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France Has Opened a Formal Investigation Against Germany’s Merck

A formal inquiry into claims that Merck KGaA may have given false information about its thyroid medicine 

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FRANCE: A French court announced on Wednesday that German pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA was the subject of a formal inquiry into allegations that it may have provided false information about its thyroid medication Levothyrox.

According to a statement from Merck, the judge’s decision in the French city of Marseille had nothing to do with the new Levothyrox product formula and was instead a result of the company’s information-sharing practices when switching from the old to the new formula.

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According to Merck, France has 2.5 million users and is the top consumer of Levothyrox in the world. France was the first nation to receive the new formulation of the medication in 2017.

It is a component of the criminal investigation that was started in March 2018. For failing to provide enough details while modifying the drug’s formula, Merck has already received harsh criticism in civil lawsuits.

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Merck’s attorney, Mario-Pierre Stasi, stated on Wednesday that the business would continue to work with law enforcement in this regard and that all legal processes should be allowed to be completed.

Merck also acknowledged that the judge in Marseille had placed the business under court supervision and required it to make “totally unjustified” deposits totalling 4.3 million euros and a financial guarantee of up to 7 million euros.

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In March 2022, France’s highest court, the Cour de Cassation, upheld a 2020 Lyon appeal court decision requiring Merck to compensate more than 3,300 French patients with thyroid conditions for losses incurred as a result of the drug’s 2017 formula modification by paying each one 1,000 euros ($982.30).

Plaintiffs alleged that Merck had failed to provide enough information regarding changes to the product. They had claimed that Merck’s choice to omit lactose from the medication in an effort to make it simpler to take had led to adverse effects like memory loss, weight gain, and palpitations.

Also Read: France Urges Its Citizens to Leave Iran Quickly


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