UPDATED: Canada, Switzerland lift ban on Novartis flu vaccine

Both Switzerland's and Canada's health agencies lifted a ban on Novartis' ($NVS) flu vaccines manufactured in Italy. The countries had joined Italy, Austria and Germany in freezing sales of the vaccine due to the discovery by the company of small clumps of virus particles in some batches. Germany even went so far as to recall some lots of the vaccine.

Health Canada investigated the findings.

"We think it's prudent, given the response of certain European countries to … request of Novartis--and they will be complying--to stop distributing and then to recommend to practitioners to refrain from using the [Novartis] vaccine just until this review is completed," Dr. Paul Gully, senior medical advisory for Health Canada, told The Vancouver Sun.

Officials also told doctors and other health workers to cease administration of the product for now.

Novartis asserted its confidence in the safety and efficacy of the flu vaccines manufactured in Italy in a statement.

- check out the Reuters piece
- here's more from The Vancouver Sun
- read the Novartis statement
- see the CBC's take

Special Report: Fierce's 2012 Top 10 FDA Red Flags