§ Pete Wishart
To ask the Secretary of State for Health by what selection criteria the contract to produce smallpox vaccine for the UK Government were awarded. 
§ Mr. Hutton
[holding answer 23 May 2002]: Detailed confidential discussions were held with five major pharmaceutical companies who were known to have vaccine manufacturing capabilities either in the UK or in Europe. The key criterion for awarding the contract for smallpox vaccine was the ability to supply the quantity of vaccine of the preferred strain within the desired timescale.