A(H1N1): the state facing the risks of a pandemic
Financially, the government didn’t strike a good deal by exposing itself to limitless risk. But it wasn’t in a position to negotiate either. There was a great deal of pressure and there were genuine threats concerning the deliverable stocks of vaccines. “From the moment the state was seeking to guarantee the health of its citizens – literally at any cost –, and that this essential requirement exceeded the financial issue and became the main value it had to guarantee, the bill was negotiated according to the pharmaceutical group’s goodwill. Undoubtedly, in an ideal scenario, society requires less urgency, greater serenity, and less media frenzy at the first sign of a scandal. But these are the rules of the game of public action today. And in this sense, with a minimum of empathy, we can imagine that if we'd been in the government's position, we would probably have acted in the same way." Furthermore, it should be noted that in parliament, despite several criticisms concerning form, the opposition at the time was more or less in agreement regarding the initiative taken by the government.
An action not without forethought
While the signature of the contract certainly seemed hurried, it was part of a process within a longer time span than the appearance of the A(H1N1) flu. “The idea of implementing an epidemic prevention plan began to emerge in 2005, in the aftermath of the bird flu. The crisis of 2009 acted as a catalyst, in the chemical sense of the term. It simply served to accelerate and precipitate a reaction where all the ingredients were already in place.” Another argument that favoured the choice of this vaccine was that its components weren't all mixed together, but divided into two parts. One was a standard vaccine against the flu while the other one, an adjuvant to the vaccine, contained specific elements of the strain in question. This meant that if part of the doses weren't used, a significant part of the order could be used for a future epidemic. In this case, another adjuvant would simply have to be added.