Professor Raoult blamed for his communication, not for his treatment with hydroxychloroquine

Four days after having imposed a reprimand on Professor Didier Raoult, director of the Institut hospitalo-universitaire en maladies infectieuses (IHU) Méditerranée Infection in Marseille, the disciplinary chamber of the council of the order of doctors of Nouvelle-Aquitaine made public the reasons for its sanction, Tuesday, December 7. A judgment which rejects the most severe accusations targeting the Marseille microbiologist – those of “charlatanism” and “endangering” patients -, but punishes his lack of brotherhood, his over-stated certainties on the effectiveness of a treatment “Insufficiently tested” according to the judges, and his aggressive communication towards other doctors.

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Meeting on November 5 in Bordeaux, the disciplinary chamber had been seized by the council of Bouches-du-Rhône and the national council of the order of physicians respectively in October and December 2020, in the heart of the controversy related to the use hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of Covid-19. The study of the two complaints, brought together in a single hearing, was relocated to New Aquitaine to escape the Marseille microcosm and the potential tensions linked to the local popularity of Didier Raoult.

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The judge and the eight doctors forming the chamber rejected en bloc the arguments of Fabrice Di Vizio, Professor Raoult’s lawyer, asking that the complaints be inadmissible. They did, however, sort through the charges against the microbiologist. Thus, they do not identify any ethical fault in the prescription of hydroxychloroquine and consider that Professor Raoult did not disregard the public health code and his obligation to “Take into account the advantages, disadvantages and consequences of the various investigations and possible treatments” by administering this molecule in 2020 to patients.

Freedom of prescription

At the time, the judges recall, “ there was no scientific data acquired concerning the treatment of Covid-19 “And the prescriptions of Professor Raoult could” appear then as appropriate and balanced and measured in their consequences “. On this subject, the chamber underlines that” None of the patients treated with its protocol filed a complaint against [Didier Raoult] “. An argument developed at the hearing by the Marseille professor, whose presence in front of the chamber, compared to the absence of the plaintiffs, has, it seems, weighed.

The judges also rule out any distortion in Article R.4127-39, which qualifies the “Charlatanisme”. They believe that the teacher “Cannot be regarded as having advised or prescribed a remedy or an illusory process” and that nothing produced at the hearing proves that he failed “To fair, clear and appropriate information” of his patients.

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Professor Raoult blamed for his communication, not for his treatment with hydroxychloroquine