Freight worth an estimated £7.2million ($10million) has been held by customs agents at an airport in Rome, Bloomberg reports. The medicines produced British manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline are understood to have been held in the capital for around a week while it awaits testing.
GlaxoSmithKline confirmed it was aware of the delay for the batch destined for its production site in Marietta, Pennsylvania.
The firm’s Italian Unit said in an email that the shipment is being held while it awaits export permission and describes the checks as “routine”.
The freight of meningitis vaccine is said to have drawn suspicions due to some unlabelled vials.
The global firm, which has its headquarters based in Brentford, currently does not produce any of the approved COVID-19 jabs.
The incident comes amid growing tensions between the UK and the European Union over transportation and supply of vaccines.
Brussels has threatened to halt exports of COVID-19 jabs to the UK due to a shortfall in the number of vaccines for the EU27.
Authorities in Italy have been on the lookout for unauthorised shipments of COVID-19 products in recent days.
Last week, officials seized 29 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from a plant in the town of Anagni.
More to follow…