16 August 2007 | Antony Barton
The government has today awarded advanced supply contracts for a pandemic flu vaccine.
Under the terms of the agreements, worth £155.4 million over four years, drug firms GSK and Baxter are committed to supply their treatment the moment the World Health Organisation identifies and alerts them of the presence of a pandemic strain.
It is one of the largest contracts signed by GSK for its pandemic flu vaccine.
The Department of Health (DH) has said it will reserve production capacity to manufacture the new vaccine and is making an investment in the manufacturers' R&D. This should ensure a guaranteed supply of vaccine at a time of significant international demand.
The tender bids from Baxter and GSK were judged to best meet all the required conditions, including technical and scientific criteria, as well as provide the best value for money.
In 2006, Baxter entered into a contract with the Austrian Ministry of Health to supply 16 million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine in the event a pandemic is declared.