Contracting swine flu (vaccines)

7 April 2010
Sarah Campbell blog picSwine flu is back in the news – or rather swine flu vaccines are. The Times says the government has cancelled contracts with GlaxoSmithKline for up to 90 million doses of Pandemrix because, well, we don’t need it. However, the government has already bought almost 35 million and only 5.5 million have been administered. That leaves doses worth an estimated £150 million that are unlikely to be used. The Conservatives are using this as a stick with which to beat the government as election madness starts to wind up: “a waste of taxpayers’ money”, you know the sort of thing. But in the case of a proper swine flu pandemic we would have needed them. And the contracts were evidently fairly prudently drawn up, with get-out clauses for just this scenario that mean the government has bought only one-third of the doses it originally promised to. Apparently we’re giving away a few million doses to developing countries, too. So in terms of demand and inventory management, this doesn’t seem such a disaster to me. What’s your view?
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