The Department of Health has awarded advanced supply contracts to two pharmaceutical firms to provide the NHS with a vaccine to tackle any flu pandemic.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Baxter Healthcare have been given four-year deals, collectively worth £155.4m, as part of the Government’s ongoing strategy to prepare for an outbreak.
Under the agreements, the two firms will supply a vaccine once a pandemic strain has been recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Health minister Dawn Primarolo said: “These contracts mean the UK is on the front foot if a flu pandemic occurs, and are the latest steps towards ensuring we are as fully prepared as possible.
“We take the potential threat posed by pandemic flu very seriously, and as WHO has recognised, the UK is among the best-prepared countries in the world.
“With GSK and Baxter already committed to produce a tailored vaccine for the NHS as soon as the pandemic is identified, we are confident that we are putting in place another important component of our preparation for a flu pandemic.”
Andrew Witty, president of GSK Pharmaceuticals Europe, said: “Vaccines are considered to be the single most important intervention for preventing influenza infection and reducing spread of the disease.
“GSK believes that securing a pandemic vaccine supply is an important step towards full pandemic preparedness, and ultimately the protection of the British public.”
Copyright © PA Business 2007