Italy bans Novartis' flu drug after 4 die
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.