Swine flu profiteering by GlaxoSmithKline
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Daily Mail (One of the UK's largest-circulation newspapers)
Posted: September 28th, 2009
Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline was accused of cashing in on swine flu after it revealed its profits have risen 10 per cent since the virus was identified. It announced profits yesterday of 2.1billion in the past three months. Sales of vaccines and antiviral drugs could push the figure up even higher. GSK chief executive Andrew Witty admitted the swine flu crisis would be a 'significant financial event for the company'. Sales of the company's Relenza inhaler, an alternative to Tamiflu used by pregnant women among others, are expected to top 600million. And this figure could be boosted by up to 2billion once deliveries of the swine flu vaccine begin in September. But Mr Witty denied Europe's biggest drugs company was gearing up to cash in. He admitted it was planning to charge the UK 6 a jab, but vociferously denied reports it cost a pound to manufacture. Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: 'This is clearly a bonanza for the company. This is a staggeringly substantial return. I will write to the National Audit Office to determine whether we got the best deal for the taxpayer.' Susi Squire of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: 'We need an assurance from the Government that they have got the most competitive rate out of GlaxoSmith-Kline.' Geoff Martin of London Health Emergency said: 'It's a scandal that any company could use the swine flu pandemic as an opportunity to jack up profits. 'The Government should step in and impose a windfall tax on private companies that have hit the jackpot as a result of the flu crisis.'
Note: For more on profiteering in the vaccination industry, click here.