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News2010May › Drug companies 'bullied' governments into buying swine flu drugs › May 2010

Drug companies 'bullied' governments into buying swine flu drugs

Drug companies used bullying and scare tactics to force health agencies around Europe to buy their antivirals ahead of the anticipated swine flu (H1N1) epidemic last year, a new report claims

Drug companies used bullying and scare tactics to force health agencies around Europe to buy their antivirals ahead of the anticipated swine flu (H1N1) epidemic last year, a new report claims. One agency was given just an hour to place a multi-million euro order, and was told the stocks would be offered to another country if they prevaricated. These revelations come at a time when both the Council of Europe and the World Health Organization (WHO) face embarrassing questions about their relationships with the drugs industry. The WHO's actions - and especially how they escalated the outbreak into an international pandemic - are also being reviewed. But while the two bodies complete their reviews, the drugs companies are counting the profits from a pandemic that wasn't. Last April, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) reported to happy shareholders that it had achieved lb698m of sales for its Pandemrix swine flu shots, which boosted first quarter revenues by 17 per cent.


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