‘Virologist has other drugs company interests’

The government’s chief virologist, under fire because of his shareholding in a company working on flu vaccines, has other drugs company links, the Financieele Dagblad said on Thursday.

Ab Osterhaus, who advises the government on dealing with the forecast swine flu epidemic, is also chairman of Belgian foundation ESWI which promotes the use of vaccines and is sponsored by the global vaccine industry, the paper says.
GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, the two companies which are supplying the Dutch government with 34 million swine flu doses on Osterhaus’ recommendations, are both among the sponors, the paper says.
In addition, Osterhaus is an advisor at Britain’s Jenner Institute which develops animal vaccines and has close industry ties.
On Wednesday it emerged Osterhaus, a professor at Erasmus MC university teaching hospital in Rotterdam, devotes one day a week to a university-owned company called ViroClinics, in which he has an almost 10% stake.
MPs are furious at Osterhaus’ double role and have called on the government to take action.

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