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Top adviser at the European Medicines Agency quits suddenly

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e2641 (Published 11 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2641
  1. Paul Benkimoun
  1. 1Paris

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on 4 April the immediate resignation of the chair of its Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) in a short press release, which gave no reasons for his departure.

The document stated that the agency’s, director Guido Rasi, had accepted the resignation of Eric Abadie “with immediate effect,” and that the committee’s vice chair, Tomas Salmonson, would take over meanwhile to ensure continuity.

Commentators believe that the resignation is closely related to the debacle over the delay in the withdrawal of the drug benfluorex (marketed as Mediator) in France. As well as his position at the EMA, Abadie has been scientific adviser, to the director general of the French medicines agency (Afssaps), during a time when it was heavily criticised for the way it dealt with benfluorex. His position at the French agency is not going to be renewed when his contract expires in the near future.

Benfluorex was an adjuvant for type 2 diabetes made by Servier, which was available in France from 1976 until its withdrawal from the market in November 2009, when evidence that it had an adverse effect on cardiac valves became overwhelming. It is thought to have caused the deaths of between 500 and 2000 people

The French agency was heavily criticised for its slowness to act and this crisis led to an overhaul of the French agency. Several top executives had to leave Afssaps at the end of January 2011, including its director general, Jean Marimbert, who had designated Abadie as one of his two scientific advisers.

Notes

Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2641