Professor Escribà arriving at court yesterday. | Pere Bota


The two professors from the University of the Balearic Islands at the centre of the police investigation into the sale of a drug, Minerval, allegedly marketed as being an anti-cancer treatment, appeared in a Palma court yesterday.

Xavier Busquets and Pablo Vicente Escribà both maintained their innocence and said that the product had not been sold as a medication. They added that they had not duped anyone and had not received any financial consideration. They had only imported the drug, and patients had paid for the cost of importing it.

In addition to the two professors, the wife of Xavier Busquets and two other people are due to appear before the court today. Witness statements that the judge will hear will include one from the head of the oncology department at Son Espases Hospital, who was among the people who reported the sale.

Lipopharma, the company from within the university of which the two professors were among its co-founders, has insisted that it has never marketed Minerval to any patient outside of clinical trials. Yesterday, it released a further statement disassociating itself from the sale of Minerval to patients suffering from cancer.

The National Police are investigating a possible fraud involving 600,000 euros from the unauthorised sale of a drug which is still undergoing experimental trials. The judge hearing the case, Enrique Morell, decided that no precautionary measures needed to be applied to Busquets and Escribà. In other words, they are at liberty and did not need to stand bail.