Italy stops import of Novartis flu vaccine

As a result of examinations conducted by the Italian authorities, Swissmedic has ordered an immediate stop of the export of two Novartis influenza vaccines to the country after it appears they could have been contaminated.
Indeed the Italian Ministry of Health had previously provisionally banned the import of three types of Novartis influenza vaccine on account of possible negative side effects.
It was on Wednesday afternoon that Swissmedic was informed of the measures taken by the Italian authorities and it was immediately investigated whether vaccines available in Switzerland were affected, too.
It seemed that imports were stopped in Italy after white particles were ascertained in the vaccines. This could have indicated that there was evidence of agglutination of the normal substances in the vaccine.
It was made clear that both the Italian Ministry of Health and the Italian Drugs Authority (AIFA) decided on the ban on imports simply as a precautionary measure. However, this still means that the three vaccines of Agripal, Fluad and Influpozzi remain banned in the country.
As a result of documents provided by the Novartis company, the AIFA deemed that new investigations into the safety and quality of these vaccines were necessary, especially bearing in mind that they might cause negative side effects and undesired reactions.
The Italian population has therefore been asked neither to buy, nor to use, the said vaccines for the time being.
The Novartis company employs some 13,548 people at 12 locations in Switzerland including those at Cham and Hünenberg in the canton.

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