Pharma giant Sanofi charged with manslaughter

Sanofi Aventis France has been charged by prosecutors in France with manslaughter over birth defects related to a drug prescribed around the world to treat epilepsy -- charges it denies and is challenging.

The charges relate to the drug sodium valproate, or Depakine as it is better known. Studies say the drug has caused disabilities in up to 30,000 children whose mothers took the medicine while pregnant.

The long-running case has also seen the pharmaceutical company charged with aggravated deceipt and causing involuntary harm.

Depakine has been on the market since 1967, and the company insists it had warned authorities of the drug's risks in the 1980s.

Separately, Sanofi has said that it is in "advanced discussions" with GSK and the European Union to supply up to 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine candidate is based on the recombinant protein-based technology used by Sanofi to produce an influenza vaccine, and GSK’s established adjuvant technology. The doses would be manufactured in European countries including France, Belgium, Germany and Italy.

Image: Sanofi Corporate

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