French authorities are investigating GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur over an anti-hepatitis B vaccination campaign in the 1990s. At issue is whether the companies fully disclosed the shot's potential side effects.
The probe also includes accusations of manslaughter against Sanofi Pasteur MSD, a joint venture of Sanofi Aventis and Merck. The allegations stem from the death of a young woman from multiple sclerosis; the woman had been vaccinated. A Sanofi official called the charges "unjustified," saying that 11 studies have shown no link between the hepatitis B vaccine and MS.
The vaccination campaign in question ran from 1994 to 1998, but then was suspended because of concerns about possible side effects. Thirty plaintiffs have filed civil claims, including the families of five who died after being vaccinated.