english.prescrire.org > Spotlight > Archives : 2015 > In the wake of France's Mediator° (benfluorex) disaster, a "manifesto" in favour of medical ethics

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In the wake of France's Mediator° (benfluorex) disaster, a "manifesto" in favour of medical ethics

30 physicians, philosophers and activists have launched "Le Manifeste des 30", a manifesto to remind the drug company Servier and the medical profession of their legal and moral obligations.

The non-profit medical journal Prescrire invites healthcare professionals, patients and anyone convinced of the necessity of refusing conflicts of interest in order to best serve patients to sign this manifesto, available (in French) on the site www.manifestedes30.com

Full text of the "Manifeste des 30" (Prescrire's translation) :

"We, the signatories of this manifesto, urge healthcare professionals to reconsider their links with the drug company Servier, which is under investigation for extremely serious conduct resulting in thousands of cases of serious heart disease and death.

In early 2014, the Paris prosecutor announced the end of the criminal investigation conducted by investigating magistrates from the Paris Health Branch following the withdrawal of Mediator from the market at the end of 2009. The investigation and in particular the criminal assessment report confirm the dramatic human cost as well as the existence of serious grounds for an investigation of the drug company Servier for "aggravated deception with endangerment of persons", "fraud", "involuntary manslaughter and bodily harm", "influence peddling and unlawful acquisition of interests".

Instead of making amends, the drug company Servier has for several years been engaging in legal guerrilla warfare to delay the criminal trial and especially the payment of civil damages to victims. Reneging on its public commitments to pay damages, it has relentlessly contested every stage of the compensation process, recently going so far as to compel the State (via the Oniam*) to take the company's place and to pay damages to the victims out of public funds!

While the health of many of the victims continues to deteriorate, the drug company Servier is pushing many of them to abandon hope and to believe that "in fact, Servier is waiting for them to die". This attitude is contrary to scientific and pharmaceutical ethics.

In these circumstances, the signatories of this manifesto deplore the fact that the drug company Servier is still welcomed as a sponsor by part of the medical community, certain learned societies and a number of medical opinion leaders.

They solemnly call upon doctors, healthcare professionals and the bodies representing them to re-evaluate the appropriateness of their links with the drug company Servier, and to verify whether these partnerships are compatible with the fundamental principles of medical ethics."

*Oniam: Office National d'Indemnisation des victimes d'Accidents Médicaux (National Bureau for the Compensation of Victims of Medical Accidents).


©Prescrire 7 September 2015

To sign the "Manifeste des 30"