The second French pharmaceutical group, the Servier laboratory, which produced the Mediator is accused of fraud, aggravated deception, injuries and involuntary murders. Hearings begin on one of the biggest health scandals in recent history
Five thousand people involved in all of which 2.700 are civil parties, 376 lawyers and 25 defendants: these are the numbers of the Mediator process opened today before the criminal court in Paris. The case of killer drug responsible for the death of 1.500 (but perhaps 2.100) people in France is one of the biggest health scandals in recent history. The second French pharmaceutical group, the Servier laboratory, who produced it, is accused of fraud, aggravated deception, injuries and involuntary murders.
For the next 7 months, the judges will listen to 23 defendants, including 11 natural and 12 moral persons, to shed light on the medicine presented as adjuvant to the treatment of diabetes, except then causing death due to its toxic effects on the heart. At the heart of the awaited trial is the truth about the Mediator: the Servier laboratory is accused of having hidden the dangerousness of the drug.
Marketed in 1976 for 33 years, it has always been presented to health authorities as a drug against excess cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as being considered an adjuvant for type 2 diabetes patients. "False presentation for commercial purposes only "concluded the investigating judges, for whom it was actually an amphetamine-derived hunger-suppressant drug, similar to two others on the market but sold on knowledge.
It was confirmed that the three products belonged to the same family of molecules - the enfluramina - amphetamine derivative with anorectic effect that acts by promoting a sense of satiety, of which the health risks have been documented since the XNUMXs by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Yet the Mediator was banned only in 2009, after the alarm launched by a Brest pulmonologist, Irene Frachon, while the other Servier hunger inhibitors were withdrawn from sale in 1997 as potentially harmful to the heart valves and involved in the pulmonary arterial hypertension.
The Mediator instead continued to be prescribed, more and more for its anorectic effect, without Servier intervening. The National Medicines and Health Products Agency also involved, which "did not act quickly enough, partly because of the internal rules of the institution, which did not know how to listen to the alerts, but also because of the interests of some of its members. in Servier's business, "said Charles Joseph-Oudin, a lawyer for several victims of the drug.
Thus ex-agency experts also sit on the defendants' bench, on charges of "illegal appropriation of interests". Among the excellent absentees Jacques Servier, founder of the Servier laboratory, among the first accused, who died in 2014 at the age of 92.