By Richard Wachman
July 22, 2009
Britain’s biggest pharmaceutical company is preparing to sell £3bn worth of swine flu drugs this year, it emerged today.
It also disclosed that international governments were stockpiling large supplies of GSK’s anti-viral treatment Relenza, which can relieve swine flu symptoms.
Worldwide sales from the two drugs are expected to reach £3bn by January, but the company rejected claims it was exploiting the pandemic – stressing that profits would be much lower once development costs were taken into account.
It also said poorer nations would receive the vaccine for free with 50m doses to be donated to the World Health Organisation. More could follow, depending on demand.
The chief executive, Andrew Witty, said the company had been preparing for a pandemic for the last three-and-a-half years and had spent more than £1bn to ensure its factories could crank up production at short notice. “We don’t know how big this deal is going to be, but no-one can say we aren’t ready,” said Witty. “We are working flat out with governments around the world to come up with a solution.”
GlaxoSmithKline has also developed an anti-viral face mask, which is expected to be used by people such as “front line health workers.”
Swine flu is thought to have led to the deaths of 31 people in Britain so far and further details of its rapid spread are due to be released by the NHS tomorrow.
The world’s first human trials of a swine flu vaccine have begun in Australia, drug company officials said, as the global death toll from the virus rose to 700.
Two biotechnology companies have started injecting adult volunteers in the southern city of Adelaide.
In a sign of how quickly GSK is working to make sure a vaccine is available from September, the company said that “clinical trials will be limited, due to the need to provide the vaccine to governments as quickly as possible.
“Additional studies will therefore be required and conducted after the vaccine is made available.”
Comment from Leslie
Yes, folks this is all about business – bottom line and bottom dollar. We will suffer from adverse reactions to this genetically modified vaccine well GSK will rack up millions. And who will pay for our damages. In the US – Big Pharma will not be held accountable under the Obama administration – there are still 4,000 people who filed claims from the purported 1976 pandemic.