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Drug regulator faces fraud investigation
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Europe's main drug licensing body - which is primarily funded by the pharmaceutical industry it is supposed to regulate - is facing a fraud investigation

Europe's main drug licensing body - which is primarily funded by the pharmaceutical industry it is supposed to regulate - is facing a fraud investigation.
Officers from the European Anti-Fraud Office are investigating the European Medicines Agency's role in the regulation of diabetes drug Mediator, which was withdrawn in 2009 after it had been associated with around 2,000 deaths. Concerns that the drug could cause fatal heart problems were first raised a decade earlier.
The drug, which was manufactured by Servier of France, had been on the market for 33 years, and had been prescribed mainly in France, Italy and Spain. It was finally taken off the market when the manufacturer accepted that the drug could cause heart valve problems.
The EMA, which was created in 1995 to harmonise drug regulation throughout the EU, gets around 80 per cent of its funding from the pharmaceutical industry, says Michele Rivasi, a 'green' Euro MP, who triggered the investigation.
The news comes in the week when GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) agreed to pay out $3bn (lb1.9bn) in compensation for its sales practice in 'pushing' its diabetes drug, Avandia, which was withdrawn from the market in 2010 after it was found to increase the risk of heart attack.
(Source: The Independent, 7 November 2011).


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