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France Braced for Diabetic Drug Scandal

French health experts believe that the diabetes drug Mediator may have killed anywhere from 500 to 2,000 people before it was finally banned. Mediator was kept on the market for years in spite of warnings about its side-effects, which include heart valve disease and pulmonary hypertension. Doctors also frequently misprescribed Mediator as an appetite-suppressant.

A judicial investigation has been launched to establish any criminal responsibility in the affair. Dozens of victims of the drug have filed lawsuits.

BBC News reports:

"For a country that likes to think it has the best medical system in the world, the Mediator affair is both an embarrassment and wake-up call ... By the time it was taken off the market in November 2009, it is reckoned that some five million people had taken Mediator, making it among the 50 most-prescribed drugs in the country."

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