GSK offsets 'Panorama' claims with well-timed flu announcement

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GlaxoSmithKline faced pressure today after being accused of covering up the link between suicide in teenagers and its controversial anti-depressant drug Seroxat.

The BBC current affairs programme Panorama last night claimed GSK distorted trial data and said there were internal documents questioning the safety of the drug which date back as far as 1999. GSK, the UK's largest drugs company, has denied the claims and insisted the programme was "misleading".

As details of the documentary emerged yesterday, the company said that its new generation H5N1 flu vaccine, which is expected to be effective in the event of a worldwide flu pandemic, has been accepted for review by European regulators. Analysts said the announcement provided "positive sentiment" ahead of the broadcast which they put down to "good timing".

GSK said the new flu vaccine could be approved within six months to a year. The company already has a $40m order for the vaccine from the US while Switzerland has ordered 8 million doses and Denmark has also put in an order.

Shares remained flat over the day adding just a penny to close at 1388p.

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