For a good while now I have been occasionally posting on a regular theme from Dr. Roy Poses's Health Care Renewal Blog, for instance:
--that we cannot expect drug/device industry wrongdoing to cease so long as the corporation merely has to pay a fine for legal transgressions; they merely budget the looked-for fine as a cost of doing business and go merrily on their way. Only if individual execs are held accountable under criminal law can we expect behavior to improve.
Well, at least one French judge seems to have gotten the message (not sure if non-subscribers can access but here goes anyway):
Basic bottom line-- a drug (benfluorex) was approved for use in Europe but not the U.S. that seems to be a cousin of the fen-phen combo that I discussed in HOOKED, marketed as a weight loss drug and then shown to cause deadly adverse reactions including heart valve damage and pulmonary fibrosis. The head of Servier, France's second-largest drug company, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated deception, and fraud for marketing the drug despite known risks. The CEO has had to post $5.5M bail (which, if French CEO compensation is anything like the U.S., he probably was carrying around as loose change).
My own comment is that the French more or less have the right idea, but I'm an old softie. I would have been happy with just the aggravated deception (whatever that is) and fraud charges. I would not have seen the need to add manslaughter.