GlaxoSmithKline's quarterly sales of H1N1 vaccine lower than forecast

LONDON — GlaxoSmithKline confirmed Jan. 15 that approximately 130 million doses of its pandemic H1N1 adjuvanted vaccine were shipped to governments in the fourth quarter of 2009.

These shipments, together with pandemic vaccine products supplied to the United States and other governments in the quarter, amount to provisional, unaudited sales of $1.36 billion. The quarterly total is less than the $1.6 billion or so that many analysts had been forecasting, Reuters reported.

The British company, which is the biggest supplier of H1N1 vaccines, has been hit in recent weeks by a series of order cancellations following slow uptake of the shots.

Belgium became the latest country to cut its order, canceling a third of the supply originally booked from GSK earlier Jan. 15.

The company is also donating 60 million doses of its vaccine to the World Health Organization for distribution to developing countries.

Shipments of the vaccine continue to be delivered in the first half of 2010 and GSK is in ongoing discussions with many governments, as their needs evolve. This includes renegotiation of contracts with governments that have announced changes to their planned immunization programs and with governments that have placed new orders for the pandemic vaccine.

It is therefore too early to say what the final number of doses supplied and the value of these orders will be, GSK said in a press release.