Servier served with manslaughter charge

A scandal that led France to remake its drug regulatory process has erupted again, this time with the founder of French drugmaker Servier being charged with manslaughter.

The 90-year-old Louis Servier and 6 of his companies were charged in the case over Mediator, a diabetes drug that was tied to heart problems in thousands of patients and the deaths of as many as 500. Louis Servier was ordered to post about $97,500 in bail, Reuters reports. A trial on separate charges that began in May over whether Servier misled authorities and consumers about the dangers of the drug was suspended but is still pending. He and other executives face jail time on the first set of charges.

French authorities allowed the drug, which was often prescribed for weight loss, to be sold there for 10 years after the U.S. and other countries had withdrawn it from the market. When the matter finally reached the outrage level in France, the country launched a probe into ties between the company and regulators, and the top drug regulator resigned.

It wasn't the only issue to spark concern there. There was also an outcry last year when it was learned that a breast-implant maker in France had been using industrial-grade silicone in implants, which were rupturing and causing lots of medical issues. France earlier this year replaced its old drug and device regulatory agency with an all-new one with much stricter rules about ties between companies and regulators.

- read the Reuters story