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Excess swine flu doses could be sold on

The number of swine flu cases in Switzerland dropped heavily in the past week, and a third of the country’s 13 million vaccines are no longer considered necessary.

There were 900 confirmed cases of H1N1 last week, the Federal Health Office said on Thursday – around 700 fewer than the previous week and 1,400 fewer than a month ago.

The infection trend among people under 30 was clearly going down but among those aged 30-64 it continued to increase slightly, officials said, adding that the 4.5 million superfluous doses should either be donated to the World Health Organization (WHO) or sold to other countries.

Nine people have died of the flu so far in Switzerland, where vaccinations remain voluntary.

Also on Thursday it was reported that Germany and Spain wanted to reduce deliveries of swine flu vaccine and potentially return excess supplies to manufacturers, due to low uptake of the shots, in a move that could hit drugmakers’ profits.

Germany ordered 50 million doses of H1N1 vaccine from Glaxo, while Spain bought 22 million doses from Swiss company Novartis, 14.7 million from Glaxo and 400,000 from Sanofi-Aventis.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley said revenues generated from swine flu were expected to total $600 million (SFr628 million) for Novartis, £2.2 billion (SFr3.7 billion) for Glaxo and €750 million (SFr1.1 billion) for Sanofi, to be booked in the last quarter of 2009 and first three months of 2010.

“The return of excess quantities by Germany and Spain creates downside risk of up to 15 per cent of total swine flu revenues for these companies,” they said. and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR