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Chancellor of Justice: Change Probably Needed for Rules on Vaccine Trade

Legislation on grants from the pharmaceutical industry to state research institutes might require some fine-tuning. Chancellor of Justice Jaakko Jonkka has started to investigate if the current law contains a structural risk of bribery.

Jaakko Jonkka
Jaakko Jonkka Image: YLE

The Chancellor of Justice, whose job is to rule on allegations of wrongdoing by state officials, has received a number of complaints concerning the process in which the H1N1 or swine flu vaccine was administered to the public.

Some of the complaints focused on a perceived conflict of interest, as the National Institute for Health and Welfare - THL, which ordered the vaccine, had previously received a sizeable grant from the manufacturer for pharmaceutical research.

The Chancellor of Justice has asked for reports on the matter from the THL and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. However, no criminal investigations are being planned based on existing evidence.

“If something more concrete emerges, we need to consider whether or not to be in contact with the National Bureau of Investigation... However, now it does not look like it, but one can never be completely sure until the matter is completed,” Jonkka says.

The decision to acquire the vaccine was made at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, but THL experts were used in preparations for the matter. The Chancellor of Justice is now looking for more background information of research activities in order to ascertain if the present rules are sufficient.

“We are looking to see if there is a structural risk for the pharmaceutical industry to support the activities of the THL. It is a big question, in connection with which we need to consider, if there is need for revision in the rules. It is possible that there will be changes.”

Sources: YLE

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