Firm to Make Fewer

Doses of Flu Vaccine

Chiron Corp. said yesterday that its production of flu vaccine for the U.S. market, and its financial results, will fall short of expectations this year because of production delays at its British manufacturing plant.

In July, Chiron said it expected to produce 18 million to 26 million doses of its Fluvirin vaccine for the 2005-2006 flu season, compared with its normal volume of around 50 million doses. Yesterday, chief executive Howard Pien said it would produce fewer than 18 million doses.

Chiron's plant in Liverpool, England, was restarted earlier this year after being closed about a year ago because of contamination problems.

The company, based in Emeryville, Calif., said it has begun delivery and release of Fluvirin to U.S. customers for the upcoming flu season after receiving approval from U.S. and British health regulators.

Acid Reflux Injection

Is Unsafe, FDA Says

The government is warning doctors to stop using Enteryx, an injection used to treat acid reflux disease, saying it has been connected to serious health problems and, in at least one case, a death.

Separately, a French study published yesterday in the Archives of Surgery indicates that a type of surgery to cure the disease is showing a high degree of long-term success.

Many of the problems with Enteryx have occurred when it was injected imprecisely, missing its intended destination and passing through the wall of the esophagus, sometimes entering other internal organs or the bloodstream and risking blockage of blood vessels, the Food and Drug Administration said.

Enteryx is injected as a liquid that solidifies into a spongy material that cannot be removed. When injected properly, it strengthens the lower esophagus, helping prevent stomach acid from entering and causing pain.

The FDA did not say how many problems have been discovered. Manufacturer Boston Scientific issued a recall on Sept. 23 but blamed the problems on faulty technique.

The FDA said people who received the injection and are suffering from chest, stomach or side pain, flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, or fainting spells should contact their doctor immediately.

-- From News Services