FILE - This Oct. 25, 2011 file photo shows the logo of Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG on one of their buildings in Basel, Switzerland. (AP Photo/Keystone, Georgios Kefalas, File).
BERLIN (AP) — Six European countries have ordered a temporary ban on the import or use of some Novartis flu vaccines.
Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland have limited the use of Fluad or Aggripal, or both, after the company reported the appearance of small particles in the vaccine to Italian authorities.
Italian health officials say the company knew of the problem since July but only notified them this month.
Novartis spokesman Eric Althoff declined to specify Friday how long the Basel, Switzerland-based pharmaceutical giant waited before telling authorities.
In an email, Althoff said that "once the deviation was seen, an investigation was started and the findings were shared with the Italian Ministry of Health."
Other flu vaccines are available in the affected countries but delivery bottlenecks are expected in some regions.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to email@example.com. Please provide detailed information.