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Swiss health office and pharma firm at odds over flu spray

A few days in bed might also help to recover from flu. Keystone / Martin Ruetschi

The Swiss health authorities and the manufacturer AstraZeneca are at loggerheads over a nasal spray to vaccinate children and adolescents against influenza.

The British-Swedish manufacturer told the Swiss Keystone-SDA agency that it had been asked by the Federal Office of Public Health to introduce its product in Switzerland two years ago.

However, the health office had later set unacceptable financial conditions, a company spokesman said.

For its part, the health office told Keystone-SDA that AstraZeneca is asking for remuneration at more than twice the price of comparable products.

Therefore no agreement has been reached so far to distribute the vaccine and the marketing authorisation holder has withdrawn its application, the office added.

As a result, some 10,000 does of the spray is still in cold storage, while an application to drugs regulator, Swissmedic, for the free distribution of the doses via paediatric hospitals or doctors’ surgeries is still pending, the SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported.

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