Japan: Astrazeneca settles claims over cancer drug side effects
Date: 12 Jan 2011
Astrazeneca will settle with 15 people who brought a suit against it and the government claiming that the company hadn't taken enough measures in the face of major side effects from its cancer drug Iressa.
The plaintiffs, patients and families of patients killed by the drug's side effects, had sought 180m yen in compensation.
The settlement was encouraged by the Tokyo and Osaka district courts, which said that Astrazeneca had a responsibility to support patients that had been prescribed Iressa between July and October 2002. The government should also take responsibility for approving imports of the drug.
Iressa was approved by the US Food and Drugs Administration in 2003, but placed on a more restrictive regime when an ongoing study failed to show a survival benefit from the drug's use.
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In a recent article, the BBC's economics editor Robert Peston highlighted the fact that in 2012 the chances are that the economy - punch drunk as it is from the various flavours of debt crisis it has been pummelled with over the course of the year - will be hit by the collapse of a major bank and / or government.
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