Government cuts H1N1 vaccine order by two-thirds

The Department of Health and GlaxoSmithKline yesterday agreed to cut the number of doses of swine flu vaccine the Government will buy from the group by about two-thirds, after the H1N1 virus proved to be far less devastating than first feared.

Last year, when concerns about the the virus were high, the Government ordered enough vaccine for everyone in Britain from GSK and the US pharmaceutical group Baxter. Health officials yesterday said that they would now take just 34.8 million doses of GSK's treatment, after initially ordering 90 million batches. The company had recommended at the start of the pandemic that each patient take two doses of the drug. The Government terminated its contract with Baxter in February.

"This deal means that the UK will save approximately one third of the original value of the orders with GSK," said the Health Secretary, Andy Burnham. "I am pleased we have reached an agreement that is good value for the taxpayer and means the department has retained a strategic stockpile to protect the UK population without incurring a cancellation fee."

While the Government is not paying a cancellation fee, it is paying substantially more per dose for the vaccine. GSK said that the Government would receive other treatments, such as H5N1 bird flu vaccine and courses of the anti-viral Relenza, to balance the deal.

The Department of Health said that the UK now has a stockpile of 23.6 million doses and confirmed that those deemed vulnerable to the virus, such as pregnant women and health workers, would continue to get the drug. The Government said it would donate 3.8 million batches of swine flu vaccine to the World Health Organisation.

Both the Government and GSK have refused to say how much the UK has paid for swine flu vaccine. A Freedom of Information request submitted by The Independent to force the Government to disclose how much it was paying per dose was rejected on the grounds that the details would "prejudice the commercial interests" of GSK and the Government's ability to negotiate with its commercial partners.

GSK has charged governments on a sliding scale, from €7 for the most developed economies, to 50 million free doses submitted for distribution by the World Health Organisation. The UK was offered a discount, but the size of the cut has not been made public.

Yesterday's deal is the result of lengthy negotiations between the Government and GSK and follows similar action from the German authorities, who agreed to take and pay for 70 per cent of its original order in January.

GSK is in talks with a number of other administrations over plans to par back vaccine orders. A host of northern hemisphere countries are known to want to slash orders after the initial spike in incidents of swine flu cases quickly tailed off. Among them, France, Belgium and Spain are thought to be in talks with GSK.

The company said that it would not be altering its earnings estimates for 2010, saying that it expects to see swine flu vaccine sales of about £880m this year, a similar amount to 2009.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...

Guru Careers: FX Trader / Risk Manager

Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map