The sky is falling on swine-flu-vaccine makers.

In addition to last month's report of lost sales, Bloomberg reported yesterday that the U.S. is cutting its swine-flu-vaccine order from Australia's CSL by more than half, from 36 million doses to just 14 million doses. The ability to do so was apparently written into the contract. Today GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) said it renegotiated its contract with Germany to deliver just 70% of the original order.

Basically, the pandemic just didn't pan out, and it didn't help that experts initially thought that two doses would be required before it turned out that one was sufficient. Expect more cancelations in the future. Glaxo said it's in talks with other countries about their "changing needs."

That's the bad news.

The good news is that investors in Glaxo, CSL, sanofi-aventis (NYSE:SNY), AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN), and Novartis (NYSE:NVS) were supposed to enjoy the swine flu vaccine kind of like pork and beans -- a nice side dish, but not the meat of the companies' operations.

Even if the entirety of contracts were filled, the revenue wasn't sustainable. That's the problem with one-time events like pandemics, or the fulfillment of orders for stockpiles like Roche and Gilead Sciences' (NASDAQ:GILD) Tamiflu or Human Genome Sciences' (NASDAQ:HGSI) anthrax treatment. All good things have to come to an end -- sometimes earlier than expected.

Rather than focusing on pet rocks, Crocs, and pandemic vaccines -- things that can and usually do fade -- to make you rich, a better plan is to focus on the bigger picture. So, concentrate on companies producing useful products with recurring revenue expected well into the future. All of the drugmakers above would qualify -- just not on the basis of their swine flu vaccines.

Novartis is a Motley Fool Global Gains selection. Investing internationally doesn't have to be scary and it can certainly be profitable. Click here to grab a 30-day trial subscription to the newsletter where you'll see all of our current picks for a global economy.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., isn't contributing to the cutbacks, he got vaccinated months ago. He doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool owns shares of GlaxoSmithKline and has a disclosure policy.