cluster of patents that protect Merck’s vaccine. Paul Offit had a great personal interest in Rotateq’s commercial success, and more than any other individual in the world he found himself in a position to directly influence that success.
Unlike most other patented products, the market for mandated childhood vaccines is created by the recommendation of an appointed body, ACIP. From 1998 to 2003, Offit served as a member of ACIP.