France’s security will join a pharmacy firm from Monday on an alleged fraud and negligence charge which is linked to the deaths of multiple people who have prescribed a diabetes pill for weight loss despite safety concerns.
Around 500 people are considered to have died of heart valve problems in France after taking the drug, Mediator, in a big-time health scandal that became the centerpiece of a 2016 French movie called “150 Milligrams”.
Legal experts have confirmed around 2100 deaths due to the drug in the long term.
The criminal trial, with 12 individuals, will circle 91 victims, four out of them found dead, for whom lawyers believe that a link can be shown between the illness and Mediator.
The medicine was in the market for about 33 years and consumed by almost five million people.
It was initially intended for overweight people with diabetes, but then it was widely prescribed to healthy individuals as well as an appetite suppressant.
Safety alerts were first issued in the mid-1990s, but the drug was banned after a long time in 2009 — way after it was banned in the USA, Spain, and Italy.
Victims want to understand how this medicine could have been left on the market for so long, stated Charles Joseph-Oudin, who is supposed to represent about 250 complainants in the trial which is expected to run for around six months in Paris criminal court.
Drug manufacturer Servier and nine subsidiaries are charged with fraud for allegedly hiding Mediator’s risks, while the ANSM drug watchdog is being prosecuted for negligence in suspending the drug.