Exonerated! In France, One Persecuted Doctor Triumphs Over Covid Repression
Like Galileo in front of the Inquisition tribunal, the renowned Dr. Christian Perronne defended his right to critique covid-19 treatment to the French Order of Physicians
Mary Beth, a prize-winning mainstream journalist and author, broke many of the most important stories of the pandemic and continues her work in this publishing collaboration between RESCUE and TrialSite News.
PARIS—A prominent French physician has won a stunning victory against charges that he denigrated official covid policies, with the French Order of Physicians holding that he was in fact obliged to speak out.
In its ruling, the French governing body for doctors found that Christian Perronne, 67, acted in the best interest of citizens and his profession in critiquing covid treatments and vaccines on social media, in national television interviews, and in a best-selling book.
“Dr. Perronne, an internationally recognized expert in the field of infectious diseases, was best placed to understand public health issues,” the translated decision stated. “If he spoke in the press about the action of the government and the pharmaceutical industry—as he was legitimate to do and even had the obligation to do so in this area which fell within his competence—he confined himself to publicly, but without invective, a discordant voice on a subject of general interest.”
In March 2020, as covid was exploding, Perronne emailed me a hugely encouraging study by Dr. Didier Raoult on successful treatment of covid with an old antimalarial drug, hydroxychloroquine. We both thought covid could quickly be tamed. But when President Trump “fast-tracked” the drug a day after my article on Forbes.com, the safe, generic treatment began a slow and tragic slide toward mainstream ridicule and rejection.
Perronne went on to sharply criticize the French government’s covid approach, including in a highly successful book entitled Is there a mistake THEY didn’t make?: COVID-19: the sacred union of incompetence and arrogance. The book, and statements Perronne made in a whirlwind of media interviews, soon got him into trouble with French medical authorities, which he believes was at the behest of French President Emmanuel Macron.
“At the beginning I understood things were going in the wrong way,” Perronne told me. Having served for a decade as overseer, variously, of the nation’s communicable disease, health security, and vaccine review commissions, “I think I knew how to manage such problems.”
Among Perronne’s other qualifications, he was vice president of the European Technical Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization for six years, which provides independent review and expertise on vaccines for the World Health Organization.
Ten days before the ruling that absolved him, Perronne and I met for an interview in a Paris home, where my hostess, a retired physician, had read Perronne’s book, and a neighbor happily recognized him on the street as he was arriving. Perronne was facing the loss of his license to practice medicine based on complaints both by the Order of Physicians and an independent doctor who felt he had been attacked by Perronne.
Leading up to the charges, Perronne had found himself transformed. He had once been an esteemed public health expert, member of the infectious diseases faculty at the University of Versailles at Saint-Quentin, and one-time president of a professional society of infectious disease experts. But suddenly, he was a “charlatan,” he said.
“I was Galileo in front of the Inquisition tribunal,” he said of the September 13 hearing in the Disciplinary Chamber of the Order of Physicians. It nonetheless left him hopeful. In a huge show of support, an estimated 3,000 people had turned out in the streets outside the tribunal. “An extraordinary crowd was present,” the news outlet FranceSoir reported in a tweet with videos of cheering, sign-carrying admirers:
At the proceeding itself, Perronne sensed that his interrogators were going through the motions. “They were rather kind,” he said. “I think they were embarrassed with this affair.”
In an announcement of Perronne’s “complete victory,” his attorney, Thomas Benages, hailed the tribunal’s finding that doctors are entitled to debate and criticize health policies.
“By these fundamental decisions, the Disciplinary Chamber has reaffirmed the freedom of expression enjoyed by university doctors,” Benages wrote, “while highlighting the preponderant role played by Professor Perronne during the health crisis by bringing contradiction to the government and having”—as the decision stated—“‘a discordant voice on a subject of general interest.’ ”
The tribunal’s finding did not specifically endorse Perronne’s views, but rather his right to speak them. I asked him what he thought of the ruling.
“You can just say that I am very happy, since the Disciplinary chamber wrote that in view of my national and international expertise, I had not only the right to give a divergent opinion from the official policy, but it was an obligation for me to speak out, if I did not agree!
This statement is fantastic.”
As his lawyer wrote, “the Disciplinary Chamber simply came to reaffirm the values of our democracy.”
Significantly, the ruling said Perronne’s statements were not “anti-vax” expressions, his lawyer wrote, eliminating a rhetorical weapon that was used “in order to censor him.”
A Familiar Story
The cost to Perronne’s reputation is all too familiar to American physicians who reject U.S. covid dictates that disallow treatments like hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and other proven generics. He, like them, sees a disease that could have been managed with available drugs and without vaccination across all age and risk groups. He believes vaccinations are causing harm.
“I’m very worried because we know that some people died a few days or a few weeks after the injection,” he said, adding that he personally knows of three deaths of young people, 17 to 20 years old. Add to that heart problems, strokes, excess non-covid deaths, possible sterility, and cancer.
“I have no scientific proof but what I can see from the U.S., different countries, and France, many oncologists are saying we never saw such a huge amount of cancer cases,” he told me. “Unfortunately, I don’t think all the statistics are reliable today, but it’s a signal.”
“I know personal cases of malignant lymphoma that developed weeks after the vaccine,” he said. “I think it’s something serious.”
I have long known Dr. Perronne as a champion of patients with long-term Lyme disease, who have prolonged symptoms that are dismissed by mainstream medicine. He endorsed my book on Lyme disease in 2018. A physician without conflicts of interest—he broke ties early on after briefly working with the pharmaceutical industry—he is respected in the United States as well as in France.
“I wasn’t corrupted,” Perronne said. He has even written a second book on the government’s woeful covid management. Decidedly, THEY still haven’t understood anything! is the title.
Will the truth about covid and the vaccines come out? I asked him in our interview in Paris.
“It already came out,” he said. “The problem is the media does not speak about that.”
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