France cancels H1N1 flu vaccines ordered from Novartis

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG announced Jan. 8 that France canceled 7 million of the 16 million ordered doses of H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine.

France’s decision comes after Germany, Spain and Switzerland also took steps to try to cut deliveries, return unwanted stocks to suppliers or sell them to other countries because of a low uptake at home.

The French government said Jan. 4 that it would cancel 50 million of the 94 million doses ordered from Sanofi-Aventis, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Baxter International because of over-supply.

Demand for the H1N1 pandemic vaccine has been lower than expected across Europe because of skepticism about the need for immunization among the general population and the fact that a single dose, rather than two, is required for immunity.