Italy bans Novartis flu vaccines pending tests

The Italian health ministry said on Wednesday that it had imposed an immediate ban on the sale and use of four anti-influenza drugs produced by Swiss drugs group Novartis pending tests on possible side-effects.

The ban applied to the following Novartis drugs: Agrippal, Fluad and subunit Influpozzi and adjunvated Influpozzi.

The ministry said it advised citizens not to buy or use the drugs until further notice.

It said the Italian Pharmaceutical Agency had decided that further tests on the products may be necessary following indications of possible side effects and said Health Minister Renato Balduzzi was following the case closely.