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French doctors demand to know why drug stayed on the market for so long

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 03 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6882
  1. Paul Benkimoun
  1. 1Paris

French doctors, the public, and the media are asking how a drug that, it is claimed, might have had a role in an estimated 500 deaths was able to stay on the market for 33 years.

The ministry of health announced on 16 November that it was launching a public investigation into the regulation of benfluorex (Mediator) from Servier, France’s second largest drug company. The same day, the French medicines agency (Afssaps, Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Produits de Santé), stated that, on the basis of epidemiological studies, around 500 deaths might be attributable to the use of benfluorex, which was available in France as an adjuvant for type 2 diabetes from 1976 to November 2009.

Benfluorex seems to belong to the …

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