The French press this Monday (29) echoes the publication of a tribune in the newspaper The world which disputes the absence of punishment against the French doctor Didier Raoult, an expert in infectious diseases, who became a celebrity at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time, he used a series of drugs without proven scientific efficacy in patients infected with the virus: “a huge health scandal”, without any consequences to date, say the signatories of the manifesto.

“In the absence of a reaction from the authorities, serious failures can become commonplace”, say directors of 16 major French scientific research organizations, in addition to Professor Alain Fischer, one of France’s leading medical authorities, president of the Academy of Sciences. These experts warn that some clinical tests carried out during the pandemic by the University Hospital Institute of Infectious Diseases in Marseille, in the south of France – directed by Raoult until 2022 – disrespected scientific protocols and legal norms.

“The systematic prescription to patients with Covid-19, whatever their age and symptoms, of drugs as varied as hydroxychloroquine, zinc, ivermectin or azithromycin, was initially carried out without solid pharmacological bases and in the absence of any evidence of efficacy”, he says. the text published by the newspaper The world on Sunday (28). The authors of the manifesto emphasize that the most serious thing is that these tests continued for more than a year, after the formal demonstration of their ineffectiveness, “outside any scientific authorization and any ethical or legal framework”.

The signatories also point out that the great prominence that these practices had at the time helped to contribute to the distrust of many citizens in science, research, health authorities and specialists. “In the particularly toxic context of the health crisis, peremptory statements proclaiming the effectiveness of these treatments, unfortunately, have had great success among the public”, with serious consequences to this day, they reiterate.

No indictment

In its Monday edition, the newspaper The Parisian recalls that, in April, the National Medicines Safety Agency of France (ANSM) indicated that the use of hydroxychloroquine “exposes patients to potential side effects that can become serious”. After the publication of a scathing report by the entity on the bad practices carried out by Raoult during the pandemic, in July 2022, the Public Ministry of Marseille opened an investigation, but so far without any indictment, says the daily.

Questioned during a radio and TV program on Sunday, the French Minister of Health, François Braun, indicated that his ministry and the Ministry of Education and Research had notified the court about the functioning of the University Hospital Institute of Infectious Diseases Mediterranée in Marseille and that an investigation is being carried out.

Retired since 2021, Raoult was replaced as director by Pierre-Edouard Fournier. “All human clinical trials have since been suspended,” concludes the paper. The Parisian.

“In the absence of appropriate measures, what happened will continue to be seen by citizens as acceptable, even desirable behavior, which could sow doubts with dramatic consequences for patient participation in research,” the authors of the manifesto say. Therefore, for these specialists, “inaction is no longer an option”.

Originally published on RFI

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