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Around a quarter of all American swine flu vaccines are to be destroyed due to the treatments expiring. The vaccines, that have expired as recently as Wednesday, are now completely useless and will be incarcerated. The Food and Drug Association (FDA) believe that the total number of expired treatments is around 40 million.
This will end up costing America around $260 million dollars. As a result, it is estimated that the amount of flu vaccines destroyed this year will be up to four times, compared to the amount that is usually wasted. With around 30 million more vaccines likely to expire before use, the percentage of doses destroyed could possibly rise to around 43%. Since the outbreak of the H1N1 virus in the spring of last year, the U.S has made 3 separate purchases of treatments. These three purchases combined total up to 200 million vaccines.
The vaccines take around six months to create. It is thought that by the time many of the vaccines had been manufactured, the pandemic had declined and thus rendered many doses unneeded.
Health experts still maintain that it was the correct thing to do. U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesperson, Bill Hall, stated that “although there many were doses of vaccines that went unused, it was much more appropriate to be prepared for the worst case scenario than to have too few doses”.
The news of this waste is set to further annoy some parties, who believe that the swine flu outbreak was handled poorly by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Only last week, The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) backed a report that heavily criticised the handling of the vaccines as a “waste of large sums of public money”.
Labour MP Paul Flynn has also recently attacked the WHO, Mr Flynn claimed that they had “Frightened the whole world with the possibility that a major plague was on the way” resulting in the loss of massive amounts of money.
Experts are calling for increased regulations to be put in place concerning the commercial interest of pharmaceutical companies, and the scientific professionals.