France: Drugmaker on trial, suspected in deaths

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 | Finance News

NANTERRE, France (AP) — A French drug company and its founder are on trial on charges of misleading the public about a diabetes drug marketed as a weight loss method and suspected in hundreds of deaths.

But after years of delays in one of France's biggest recent health scandals, the proceedings could still be pushed back further.

Between 1976 and 2009, around 5 million people took Mediator, designed as a diabetes drug but widely promoted for weight loss. Mediator's creators, Servier Laboratories, face charges of "aggravated deception" in a trial that opened Tuesday in Nanterre, outside Paris.

Some victims and their families want a speedy trial, hoping a conviction would move forward their claims for damages.

Others, including Servier, want judges to delay proceedings while a separate manslaughter investigation is still underway in Paris.