French company found guilty of deception on weight-loss pill

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A Paris court on Monday found French pharma company Servier guilty of manslaughter and deception over weight-loss pill Mediator, and fined it 2.7 million euros ($3.18 million), according to BFM Television.

France’s health ministry has said that at least 500 people died of heart valve problems in France because of exposure to the active ingredient in Mediator, a drug which was withdrawn from sale in 2009.

The court on Monday also fined France’s drug regulator ANSM 303,000 euros, BFM TV reported.

Servier’s press office did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment. Contacted by Reuters, a spokeswoman for ANSM said she could not provide an immediate comment.

Servier has acknowledged in the past that Mediator had serious consequences for some patients and agreed to compensate some victims, but it also said it would fight inaccuracies and false statements

Once licensed as a diabetes treatment, Mediator was widely prescribed as an appetite suppressant to help people lose weight. Its active chemical substance is known as Benfluorex.

The drug was withdrawn from sale in Spain, Italy and the United States around a decade before it was pulled from the French market.

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