TB vaccine is recalled

23.02PM BST, 9 Aug 2002

A vaccine for tuberculosis is being recalled by the pharmaceutical company
at the centre of the Government's smallpox contract controversy.

PowderJect Pharmaceuticals Plc says it is voluntarily recalling its BCG
(tuberculosis) vaccine in the UK as a "precautionary" measure.

It follows an "interim suspension of the company's licence for BCG vaccine
in Ireland", the company said in a statement tonight.

The move follows testing that found a small number of batches did not meet
the end-of-shelf-life specification, the company said.

PowderJect said: "The regulators are satisfied that there are no related
safety implications, although the batches were potentially less potent than

PowderJect, run by Dr Paul Drayson, was recently awarded a 28m contract for
the UK's smallpox vaccine.

The company came under the spotlight after it was revealed that Dr Drayson
had earlier donated 100,000 to Labour.

Critics had asked why the contract was not put out to tender as it was in
the US.

A US expert, Dr Steve Prior, claimed Britain had bought the wrong type of
smallpox vaccine to guard against terrorist attack.