The whistleblowing doctor who took on French pharma giant over 'killer' drug

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A trial opened in Paris on Monday centred on one of France’s biggest-ever pharmaceutical scandals, so vast and involving so many people that it is expected to last up to seven months. French pharmaceutical firm Servier is accused of hiding the killer side effects of its drug Mediator, a treatment for type-2 diabetes patients, but which was widely prescribed as an appetite suppressant. Up to 2,000 patients are estimated to have died from pulmonary and heart disease caused by Mediator, the dangers of which the drug safety authorities, several of whose members are also standing trial, turned a blind eye to. The scandal was revealed ten years ago by pulmonologist Irène Frachon, whose dogged investigations have seen her ostracised by many in the medical establishment. She talks about her campaign and its aftermath in this interview with Rozenn Le Saint.

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One of France’s biggest-ever pharmaceutical scandals is the subject of a trial that opened in Paris on Monday and which is expected to last until the end of April. It centres on an amphetamine-derived drug called Mediator, which was produced by Servier, France’s second-largest pharmaceutical company, as a treatment for overweight type-2 diabetes patients, but which was also widely prescribed as an appetite suppressant for people who wanted to lose weight.