Government In Talks With Glaxo Over Bird Flu Vaccine

(Oct 30, 2006) LONDON - GlaxoSmithKline is in talks with the government about a nation-wide bird flu vaccination after signing a similar deal with Singapore, it was reported on Monday.

Chief Executive J. P. Garnier met Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown this month to discuss the possibility of stockpiling tens of millions of doses of the firm's H5N1 vaccine, the Times said, without citing sources.

Glaxo had already reached a deal with Singapore, the newspaper said without revealing any details.

The firm was also close to singing a contract with France and had spoken to the U.S. government about the possibility of a mass vaccination programme although no imminent decision was on the cards, the newspaper added.

A spokesman for Glaxo was not immediately available for comment.

Last week, Europe's biggest drugmaker said it expected to sign more contracts to supply governments with its experimental vaccine for humans following a deal with Switzerland.

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health has ordered 8 million doses of the vaccine to protect its entire population in the event of an influenza pandemic, which many experts fear may be triggered by bird flu.

The vaccine has not yet won regulatory approval but Glaxo plans to file it with the European Medicines Agency by the end of 2006.

Britain's population is about 60 million while Singapore has a population of 4.4 million. (from Reuters)

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