Italy bans No­var­tis' flu drug after 4 die

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

ITALY HAS sus­pended the use of a flu vac­cine after four peo­ple—two men and two women aged be­tween 67 and 87—who were ad­min­is­tered doses died. Fluad, an in­fluenza vac­cine for the el­derly, is man­u­fac­tured by the Swiss firm No­var­tis. The drug has been sus­pended as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure in Italy. The coun­try's phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal watch­dog, Agen­zia Ital­iana del Far­maco (Ital­ian Medicines Agency), or AIFA, claims that tests are be­ing con­ducted to es­tab­lish a link. No­var­tis, how­ever, vouches for its safety his­tory, claim­ing that 65 mil­lion doses of Fluad have been ad­min­is­tered suc­cess­fully world­wide, with clin­i­cal tri­als in­volv­ing more than 70,000 peo­ple. The vac­cine, No­var­tis says, was ap­proved in 1997 and has been in use since.

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