Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline was accused of cashing in on swine flu after it revealed its profits have risen 10 per cent since the virus was identified.
It announced profits yesterday of £2.1billion in the past three months. Sales of vaccines and antiviral drugs could push the figure up even higher.
GSK chief executive Andrew Witty admitted the swine flu crisis would be a ‘significant financial event for the company’.
Sales of the company’s Relenza inhaler, an alternative to Tamiflu used by pregnant women among others, are expected to top £600million.
And this figure could be boosted by up to £2billion once deliveries of the swine flu vaccine begin in September.
But Mr Witty denied Europe’s biggest drugs company was gearing up to cash in.
‘We are not trying to generate some crazy level of profit,’ he said. ‘Equally our shareholders wouldn’t want us to do it for anything other than a return.’
Mr Witty said GSK had invested more than £1.5billion in research and equipment to produce the jab.