• France edition
 
Medication 'kills 18,000 each year' in France
Photo: EMagine Art/Flickr

Medication 'kills 18,000 each year' in France

Published: 27 May 2013 17:31 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 May 2013 17:31 GMT+02:00

The side effects from prescribed medication is responsible for at least 18,000 deaths each year in France, according to Dr. Bernard Bégaud, an expert witness at the trial of Jacques Servier, the 91-year-old founder of the Servier bio-pharmaceutical company, whose weight loss drug Mediator is believed to have killed hundreds of people.

“Every year there are 18,000 deaths directly linked to taking medication,” Bégaud told the court at Nanterre, where Servier is on trial for “aggravated fraud,” after hundreds of deaths were linked to Mediator.

“Many of them are inevitable, but one third are due to unjustified prescriptions,” Bégaud said.

“France is a country that has always very badly regulated the use of medication,” he added.

To put those figures in perspective, France’s national road safety authorities found that in 2012, 3,645 were killed in traffic accidents, and according to French weekly L’Express, there are an estimated 10,000 suicides in France each year.

According to Bégaud, a principle cause of this negligent prescription is that doctors in France are poorly trained in pharmacology, the branch of medicine concerned with drugs.

Mediator, originally designed to fight diabetes, started being prescribed as a slimming aid because it reduces hunger pangs. However it was pulled off the market in 2009 after evidence emerged after the deaths that it caused damage to heart valves. The drug was never authourized in the UK or US.

This is not the first occasion in recent times that French doctors have stood accused of negligence and incompetence.

Last month, The Local reported that France’s Academie nationale de medicine (National Academy of Medicine) slammed medical professionals for sending patients for pointless and extremely costly medical tests.

Dr. Jean Dubousset, a Paris-based orthopaedic surgeon and one of the report’s authors, told The Local at the time that despite France’s reputation for having an excellent health service, young doctors were being taught “push-button” medicine.

“They are not taking the time to conduct a physical examination of their patients, or to ask in-depth questions. And they rely too much on the use of computers – I hear from many patients that their doctor actually looks more at the computer screen, than at the patient himself,” he said.

Furthermore, a book published in September 2012 by two French doctors found that 50 percent of medicines given to patients were useless, 20 percent were “badly tolerated”, and 5 percent have adverse effects.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French crook fakes his funeral to escape cops
The reports of one French crook's death were, it turns out, greatly exaggerated. Photo: Graves: Shutterstock

French crook fakes his funeral to escape cops

A wanted French criminal crafted a detailed plan to fake his own death, but there was just one problem: the police turned up at his 'funeral'. READ  

France launches first bombing runs on ISIS
France got praise from US President Barack Obama for its decision to bomb ISIS militants. Photo: Jean-Luc Brunet/AFP

France launches first bombing runs on ISIS

France launched its first airstrikes on Friday against the ISIS militants who have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria. Word of the bombing came less than 24 hours after French President François Hollande promised military action. READ  

French leaders relieved by Scotland's 'No' vote
French leaders heaved a sigh of relief over Scotland's 'no' vote. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP

French leaders relieved by Scotland's 'No' vote

There was plenty of relief in France's political classes on Friday after Scottish voters decisively rejected independence from the United Kingdom. One top minister said a 'yes ' vote would have hurt the European Union. READ  

'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
American expat Lenny Kravitz talks about Paris. Photo: Lenny Kravitz/a>: Shutterstock

'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'

American rocker Lenny Kravitz has spent the past nine years living on and off in Paris and in a recent interview talked about his passion for the City of Light and his latest projects. READ  

French nurse to get 'experimental' Ebola care
A French nurse is to receive 'experimental' treatments against the disease. Photo: AFP

French nurse to get 'experimental' Ebola care

The French nurse who contracted the Ebola virus while helping fight the historic outbreak in Africa is receiving 'experimental' treatments in a Paris hospital that doctors hope will save her life. READ  

France ready to conduct air strikes on Iraq
France's president to hold press conference on Thursday. Photo: AFP

France ready to conduct air strikes on Iraq

During a long-awaited press conference on Thursday, French President François Hollande said he has authorised air strikes in Iraq, joining a US-led effort to stop the lightning advance of Islamic State group militants there. READ  

Ten must-see sites for France’s 'Heritage days'
Here's 10 things not to miss for this weekend's 'Journées du Patrimoine'. Photo: AFP

Ten must-see sites for France’s 'Heritage days'

Once a year France opens the doors on tonnes of fascinating, bizarre and important places that are generally closed to the public. Here are 10 things not to miss this weekend for ‘Heritage days’. READ  

Watchdog urges drop in France’s 'hefty' road tolls
A French government agency says motorway tolls are too high in France. Photo: Motoyen/Flickr

Watchdog urges drop in France’s 'hefty' road tolls

The tolls on France’s privatized motorways are ‘unjustified’ and are delivering an up to 24 percent profit to the companies that run them, a government watchdog says. READ  

Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
Gerard Depardieu says he drinks 14 bottles of booze per day. Photo: John Macdougall/AFP

Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’

Provocative French actor Gérard Dépardieu has revealed the extent of his love for the hard stuff, claiming to drink up to 14 bottles of wine, whisky and Champagne a day. Apparently just making vodka wasn't enough for the "Welcome to New York" star. READ  

France's rail company charged in crash deaths
Photo: AFP

France's rail company charged in crash deaths

France's state-owned railway company was charged with manslaughter on Thursday for the derailment in the Paris suburbs that killed seven people in 2013. A report slammed SNCF for a series of failures that lead to the crash. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Society
France's top expat tribes: Which are you?
National
France to set flat-rate for Paris airport taxis
Politics
French separatists want Scots to say 'yes'
National
Anti-dog poo offensive launched in French town
National
Scammers attack Paris's top cop at tourist hotspot
National
French leader didn't pay his rent for three years
National
'WW2 bomb' kills camper on French island
Does France have a racism problem?
National
National
'Enough gloom, France is an amazing country'
Gallery
The top ten tourist traps to avoid in France
Politics
The juiciest bits from Trierweiler's tell-all book
Politics
Trierweiler tells all: 'Hollande wanted me back, at any price'
Education
'Sacre bleu!' Do the French really say that?
Politics
Manuel Valls has plenty in common with Tony Blair, but not background
International
Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
National
Unemployment: How does France compare to Europe?
International
Are all the talented professionals really leaving France?
National
La France profonde: Is it a rural idyll or a backwater hell?
Travel
Check out the four new attractions coming to Paris this autumn
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se