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Novartis insists its flu vaccines are safe despite sales ban

Published on Oct 25, 2012 3:50 PM

ZURICH (AFP) - Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis insisted on Thursday that its flu vaccines were safe despite a sales ban by Italy, Switzerland and Austria.

"Novartis confirms its confidence in the safety and efficacy of its seasonal influenza vaccines Agrippal and Fluad," the company said in a statement released overnight.

On Wednesday, Italian, Swiss and Austrian authorities stopped sales of the vaccines pending tests into possible side effects.

The alarm was first raised in Italy after white particles were seen in syringes carrying the vaccines, but Novartis stressed that "these particles can occur in the vaccine manufacturing process," adding it was "confident that there is no impact on the safety or efficacy of the vaccine".

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