Switzerland, Canada lift ban on Novartis flu vaccine

Swiss and Canadian health authorities on Wednesday lifted a ban on sales of flu vaccines made by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis after determining they were safe and efficient.

"The partially visible white particles are in no way external impurities, but are agglutinations of ordinary of the vaccine," Switzerland's national drug agency Swissmedic said in a statement.

Novartis provided what it said was a statement from the Canadian authorities.

The of Canada said in the statement it had lifted their freeze after determining they were safe, saying it was "now advising in possession of these vaccines that they can start using them once again."

Last week, Italy first froze the sale and use of Novartis's Fluad and Begripal flu vaccines after white particles were seen in syringes carrying them, and Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, Spain and Canada soon followed suit.

Swissmedic stressed Wednesday though that "such (particles) can in effect be created during the manufacturing of the vaccine, but dissolve if the syringe is used in conformity with instructions," pointing out that the syringe should be lightly shaken before use.

"The security and efficiency of the vaccine are in no way weakened by these (particles) present in some syringes," it said, adding that its own labs had tested the vaccines and had confirmed their quality.

Some 160,000 doses of the vaccines were affected by last week's freeze in Switzerland alone, according to Swissmedic.

Novartis said Wednesday it was "pleased" at Switzerland and Canada's decisions to resume use of its vaccines.

"We have always remained confident in the safety and efficacy of our vaccines," the company said, adding that it now was "working with the Swiss and Canadian Authorities to resume full distribution as soon as possible to protect against seasonal influenza."

" is working diligently with other to address their questions and resume distribution," it added.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Germany orders recall of some Novartis flu shots

Oct 25, 2012

(AP)—German authorities ordered a recall Thursday of some batches of Novartis flu vaccine as a precautionary measure after the company reported the appearance of small particles in the manufacturing process.

Novartis denies problems with swine flu vaccine

Oct 26, 2009

Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis on Monday denied that it faced hurdles in gaining regulatory approval in Switzerland for one of its swine flu vaccines because of possible bacterial contamination.

Recommended for you

Use new meningitis vaccines only for outbreaks

6 hours ago

(AP)—A U.S. panel on Thursday recommended that two new meningitis vaccines only be used for rare outbreaks, resisting tearful pleas to give it routinely to teens and college students.

New antibiotic avycaz approved

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The combination antibiotic Avycaz (ceftazidime-avibactam) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with complicated infections of the intra-abdominal area or urinary tract, ...

Tagging drugs to fight counterfeit medicines

Feb 25, 2015

The U.S. and other countries are enacting rules to clamp down on the sales of fake pharmaceuticals, which pose a public health threat. But figuring out a system to track and authenticate legitimate drugs still faces significant ...

Watchdog group seeks FDA ban of antifungal tablets

Feb 24, 2015

(AP)—A consumer safety group is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to pull certain antifungal tablets off the market, saying there are safer medicines that do not carry risks of liver damage.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.