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Mediator°: a book that spells trouble for one drug company

An exemplary book detailing a doctor’s battle against a dangerous drug.

In "Mediator° 150 mg : sous-titre censure" ("Mediator° 150 mg: subtitle censored"), pulmonologist Dr Irène Frachon describes her battle to have the dangers of Mediator° (benfluorex) recognised. The drug was prescribed as an appetite suppressant, prior to its withdrawal from the market in 2009.                     

Drawing on her own experience and on information from Prescrire, Dr Frachon gradually realised that many of her young female patients who underwent cardiac valve operations, suffered from pulmonary arterial hypertension, or had died as a result of cardiac problems, were in fact victims of benfluorex.

Frachon chronicles how the drug’s manufacturer and the French health products safety agency (Afssaps) dragged their feet in protecting patients against this drug’s serious adverse effects.

The firm Servier persisted in its denial by having the book’s original subtitle “how many deaths?” censored. The judge considered that this subtitle would damage the firm’s reputation and that of Mediator°,  were the drug to go back on sale.

This book takes an honest look at the world of medicines, with all its ramifications and dysfunction. It is recommended reading for everyone, especially patients, who owe a great deal to doctors such as Irène Frachon.

©Prescrire January 2011

"Mediator° 150 mg - Sous-titre censuré" Prescrire Int 2011; 20 (112): 26. (pdf, free)

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