Jan 12 (Reuters) - Governments in rich countries are cutting orders for H1N1 swine flu vaccines because of limited uptake and the fact one dose is enough to protect adults against the virus, rather than two as originally anticipated.
The reductions mean sales of H1N1 vaccines by companies such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L), Novartis NOVN.VX and Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA) may be lower than initially forecast. The cutbacks so far include:
GlaxoSmithKline has agreed with the German government to slash the amount of swine flu vaccine it will supply to approximately 70 percent of the original order.
This reduces the contract to 34 million doses from 50 million initially ordered. [ID:nLDE60B1KO]
The United States says it has halved its order for H1N1 flu vaccine from Australia’s CSL (CSL.AX), but is not certain how far orders from other suppliers will be trimmed.
CSL said the U.S. order was cut partly because the company had diverted some of its early output to the Australian government. Sanofi-Aventis, the largest supplier of flu vaccine to the U.S. market, said it was meeting all its U.S. contracts. [ID:nN11173174]
France has cancelled 7 million doses of swine flu vaccine from Novartis, just under half the amount ordered, and a further 9 million doses from Sanofi-Aventis.
The French government has said it aims to cancel 50 million of the total 94 million doses originally ordered from Sanofi, Novartis and Glaxo.
Britain says it is in talks with its main H1N1 vaccine supplier GlaxoSmithKline about reducing further supplies and might exercise a break clause in its contract with Baxter International (BAX.N).
Spain said last month it was negotiating with its main suppliers Novartis and Glaxo about returning excess stocks of H1N1 vaccine.
The Dutch government was the first to flag up the vaccine surplus problem, announcing plans in November to sell on up to 19 million of the 34 million doses that it had ordered.
Glaxo said it was negotiating with Belgium about reducing its supply of vaccines.
Switzerland plans to donate or sell some 4.5 million excess vaccine doses.
Reporting by Ben Hirschler and Kate Kelland; Editing by David Cowell