On Monday at the Court of Appeal in Paris, in a crowded courtroom, the appeal process began in the case of the mediator, a drug from the Servier Laboratories, accused of killing hundreds of patients.
This first day of hearings was devoted to preliminary procedural matters, such as the hearing schedule for witnesses and experts who will be called to testify in the coming weeks.
The court, presided over by Olivier Geron, will begin hearing the defendants only on January 17th.
7,650 civil parties have been established, Mr. Geron announced as he opened the debate.
Only the group Servier and its former number 2 Jean-Philippe Setat appear before the Court of Appeal.
Marketed as an anti-diabetic agent in 1976, but inappropriately prescribed as an appetite suppressant until 2009, Mediator caused serious side effects in thousands of patients suffering from heart or lung pathologies, and sometimes led to their death.
It has been prescribed to about five million people in thirty-three years of sales.
At first instance, Laboratories Servier and Jean-Philippe Seth were found guilty of aggravated deceit, as well as manslaughter and involuntary bodily harm.
On March 29, 2021, Servier was sentenced to a fine of 2.7 million euros, Mr. Seta to four years of probation and a fine of 90,600 euros.
The group was also ordered to pay the victims a total of more than 183 million euros in damages.
In its decision, the Paris Criminal Court found that the Servier Laboratories “had sufficient data since 1995 to recognize the deadly risks” associated with the Broker.
The second French laboratory, on the other hand, was acquitted of crimes of improper marketing authorization and fraud, in particular to the detriment of social security, prompting the Paris prosecutor’s office and civil parties to take legal action.
Following them, the pharmaceutical group also filed an appeal.
– “The constancy of denial” –
“Laboratories Servier and Mr. Seta continue to deny that they deliberately deceived patients and gave doctors prescriptions about the dangers of the middleman,” François de Castro, one of their lawyers, told AFP.
“The purpose of this appeal process for my clients is, of course, to consolidate the gains, to confirm what has been obtained in terms of an aggravated deception conviction and in terms of compensation,” said Me Charles-Joseph Udin, a lawyer shortly before the hearing. on civil matters.
“We are even going to ask for a little more, focusing our discussions on the stubborn refusal of Servier Laboratories, who continue to deny their responsibility, which is especially difficult for my clients,” the lawyer added.
About fifty civilians are expected to testify in court over four days at the end of February.
“I hope that we really will witness the dismantling of the internal mechanics of deception in all its aspects. Principals, small hands… This is a criminal structure,” Ms. Frachon said during his arrival at the courthouse.
Describing Servier’s labs as a “laboratory of delinquents”, she recalled that people continued to die as a result of their treatment in the Mediator.
During the civilian appeal, the lawyers reported to the court that one or more of their clients had disappeared since the decision of the first instance.
“It is necessary that (Servier Laboratories) pay for all the crimes they have committed (…) I want at all costs that they be convicted to the maximum. They are criminals. They ruined my life,” says Francesca Paquita. The 68-year-old Guardiola traveled from Beaucaire (Gar) for the trial.
“They destroyed lives, families, and there are those who will fall again. For me, they knew the risk they were taking,” Noel, 75, a victim of the Ardennes Broker, says a lot.