Sanofi (France) Investors Can Pursue Class-Action Suit Over Diet Drug

Published: Mar 21, 2013

A U.S. judge certified on Wednesday a class of investors who have filed a lawsuit accusing Sanofi of misleading them about the status of regulatory approval for a failed anti-obesity pill. U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan said investors in Sanofi's American depositary receipts could proceed together as a group in the litigation. Representatives for the company, formerly known as Sanofi-Aventis, did not respond to a request for comment. The lawsuit centers on the drug rimonabant, which was marketed as Acomplia in Europe and branded as Zimulti in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had questioned the drug's safety in 2006. Concerns about the possible link between the drug and suicidal thoughts resulted in an FDA advisory committee's decision to not recommend that the agency approve the drug for marketing. Sanofi's share prices dropped following the news, according to the lawsuit. Investors sued in 2007, saying the company and two executives misled shareholders about the drug's development. The decision Wednesday appeared to be one of the first to benefit from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Feb. 27 in a case against Amgen Inc that held investors don't need to establish the materiality of alleged misinformation in order to sue as a group. Sanofi had sought to show the alleged misstatements in its case weren't material, but withdrew that portion of its argument following the U.S. Supreme Court's 6-3 decision.

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