A prominent French infectious disease specialist faced a disciplinary hearing on Friday for his controversial recommendations on Covid-19 which brought him worldwide fame at the height of the pandemic.
Didier Raoult defended hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug, as a treatment against the coronavirus at a time when the method was also praised without evidence by the former American Donald Trump and his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro.
But although considered a folk hero by some in the city of Marseille, in the south of France, which prides itself on its independence from Parisian orthodoxy, he has also been accused by his peers of spreading false information. on the benefits of the drug.
Studies have shown that hydroxychloroquine does not work against the coronavirus.
Raoult, 69, was present at the start of the hearing chaired by the order of doctors of the southwestern region of New Aquitaine in a courthouse in the city of Bordeaux.
He made no comment on his arrival, greeting around thirty demonstrators who had come to support and applaud him.
“Raoult, our beacon in the night”, “Hands off our Raoult” were among the banner slogans testifying to the popularity of a doctor who prides himself on confronting establishment orthodoxy.
He is accused of several breaches of the code of medical ethics related to the promotion of hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19 as an invalid treatment.
The disciplinary chamber, chaired by a magistrate, can decide on sanctions against the doctor ranging from a simple warning to a provisional suspension. It must render its decision between 15 days and eight weeks after the hearing.
A familiar figure on French television with his shoulder-length blonde hair and gray beard, Raoult also received a visit from French President Emmanuel Macron in April 2020 as the pandemic was in full swing at a meeting that stunned many observers .
Raoult and his Institute of Infectious Diseases in Marseille are also accused of having conducted allegedly illegal “clinical trials” against tuberculosis since 2017, claims they deny.
Raoult must quit his job by the end of June at the latest because of the retirement rules.
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