(Adds background, Novartis comment)
ROME Nov 9 Italy lifted a ban on Novartis's
flu vaccines on Friday after accepting the drugmaker
had shown they posed no risk to safety.
The company said it hoped to quickly resume regular supplies
around the European Union.
Italy banned the sale of anti-influenza vaccines produced by
Novartis on Oct. 24, pending tests for possible side effects
after small particles were found in some of the injections.
The Italian pharmaceutical agency AIFA, a government body,
said on Friday it had lifted the ban "following careful checks
on the documentation produced by the company."
The agency said its analyses had gone beyond its routine
controls and had "confirmed the absence of defects" in the
products, Agrippal and Fluad.
After Italy imposed its ban several other countries followed
suit, including Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Spain, France,
Canada and Singapore.
Canadian and Swiss authorities lifted their bans on Oct. 31,
and Singapore ended its suspension on Nov. 2.
Novartis welcomed Italy's decision and said it would
"continue to work with other European Union countries to lift
remaining precautionary measures and resume supply there as soon
It said in a statement that for the 2012-2013 season more
than one million doses had been administered "with no unexpected
adverse events reported."
(Reporting by Gavin Jones; Editing by James Mackenzie and David