Sir Patrick Vallance has £600,000 of shares in a pharmaceuticals giant contracted to develop a Covid vaccine for the Government, a report has revealed.
The Chief Scientific Adviser, who leads the Government’s expert panel on vaccines, holds 43,111 shares in GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) from his time as president of the drugs company.
According to the Telegraph, accounts show Sir Patrick held 404,201 shares when he resigned in 2018 – worth £6.1 million at today’s price. He has already sold more than £5 million in shares he received during his six-year tenure with the company.
GSK is one of over 20 pharmaceutical firms around the world racing to provide a vaccine for coronavirus. The manufacturer has deals with the British and US governments to supply them with jabs, subject to terms in a final contract.
Insisting that Sir Patrick should have declared his stake in the company, a senior Conservative MP and ex-Cabinet minister told The Telegraph: ‘If he is making decisions on vaccines and advising the Government on them, then he either needs to divest himself of the shares or make a declaration every time he touches on the subject.
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‘In the Commons, every time MPs raise an issue in which there is a registered interest, they have to declare it. Every time he is talking about vaccines or on TV, he should put it on the table.’
It is unclear whether Vallance has declared his interest at any stage. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has denied that Sir Patrick’s shares in GSK present a conflict of interest.
Speaking to LBC, Hancock said it was wrong to suggest that Sir Patrick was ‘doing anything other than his level best to try and tackle this virus’.
A Government spokesperson said: ‘Upon his appointment, appropriate steps were taken to manage the Government Chief Scientific Adviser’s interests in line with advice provided at the time.
‘The GCSA has no input into contractual and commercial decisions on vaccine procurement which are taken by Ministers following a robust cross-Government approvals regime.’
Sources said Vallance previously sold his shares in GSK, and he now only holds a deferred bonus, which is a matter of public record, and matures in April 2021.
They added that appropriate controls are in place to manage any conflicts of interest.
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