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500 deaths from diabetes drug mediator? French investigative authorities open proceedings against pharmaceutical manufacturers
The manufacturer of the diabetes medication "Mediator" has to answer in court. The 88-year-old French pharmaceutical company Jacques Servier was charged with suspected negligent homicide, assault and fraud. The side effects of the diabetes medication Mediator, which was later also widely used as an appetite suppressant, are said to have led to deaths in 500 to 2000 people, according to estimates by the French health authorities. For this, the owner of the manufacturing pharmaceutical company, Jacques Servier, now has to answer in court. The 88-year-old faces up to four years imprisonment and the pharmaceutical company Servier could lose his license.
Dangerous diabetes medication used for 30 years The controversial diabetes medication was approved in France as early as 1976 and since then has been used not only for diabetes but increasingly as an appetite suppressant. By the time the drug was banned in 2009, more than five million consumers in France were said to have used mediators, according to French drug regulators. The second largest French pharmaceutical company, Servier, had sold the diabetes drug with the dangerous side effects for over 30 years, until the drug regulator removed Mediator from the market.
However, the pharmaceutical company had apparently been aware of the significant side effects for a long time. The French health authorities announced at the end of last year that around 3,500 hospitalizations in France had become necessary as a result of taking the medication Mediator and that at least 500 patients had died as a result of the use during the past thirty years. At the end of 2009, the French drug regulator was forced to ban mediators in France because of the massive side effects (especially in patients with heart valve malfunction). In other European countries, such as Germany, the controversial diabetes medication had never been approved or - as in Spain and Italy in 2005 - it was withdrawn after the massive side effects became known.
Survivors and victims sue pharmaceutical company Servier In France, 175 people, survivors and victims have brought together and sued the pharmaceutical company Servier. The plaintiff alleged that the company negligent accepted the killing or at least the serious damage to health of the customers and fraudulently attempted to keep the preparation, which was also sold as an appetite suppressant, on the market. Both the state and private health insurers in France support the plaintiffs in their concerns. To the very end, the pharmaceutical company has denied any responsibility and has questioned the credibility of the studies, which clearly relate to a large number of deaths. "These are conclusions from hypotheses," commented a spokesman for the company last year. Although not much has changed in this basic attitude, Servier now announced the establishment of a compensation fund with over 20 million euros immediately before the start of the process.
Diabetes drug scandal holds political explosiveness Given the claims for damages in excess of EUR 200 million, it is understandable that the pharmaceutical manufacturer Servier is trying to position itself a little better by founding a compensation fund. But it is questionable whether the plaintiffs are impressed by this offer. Your chances of success in court are relatively good given the variety of different studies that confirm Mediator's negative health effects. In addition, the backing for the pharmaceutical company seems to be gradually crumbling from the political side. The French president had recently honored the company's founder Jacques Servier for his special services. However, given the opposition's allegations that the government has countered a mediator ban to "protect (protect) the interests of the French laboratory Servier," President Sarkozy currently prefers to distance himself. It would be a political disaster for his scandal-ridden government if it turned out that politicians had prevented the drug from being banned despite the dangerous side effects. (fp)
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