Switzerland, Italy Ban Novartis Flu Vaccines


Marta Falconi
Wall Street Journal
October 25, 2012

Switzerland’s health regulator imposed an immediate ban on Novartis AG’s flu vaccines Thursday after possibly contaminated flu shots were found in batches in Italy, in a further embarrassment for the Swiss drug maker, which has struggled with a raft of manufacturing problems recently.

Medical watchdog Swissmedic halted deliveries of up to 160,000 doses to doctors and pharmacies as a precaution following a similar move by Italian authorities. The ban comes at an awkward time shortly before the flu season starts. There is already a shortage of flu vaccines in Switzerland and Italy this year after Netherlands-based vaccine maker Crucell, a unit of American drug maker Johnson & Johnson, had suspended a delivery of seasonal flu vaccine across Europe last week.

In Austria, health authorities said they’ve issued a recommendation to doctors and pharmacies to switch to other flu vaccines than the Novartis products.

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