Amid the furore caused by claims from Europe about a fake pandemic and governments renegotiating their contracts, GlaxoSmithKline has revealed that sales of its influenza A (H1N1) vaccine reached £835 million in the fourth quarter.

The drugs giant says that around 130 million doses of its swine flu vaccine were delivered to governments in the fourth quarter of 2009. These shipments, along with pandemic vaccine products supplied to the USA and other governments in the quarter, amounted to unaudited sales sales of £835 million. GSK also noted that a donation of 60 million vaccine doses to the World Health Organisation will be charged as a selling, general and administrative cost in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The company added that shipments of the vaccine continue to be delivered in the first half of 2010 and it is in “ongoing discussions with many governments, as their needs evolve”. This includes renegotiation of contracts, as well as with governments who have placed new orders for the vaccine, and it is “therefore too early to say what the final number of doses supplied and the value of these orders will be”.

The figure is lower than many analysts had expected. Morgan Stanley had predicted £2.2 billion sales from swine flu vaccines for GSK for the fourth quarter of 2009 and first quarter of 2010. It is thought that other vaccine suppliers such as Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis will suffer a similar fall on estimates made when the pandemic was declared in June last year.

The figures were released days after GSK reached an agreement with the German Ministry of Health to amend its existing contract to receive 34 million doses rather than 50 million. The firm is also involved in similar discussions with the UK, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Last week, analysts at Credit Suisse downgraded GSK shares to underperform from outperform, saying that “emerging concerns that pandemic flu potential has been overstated could limit earnings growth to 0% at best, versus peer group average of plus 5%”. They added that with the stock trading at a 7% premium to peers on 2010 earnings, “we see downside risk in the short term”.