Thousands of flu vaccine doses destroyed

PORTUGAL’S PHARMACEUTICAL industry has announced that it has had to destroy 10,000 doses of flu vaccine due to pharmacies cancelling huge orders.

The sector has accused the health authorities of creating unnecessary alarm throughout the population as an incentive to get them vaccinated when they haven’t needed too.

The alarm caused people to order more vaccines from pharmacies, however as the vaccine was already in good stock the supply outweighed demand.

In response, the Director-General of Health said that the flu season had not begun yet and the population will still need to be vaccinated once the winter weather kicks in.

Speaking in the Assemblia da República, Manuel Gonçalves, vice-president of the Portuguese association of the pharmaceutical industry, Apifarma, announced that the Glaxo company had been forced to cancel 10,000 does of the vaccine. “If they cannot be used in the next year then they must be destroyed” he said.

João Cordeiro, president of the national association of pharmacies, confirmed the problem with sales stating: “The pharmacies are full of the vaccine, as are the wholesalers. Initial alarm led people to ask for more prescriptions and make orders at pharmacies that they haven’t needed to use.”

Graça Freitas, Deputy Director-General of Health believes that no one is suffering from respiratory infections due to the weather, which has remained warm late into the year. “The flu season has not started yet and then people, especially the elderly and sick are going to need to be vaccinated” she said.