Slovenia to buy H1N1 flu vaccine from GSK and Novartis

LJUBLJANA, July 23 (Reuters) - Euro zone member Slovenia will buy a total of 1.3 million units of H1N1 flu vaccine from Britain's GlaxoSmithKline GSK.L (GSK) and Switzerland's Novartis NOVN.VX, Health Minister Borut Miklavcic said on Thursday.

He said 900,000 units of vaccine will be purchased this year, while another 400,000 units will be purchased in January 2010, adding the price of the purchase will amount to a bit over 14 million euros ($19.91 million).

“Such a number of vaccines will be sufficient for vaccination of 650,000 Slovenians,” Miklavcic told a news conference and said vaccination will be voluntary.

Slovenia has 2 million citizens and has recorded a total of 87 cases of H1N1 flu so far.

Miklavcic also said Slovenia will buy 140,000 treatment courses of GSK’s inhaled influenza drug Relenza for patients in which drug Tamiflu will not prove effective.

($1=.7030 Euro)

Reporting by Marja Novak, Editing by David Cowell