§ Dr. Gibson
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what procedures were enacted to raise tenders for the production of smallpox vaccine recently in the UK. 
§ Mr. Hutton
[holding answer 18 April 2002]: In seeking to establish which vaccine-manufacturing companies might be able to provide new smallpox vaccine to meet our requirements, we took the decision that purchase would fall outside the usual open competitive tendering process in the interests of national security, in accordance with Paragraph 6(c) of the Public Supply Contracts Regulations 1995.
Detailed confidential discussions were held with 5 major pharmaceutical companies known to have vaccine manufacturing capability either in the UK or in Europe. Our requirements for the vaccine strain, timing and delivery were made clear to each of the companies, who were then given time to submit their responses.