French Mediator crisis shows need for global regs

Here's a case for international alignment among drug regulators: amphetamine derivative Mediator, manufactured by Servier. The drug is in the news following an announcement by the French health secretary that those who took it "must see a doctor." France counts 500 heart-related deaths and 3,500 hospitalizations tied to drug, reports the Guardian.

Mediator--prescribed for overweight people with diabetes and as an appetite suppressant for healthy women--was launched in 1976 and banned in France in 2009. Some 5 million people took it, and it was subsidized by the government. But Spain and Italy banned the drug in 2005 due to health concerns. It was never sold in the UK or U.S.

Servier has been asked to remove the drug from distribution by December 6. Factions in parliament are demanding public investigation into why the drug was permitted to stay on the market for so long despite concerns.

- see the Guardian story
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