Dutch chief virologist denies conflict of interest

30th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Ab Osterhaus who owns a 10 percent stake in a company researching on flu vaccines had earlier advised the Dutch government to buy 34 million doses of flu vaccine.

The Hague – Dutch chief virologist Ab Osterhaus who has shares in a company researching on flu vaccines and had advised the government on how to tackle the A(H1N1) virus denies profitting from the flu epidemic.

De Telegraaf reports Wednesday Osterhaus has a 10 percent share in Rotterdam company ViroClinics, which is affiliated with the Erasmus Medical Centre. The virologist also works one day a week at the clinic

Osterhaus had earlier advised the government agreed to buy 34 million doses of flu vaccine so that everyone in the Netherlands could receive two flu jabs.

The Freedom Party is now accusing him of having a conflict of interests.

In NOS public television chat show Pauw & Witteman, Freedom Party MP Fleur Agema said: “If this is true, I think the government should break any contact it has with him immediately.”

The professor stressed any profits made by ViroClinics goes to scientific research and that he has not done anything secretive or wrong. He maintained he has always said he is involved in the company.

Osterhaus said he also advises several organisations including the World Health Organisation, which has no reservations about his job for with the vaccine company.

“If I were doing something that was not allowed, I wouldn’t be advising prominent organisations like the WHO,” he told Dutch news agency ANP.

However, De Telegraaf pointed out that Osterhaus has said earlier that he does not have share in any companies researching on flu vaccines.

Various MPs are calling on the government to take action although it is still not known when an emergency debate will be held with Health Minister Ab Klink.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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