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Italy lifts ban on Novartis flu vaccine

ROME (Reuters) - 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 October 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 October 31, and Singapore ended its suspension on November 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 as possible."

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 Cowell)

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