top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

Killer slimming pill cost €1.5bn

Health service and mutuelles paid out more than €1billion in reimbursements for drug that may have killed 2,000

KILLER slimming pill Mediator cost the Caisse Nationale d'Assurance-Maladie (Cnam) €879 million in reimbursements over the 33 years that it was being prescribed.

The total cost of the now-banned drug is €1.2 billion once Cnam adds in its commitment to paying an extra €315m for continuing treatment of affected patients.

However, no accounting has been done for the extra costs of arrêts de travail sick days or invalidity. Reimbursements by mutuelles have also been excluded, although these will have been around €200m-€300m, making a total of €1.5bn.

Mediator has been implicated in the deaths of up to 2,000 people.

Figures obtained by newspaper Le Figaro showed that more than 145 million boxes of the now-banned drug, which was first commercialised as a treatment for diabetes, were sold. It was selling seven million boxes a year at its peak and was being used by 300,000 people in France when it was withdrawn from the market in 2009.

Studies had shown over several years that its main component, benfluorex, could weaken heart valves and cause pulmonary arterial hypertension. It was originally developed to help diabetics combat insulin resistance.

Pharmaceutical company Servier, the manufacturer, faces a slew of legal action from patients and relatives alleging involuntary manslaughter, while the Cnam has accused the company of fraud and making misleading claims. A recent study by newspaper Les Echos showed the company had €2bn in reserves and no debts.

Several former health ministers could also be implicated in the cases as the reimbursement for Mediator was never reduced, despite scientific warnings on its effects. President Sarkozy has also been linked to Servier as he was the lawyer for owner, Jacques Servier, and awarded him the Légion d’Honneur in 2008.

Further reading:
Watchdog reveals new medicine list
Shake-up in drug safety laws
Lab boss says drug did not kill 2,000

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France