France’s drug watchdog will join a Monday dock pharmaceutical company on fraud and negligence charges related to the fatalities of individuals who have been prescribed a diabetes pill for weight loss despite security issues.
After taking the drug, Mediator, in a significant health scandal that became the topic of a 2016 French film called 150 Milligrams, at least 500 individuals are believed to have died of heart valve issues in France.
With 12 people in the dock, the criminal trial will concentrate on 91 victims, four of whom are dead, for whom attorneys think a connection between their disease and Mediator can be shown.
For 33 years, medicine has been on the market and used by about 5 million individuals. Although originally designed for people with diabetes who were overweight, it was commonly prescribed as an medicine for healthy people.
In the mid-1990s, safety alerts were first flagged, but the medicine was only banned in France in 2009 — long after it was outlawed in the United States, Spain, and Italy.
Both risks a fine or an order to compensate victims at the end of the trial.
Pulmonologist Irene Frachon had warned French health officials about heart problems among patients taking the drug. In 2010, she released a book that became the foundation for a documentary film.
In 2010 at least 500 fatalities were related to Mediator by the ANSM, then known as Afssaps.
Victims filed almost 10,500 Servier claims for compensation, and many accepted payment in exchange for not participating in criminal proceedings.
The website of Servier states that it made compensation offers to more than 3,700 people for a total amount of € 164.4 million ($182 million), of which € 131.8 million was paid out.
In one event, the sums vary from a few thousand euros per individual to one million euros. It is expected that approximately 100 witnesses will take the stand, including Frachon, who said it was time to serve justice.