Letters WHO and pandemic flu

Another question for GSK

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3455 (Published 29 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3455
  1. Peter Doshi, doctoral student1,
  2. Tom Jefferson, coordinator2
  1. 1Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
  2. 2Cochrane Vaccines Field, Rome, Italy
  1. pnd{at}mit.edu

    The relation between the declaration of a pandemic and the activation of pandemic vaccine contracts came under considerable attention recently. In the BMJ Cohen and Carter wrote, “It was the declaring of the pandemic that triggered the contracts,” 1 but Nature reports that this is false.2

    This should not be a matter of interpretation. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) spokesperson Stephen Rea informed the Associated Press in June 2009 of pre-existing contracts it held with countries including Britain, France, and Belgium, contracts that GSK would be obliged to fulfil should a pandemic be declared.3 It therefore seems that Cohen and Carter are correct. The Associated Press, however, does not provide us with a direct quote from GSK.

    Pim Kon, GSK UK medical director, has clarified GSK’s position on suggestions that the company ever attempted to influence WHO or experts involved in the pandemic process.4 Could Dr Kon also clarify the nature of pre-existing pandemic influenza vaccine contracts to help set the record straight and improve accurate journalism?


    Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3455


    • Competing interests: None declared.


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