December 17, 2009 / 12:31 PM / 8 years ago

Germany and Spain seek to cut H1N1 vaccine orders

3 Min Read

* German states discussing reduced deliveries with Glaxo

* Spain aims to return unused vaccine to various companies

* Move reflects slow uptake, could hit company profits

By Ben Hirschler and Kate Kelland

LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Germany and Spain want to reduce deliveries of swine flu vaccine and potentially return excess supplies to manufacturers, due to low uptake of the shots, in a move that could hit drugmakers' profits.

Germany's health ministry said on Thursday that some German states had been in talks with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline about reducing deliveries of H1N1 vaccine, but the talks had as yet yielded no results.

The German federal government will also start negotiations in January with other countries that might be interested in taking some of its excess supplies, he added.

Germany said earlier this month it wanted to sell on more than 2 million H1N1 vaccine doses because of weak demand at home.

Spain's health minister Trinidad Jimenez said her country was negotiating with the producers of H1N1 vaccine to return excess stock, after people considered at high-risk from the new flu virus largely snubbed a vaccination campaign.

"We are speaking with the pharmaceutical companies" about returning unused vaccine, specialist news service APM Health Europe quoted her as saying.

"The contracts signed with the companies from which we acquired the vaccines included clauses which allow the return of unused vaccines to the companies so they can be distributed to other countries," Jimenez added.

Germany ordered 50 million doses of H1N1 vaccine from Glaxo, while Spain bought 22 million doses from Novartis, 14.7 million from Glaxo and 400,000 from Sanofi-Aventis.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley said revenues generated from swine flu were expected to total $600 million for Novartis, 2.2 billion pounds ($3.6 billion) for Glaxo and 750 million euros ($1.1 billion) for Sanofi, to be booked in the last quarter of 2009 and first three months of 2010.

"The return of excess quantities by Germany and Spain creates downside risk of up to 15 percent of total swine flu revenues for these companies," they said.

Officials at the drug companies were not immediately available to comment. (Additional reporting by Thorsten Severin in Berlin; Editing by Sharon Lindores) ($1=.6115 Pound) ($1=.6942 Euro)

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