French drug firm Servier to appeal against health scandal conviction

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PARIS -The French drugmaker Servier said on Thursday it would appeal against its conviction for manslaughter and deception in a scandal involving its weight-loss pill Mediator, for which it was fined 2.7 million euros ($3.2 million).

Servier said in a statement that it had decided to appeal after prosecutors sought a higher fine, and a reinstatement of a charge of fraud, which the Paris court had dropped.

The Health Ministry has said that at least 500 people died of heart valve problems in France because of exposure to the active ingredient in Mediator, which was widely prescribed as an appetite suppressant.

The drug was withdrawn from sale in Spain, Italy and the United States around a decade before it was pulled from the French market in 2009.

Servier has acknowledged in the past that Mediator had serious consequences for some patients, and compensated some victims, but it also said it would fight inaccuracies and false statements. ($1 = 0.8399 euros)

(Reporting by Matthieu Protard. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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