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China's Sinovac to offer cheaper H1N1 flu shot
  31 August 2009
MADRID: Chinese drugmaker Sinovac will sell its H1N1 flu vaccine, which works after just one dose, for 30 per cent less than those developed by Western firms, its chief said in an interview published Monday.
"Our vaccine will be less expensive than those made by Western multinationals. Their price will be around 30 US dollars and we can sell ours for 30 per cent less," Sinovac chief Weidong Yin told business daily elEconomista.
Earlier this month Sinovac said clinical trials had shown that a single dose of its vaccine is effective and sufficient against the A(H1N1) virus.
Western firms like US pharmaceuticals group Baxter, France's Sanofi-Pasteur, Switzerland's Novartis and Britain's GlaxoSmithKline are developing a vaccine against the disease which is expected to require two doses to be effective.
Sinovac is one of four companies that have been selected to supply seasonal-influenza vaccines to the Beijing Public Health Bureau but it has not yet won the right to commercialise it.
"We hope to win approval from the Chinese regulator during the first two weeks of September, to start distributing part of the five million doses that have been ordered by the Chinese government," Yin said.
More than 2,180 people around the world have died from the virus since it emerged in April, according to the latest World Health Organisation figures.
In Europe, Britain and France have received their first batches of H1N1 flu vaccine but the licencing approval for their distribution should only be available in October.
The Sinovac chief said his company had the capacity to produce two million doses of the vaccine per month, far less than major multinationals. Novartis for example can produce 150 million doses per year.
Sinovac is in talks with the Greek government to provide it with vaccines against H1N1 flu and its carrying out clinical trials in the Ukraine, he said.
- AFP/sc
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