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Paris court fines Servier 2.7 million euros over weight-loss drug

PARIS (Reuters) -A Paris court on Monday found French drugmaker Servier guilty of manslaughter and deception over weight-loss pill Mediator, and fined the company 2.7 million euros ($3.18 million), according to a copy of the ruling seen by Reuters.

France’s health ministry has said that at least 500 people died of heart valve problems in France because of exposure to the active ingredient in Mediator, a drug which was withdrawn from sale in 2009.

The court on Monday also fined France’s drug regulator ANSM 303,000 euros.

Servier said in an emailed statement it was analysing the decision and would decide upon what further action to take in the coming days.

Contacted by Reuters, a spokeswoman for ANSM said she could not provide an immediate comment.

Servier has acknowledged in the past that Mediator had serious consequences for some patients and agreed to compensate some victims, but it also said it would fight inaccuracies and false statements.

Once licensed as a diabetes treatment, Mediator was widely prescribed as an appetite suppressant to help people lose weight. Its active chemical substance is known as Benfluorex.

The drug was withdrawn from sale in Spain, Italy and the United States around a decade before it was pulled from the French market.

($1 = 0.8499 euro)

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Sudip Kar-Gupta; Writing by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Christian Lowe and Jonathan Oatis

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