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Pharma exec handed four-year suspended sentence

29 Mar 2021 / regulation Print

Pharma exec handed four-year suspended sentence

The French manufacturer of a weight-loss pill has been found guilty of aggravated deceit and involuntary manslaughter.

A major health scandal is erupting over the drug Mediator, which was developed for use in overweight diabetics and acted as an appetite suppressant.

It was withdrawn in 2009, after being on the market for 33 years, amid concerns of it causing serious heart problems.

Hundreds of people are believed to have died as a result of the drug and over five million people were prescribed it.

Thousands of plaintiffs were involved in the trial, which began in 2019. Drug-maker Servier had denied any knowledge of Mediator's side effects but today (29 March) was issued with a fine of €2.7 million.

Risks 

"Although they knew about the risks for many years ... they never took the necessary measures," Judge Sylvie Daunis said.

The company's former deputy chairman, Jean-Philippe Seta, was also given a four-year suspended prison sentence.

France's medical regulator, meanwhile, was fined more than €300,000 for its role in the scandal. The judge found the body had "seriously failed" in its duties.

Italy and Spain banned the drug 20 years ago.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland