Approximately 40 million doses of swine flu vaccine, worth around US$260 million are to be burned. Jerry Weir, Vaccines Research and Review, FDA (Food and Drug Administration, USA) commented that by historical standards "It's a lot".
One quarter of USA's stocks of swine flu vaccine expired yesterday and will be burned, authorities inform. This is about four times as much as the leftover from seasonal flu vaccines, and is probably a record.
There is a good chance that over 43% of USA swine flu vaccine stocks will have gone to waste as future expiry dates loom.
Authorities say the purchase of such a huge stock of vaccines, in the face of a new virus was justified. When swine flu broke out many wondered whether it might develop into a new, deadly pandemic. Fortunately, swine flu turned out to kill considerably fewer people than normal seasonal flu.
In an interview with Associated Press, Bill Hall, US Dept of Health and Human Services (HSS) spokesperson said "Although there were many doses of vaccine that went unused, it was much more appropriate to have been prepared for the worst case scenario than to have had too few doses".
Many question whether there was an over-reactionIn a recent scathing attack on the World Health Organization, the BMJ (British Medical Journal) and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism claimed that the World Health Organization (WHO) did not reveal that some important scientists behind its recommendation to stockpile pandemic flu drugs had financial links with pharmaceutical companies that stood to make a great deal of money.
Previously (also recently), the Council of Europe has been critical of how recommendations for stockpiling vaccines occurred.
There is deep suspicion that the drug industry may have been able to exert excessive influence on WHO's decision regarding the swine flu pandemic and the mass stockpiling of drugs.
The British Medical Journal wrote:
Despite repeated requests, the WHO has failed to provide any details about whether such conflicts were declared by the relevant experts and what, if anything, was done about them.
Health authorities and governments around the world responded to WHO's advice by purchasing massive quantities of Tamiflu and Relenza. Now, a year or so later, as expiry dates pass, a shocking number of vaccines are being and will be dumped/burned worldwide.
"Was Flu Pandemic Advice By World Health Organization Compromised?"
Medical News Today, 04 Jun 2010.
Written by Christian Nordqvist