Dutch government wants to sell flu vaccines back

A nurse prepares a H1N1 flu vaccine shot at a hospital in Budapest in this November 20, 2009 file photo.REUTERS/Karoly Arvai

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch government wants to sell 21 million unused H1N1 flu vaccine doses back to their manufacturers after they proved unnecessary and no other country wanted to buy them, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.

A spokeswoman for the ministry said it had approached manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis about buying back the doses.

She added that it was not clear what their total value was. She also declined comment on the status of the talks, saying the ministry would inform parliament of the details at a later date.

At the height of the H1N1 scare, the ministry ordered 34 million doses of pandemic flu vaccine -- enough to give two shots to every person in The Netherlands.

Of the original order, about 11 million doses were administered and another 2.2 million are being kept in reserve for emergencies.

Reporting by Ben Berkowitz