Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Global Impact: Canada, Switzerland Lift Ban on Novartis' Flu Vaccines

According to Reuters, Canadian and Swiss health authorities lifted a ban on Novartis' flu vaccines earlier today (October 31) after the drug manufacturer demonstrated that their vaccines posed no risk to safety.
Last week Italy banned the sale of four flu vaccines produced by Novartis pending tests for possible side effects after small particles were found in some of the injections. Other countries including Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Spain and France followed suit by suspending deliveries, recommending the use of alternative products or recalling batches of the vaccines.
Swissmedic and Health Canada said information from Novartis and their own testing had shown that white particles found in the vaccines were normal clumps of protein particles and did not indicate a safety issue.
Italy's drug oversight agency said it was still reviewing the results of tests on Novartis' flu vaccines, but is "cautiously positive" about being able to lift a ban on some lots in coming days.
Germany's vaccine agency said it had retracted approval of some lots of Novartis's vaccines Begripal and Fluad, meaning those particular lots could not be released onto the market.
Austria's health ministry said it is maintaining for now its advice to physicians to avoid using Novartis's Fluad and Sandovac in favor of other products.