“On the basis of investigation into the first procurement of smallpox vaccine by the Department of Health, we found no link between the personal donations to the Labour Party by the Chief Executive of PowderJect and the award to his company of the contract to supply the vaccine.
“However, even where national security dictates that the Department of Health cannot follow normal procurement procedures, the Department must still be as transparent as possible. There must be robust protocols for the special procurement procedures which are to be followed so that the Department can demonstrate that it has acted properly and fairly.
“Regarding shortages in the supply of vaccines, the public health consequences may be very serious indeed. The Department faces a challenge in ensuring vaccine supplies where the number of suppliers is diminishing and some suppliers enjoy a near monopoly, resulting sometimes in increased prices. The Department should define its long-term strategy for ensuring adequate vaccine supplies as a complement to its short-term handling arrangements to deal with vaccine shortages.”
9 Apr 2003