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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Death-warning drug was never licensed in Ireland

Medicines Board reassures that weight-loss medicine which is linked to 500 deaths was not prescribed here.

Mediator was prescribed to diabetes patients - but also to people who wanted to lose weight
Mediator was prescribed to diabetes patients - but also to people who wanted to lose weight

THE IRISH MEDICINES Board has confirmed to that a weight-loss drug that has caused a medical scandal in France has never been available to Irish consumers.

The amphetamine-based Mediator drug was recommended to overweight diabetes sufferers but it was also prescribed as a weight-loss drug to healthy men and women as an appetite-suppressant in its 30 years on the French market. However, the drug was banned from France last year and now the new French health secretary has warned that anyone who took Mediator should immediately see their doctors.

Since a 1999 medical case of severe heart-valve damage in a patient in Marseille, France was linked to their use of the drug, there have been investigations into its side-effects. Spain and Italy banned Mediator from their medical system in 2005 and now the French drug safety watchdog is estimating that around 500 deaths and 3,500 hospitalisations were caused by the drug.

The UK and the US have never licensed the drug. The Irish Medicines Board also confirmed today to that:

Mediator has not been licensed for sale in Ireland.

Mediator is made by France’s second-largest pharmaceutical company Servier. The Guardian reported today that French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy awarded the company’s executive Jacques Servier the Legion d’Honneur medal last year.

The drug Mediator is a brand name for benfluorex, which was reported in 2006 to have a confirmed link to a case of heart valve problems, says the LA Times. The European Medicines Agency last year pulled it from the market because it had little effect on diabetes and carried a risk of thickening the heart valves.

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