Suspect diabetes drug revoked in Vietnam

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The Vietnam Drug Administration has ordered the withdrawal of a diabetes drug banned in Europe after it was found to cause heart valve damage.

VDA has asked the producer, French pharmaceuticals giant Les Laboratories Servier, to cooperate with distributors and revoke Mediator from health departments and pharmacies nationwide by December 6.

Individuals or organizations not obeying the order will be punished, said the Health Ministry's agency.

The administration on August 30 this year issued an order calling for the withdrawal of the drug's registration but still allowed the use of batches produced before that date until they expire.

The French Health Minister had recently warned users of the drug "” the brand name for benflourex in France "” between 2006 and 2009 to see their doctor and get tested immediately for heart valve damage.

It followed a warning by France's drug safety body l'Afssaps on Mediator's active ingredient benfluorex. Since its launch in 1976, "analyses by expert epidemiologists estimate that about 500 deaths could be attributable to benfluorex," it said.

The drug has been banned in France, the United States, Spain and Italy since last year.

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