This is the analysis by Maître Philippe Autrive, Paris Barrister and specialist in Human Rights, which sums up the current witch-hunt of natural medicines and therapies in France.

Followed by the first chapter of Sylvie Simon, French Health Freedom author

Healing, an Illegal Practice

By Sylvie Simon

Translation by Emma Holister
(Note to editor: all quotations have been translated directly from the book, that is from French to English, therefore should be compared to English originals where necessary)

“A doctor who is simply a good family doctor, determined to do his job to the very end, will never be helped by society.  Neither by doctors, and not even by those who are ill, for it is not he who will be the most successful or who will earn the most money . . . Until further notice, in France, health no longer means much in terms of values: the French willingly accept being ill and going to hospital, but without ever having done anything beforehand to arm themselves against the deterioration of their health.”

Alexandre Minkowski

The Barefoot Mandarin  


Preface by Maître Philippe Autrive, Paris Barrister


This book entitled ‘Healing, An Illegal Practice’ could also have been named ‘The Book of the Accursed’.  Time has long since passed since the doctor, the healer, went from village to village, spreading news, comforting some, treating others, not primarily in order to cure, but in order to prevent illness.

The art of Chinese preventative medicine has gradually been replaced by the growing production and commercialisation of chemical therapeutic products that have, along the way, turned the patient into a simple consumer of medical merchandise, abandoning body and soul into the hands of the practitioner.

Medicine has a tendency to become a ‘business’ where the patient is reduced to the level of nothing more than a client.  By continually boasting the merits of this or that product, the doctor takes on the appearance of ‘a sales representative’ for the large pharmaceutical laboratories, whilst most often ignoring the secondary side-effects of this or that treatment.

If medicine, medical research, laboratories and money are working so well together, the patients are gaining nothing from the affair. 

However, the system is well established.  The September 1997 issue of the medical publication, ‘Le Quotidien du Médecin’ (No. 6120) brandished the headline, ‘World Market Pharmaceuticals at 1800 Million Francs.’   The growing weight of the pharmaceuticals’ industry and the unquenchable thirst for financial profit have given rise to an abuse of citizens’ rights.  All the more so because these same laboratories, in order to back up their peremptory claims, don’t hesitate to quote the expert “who declares and asserts the ‘truly true’ and unquestionable scientific truth” at the risk even of making himself look ridiculous.  But ridicule does not kill and the ointments are legion, whilst the errors of the experts and the scientific councils who are ‘responsible but not guilty’ load heavy consequences upon the ordinary citizen.

The emergence of the experts’ authority regarding the truly ‘scientific truth’ is rather reminiscent of the role played by the leaders of the Inquisition.  It is worth pointing out that la Cour des Comptes (the Court of Accounts), in its report to the National Assembly, October 13th 1998, particularly singled out a prestigious assembly of experts, the transparency of committee of the French Health Security Bureau for health products.

The Court regrets that many members of this committee had direct links with the pharmaceutical industry, which, it said, ‘naturally leads to the questioning of their independence and neutrality . . .’

The Medicine Bureau has become the French Bureau for the Security of Health Products.   However, this simple facelift does not disguise the same methods, continually producing the same consequences.  With regard to this, it is notable that the Department of Health has recently taken the decision to withdraw from the sector the reimbursement for 250 pharmaceutical specialities of which the therapeutic and healing virtues were no longer recognised.  This leads one to consider that the experts were wrong 250 times regarding these products!

In addition to this, after having waited more than twenty years, it is difficult to understand the government’s lack of haste in ‘de-reimbursing’ these same 250 medical products, in the interest of the public, even when it would be a question of saving millions for the social security department.

Beyond the simple facelift and name change, it would be interesting and significant to open the doors of the French Bureau for Health Security to the general public, so that they may participate in the various committees . . . 

This lack of transparency of financial interests, in addition to the lack of new faces on the prestigious panel of experts, is without any doubt one of the causes of the scandals we are forced to witness, and repeatedly.

What is more, the proliferation of health agencies (medical, food and veterinary products, etc.) does not mask the growth in scale of the scandals that are all inexorably linked to the ‘massive lobbying’.  They seem, from all the evidence, unable to avoid them since their organisation and methods remain strictly the same.  In other words, on the one hand we have the promiscuity of the experts and trusts, and on the other we have the opinion and advice of our ‘politically correct’ experts who are there to please everyone and disappoint no one (especially not the backers!). 

For example, it is interesting to note that the illness Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (ESB) was first detected in England in 1985, in other words fifteen years ago.  And what with one reassuring and lax message after another from our experts in the French Bureau for Food and Health Security (AFSSA), we are today faced with a veritable epidemic, which is rising by 33% each year!

It is in this way that the public health organisation reflects the opinion of the authorities, the only authorities that are allowed to define what is good for the patient.  It is clear that this noble cause is ‘contaminated’ by profitable interests.

The citizen is increasingly less a patient and more a consumer.

It has always been the case that the privileged relationship between a patient and his or her doctor depends essentially on belief and confidence.  Therefore, from this perspective, it is immediately obvious that the citizen is placing his confidence in one who knows, one who treats, one who possesses science, but that there is no reciprocity. 

In other words, the patient remains in the dark.  Similarly, this relationship of trust and confidence has always existed in a climate of insecurity and fear: that of being ill, of not getting better, of suffering, etc.  Our society has generated, through reassuring and guilt-provoking advertising campaigns, the myth, or the cult of ‘good health’; illness no longer exists!  Henceforth it is necessary, through the administration of chemicals that bring in vast amounts of money to the creators of this great new fear, to eliminate it, whether it be through eradication or prevention.   Regarding vaccinations, moreover, advertising plays a great deal on feelings of insecurity and fear, but also, for mothers, on guilt.  It is therefore without any objectivity, thought or comprehension, that ill people are led to becoming nothing more than a mass of patients, passive consumers of products aimed at trying to cure them.  

We can see that medical and pharmaceutical power relies on the confidence of the ordinary person.   This confidence is a substantial and heavily budgeted element of pharmaceutical industry marketing.  In the absence of confidence, other more coercive methods exist, which remind one of the Inquisition and which have as their main goal to cast out those who break ranks.  It is up to public health authorities to set an example, whilst resorting to (and why not?) old-fashioned public ordeals.  In other words, by exposing the condemned, the doctors, the nurses, the ill, to the verdict of the people and throwing them to the lions.

So now we are forced to witness, if no longer the stake, at least the judgements, the condemnations, the prohibition sentences and the imprisonment of the doctors, nurses and the ill who have made a choice other than that imposed upon them by the ordained authorities or eminent state representatives.

Let us not forget that a substitute doctor of the République did not hesitate to solicit a psychiatric assessment, from an examining magistrate, of a father who refused to have his French-resident children vaccinated, although they were Swiss, and Switzerland does not enforce vaccinations by law.  Let us not forget that a mother lost the parental right over her six-month-old daughter, in the name of child neglect, because she refused to administer the drug AZT to her!

Once outside the established order, that place of salvation, the cleaver falls.  It falls on those practitioners who dare to scorn the ordained scientific or governmental authority, it falls on the ill whose only crime is to use products that do them good and that they judge to be effective for their bodies.

Sanctioning must apparently set an example, even if there are no victims; quite the contrary.  The scientific world makes little show of open-mindedness.  Far from exchanging information, knowledge, experiences, what is incredible is that, at the dawn of the 21st  century, the censors, the commanders, the scientific inquisitors are still clamping down.  There’s no talking, no cohabiting, no exchange, absolutely not!  One judges and one sanctions, fossilised as one is with scientific certainties.

This book could have been that of the hanged.  It is fortunately only that of the revolt of the condemned, the doctors, the midwives, the outlawed ill.

Seneca once said, in the 4th century BC, ‘Wisdom requires little education!’  The days are gone when people blissfully believed in the comforting words of the experts and passively consumed.

We are witnessing the return of the talking citizens, here denouncing the contaminated blood scandal, or growth hormones, there boycotting poisoned meat for which the experts peremptorily affirmed that ‘the prion wasn’t transmissible from animal species to humans . . .’.   Once again, they are organising together in order to demand this or that treatment or to mobilise against this or that vaccination.

People are now demanding to be respected.  It is worth noting that, if it had not been for the good sense and vigilance of ordinary citizens, no scandal could ever have arisen.  Furthermore, it is because of pressure that those in power consent, despite themselves and often too late, to take responsibility.  It is an uneven match, an unequal contest.  However a person’s fight against medical authority has gained some improvements, such as the doctor’s obligation to ‘acquire the patient’s permission prior to any medical intervention.’  This obligation comes from every person’s right to respect with regard to his or her physical integrity.  Originally employed by jurisprudence, in other words as the result of court cases put forward by ill people, this rule has since been enforced by article 35 of the Code of Medical Ethics in the following terms: ‘A doctor owes the person that he is examining, treating or advising, information that is true, clear and appropriate, regarding his or her state of health, the tests and the treatment he recommends.’

This contract, so dear to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, between the doctor and his patient, can no longer be inequitable or unbalanced.  The citizen must now be informed, and not just considered as a patient who is treated like a child.  Owing to this information, people will be able to gain access to freedom of choice in connection with medical treatment.  But the road to be taken is still a treacherous one, as this freedom may, no doubt, be undermined by the powerful financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry.  Freedom of choice of medical treatment, heavily supervised as it is by the public authorities, is still in its infancy.  Here and there we can now see the creation of citizen groups that are demanding the right to use this or that product, sold in one country or outlawed in another, following the example of those who were made ill by the state’s withdrawal of ‘Beljanski’ and ‘Solomidès’ products.

Has anyone ever seen citizens’ groups getting together and demonstrating in order to obtain an antibiotic or an anti-depressant?

There are also people acting individually.  ‘Freedom of action over one’s own body’ is a fundamental right, and gradually we are beginning to see the emergence of the demand for, and affirmation of, the ‘dignity of the patient.’   This is being imposed upon doctors owing to their ultimate medical duty to combat the suffering that belongs to the patient!  

Human rights are not given; they are gained.

Patients and doctors should at least find common ground, since freedom of choice of medical treatment is the consequence of freedom of prescription. 

Justice is intervening more frequently in this narrow relationship between doctor and patient.  However, the judge should explain rights but should not pronounce on the eventual effectiveness of this or that technique.   In order to do this the judge calls on an expert, whose conclusions are not always marked by transparency and independence, especially with regard to their supervisory duty. 

Freedom of prescription seems however to exist, legally speaking; thus the Court of Annulments declares that ‘the doctor is the only person qualified to discuss questions regarding medical matters.’ (Ch. Crim. 24th October 1973).  Likewise, the limitation of the freedom of prescription does not exist in texts on medical ethics, since article 10 of the Code describes it in these terms: ‘The doctor cannot compromise his professional independence in any way whatsoever.’   The medical establishment council exists in order to enforce respect for ethical rules and for a certain concept of medical practice, but no-one representing users is among them.  This is not a sign of openness.  Moreover, the European Court of Human Rights has already pointed out this exclusion of jurisdiction several times.  

The doctor has taken the Hippocratic Oath and once the patient demands it, he not only has the right but the duty to reject the rules imposed in the patient’s treatment.  

Nevertheless, this halo of freedom of prescription for the doctor is limited in reality by the ethical dispositions that govern medical behaviour.   These forbid the handing over of non-authorised medication, the recommending to a patient of a remedy or an illusory or insufficiently verified procedure, or indeed the use of a new non-researched therapy on the patient.   

It is worth noting that medication is authorised by means of a permit obtained from the French Bureau of Health Security for Health Products in order to market a product, following clinical trials by the promoter, in other words the laboratory.   It is then authorised by the experts, of whom 90% participate in and have interests in private laboratories.  This is no gauge of independence and transparency.  

Thus, at the beginning 1999, one quarter of reimbursable medication was seen to have the label ‘insufficient medical value’, which implies that the A.M.M.’s  permits were given without any discernment, but most certainly with vested interests . . .

 When it comes to medication and therapies that have been insufficiently tested, it is important to note that only the large private laboratories can afford the luxury of paying out the 10 million francs needed to test and validate their products and to obtain authorisation to market them, which is not necessarily a guarantee of their effectiveness.   Furthermore, each year, dozens of medical products that have received the A.M.M permit are withdrawn from the market, owing to their dangerous nature, which shows that the clinical tests have not been trustworthy . . .

Hence, the small promoters, the associations and the patients’ co-operatives have little chance of raising such sums of money and of obtaining this notorious permit from the experts in the Health Bureau.  All that remains for these experts to do is to marginalize them, indeed ‘charlatan-ise’ them and notably through the media, who on the whole are content to ‘spout off’, with insufficient research, the statements to the press given by such-and-such a laboratory or banded about by some home expert.

Having failed to prescribe and cure, many doctors, some of whom give their experiences in this book, are hauled through justice, pursued, sentenced to the stocks of pseudo-scientific certainty and become symbols of freedom of choice of medical treatment.

Whilst mainstream medicine could without any doubt be enriched by the ancestral knowledge within the branches of natural medicine, it chooses to ceaselessly condemn, without even looking to analyse or question the data and the experiments.  This ‘fundamentalist’ refusal of mainstream medicine cannot hide its failure in a great number of illnesses, and the patient from now on demands a rendering of accounts and will not simply ‘swallow the pill’. 

Let us not forget the case of Pierre DAC for whom: ‘the aim of medical research is to find new methods of treatment and not new clients’.   But behind the condemnation by the medical authorities, whose objective is only to ‘make an example of’, are the rights of the ill which are being flouted.  One used to think that their rights were well established; now one discovers that they have only been hinted at!

One used to believe in the booming declarations from Helsinki and Tokyo that expressively declared that ‘in the treatment of a patient, the doctor must be free to resort to a new diagnostic or therapeutic method if he or she judges that it offers hope of saving a life, re-establishing the health or relieving the suffering of a patient . . .’

These declarations were no more than intentions!

In the same vein, in the New England Journal of Medicine, Professor Kassire said: ‘What really matters in a treatment is to know if a very ill patient feels relieved after its administration and not to know if a controlled trial can prove its effectiveness.’  (Le Monde January 31st 1997).  Therefore healing would be more important than medicine!

The patient’s right is above all that of all people and everyone is directly concerned or will be one day for his or her loved ones, or for him or herself.  And as the good doctor Knock used to jokingly remind us, ‘every healthy person is an unaware sick person!’

People, much to the displeasure of the scientific authorities, are beginning to be heard, to demand their basic rights and to know the contents of vaccines, to understand the side effects of a particular drug, to take control of their body and mind.  Could the right to healthcare become the obligation to obey healthcare?

The public authorities would be well advised to listen, not so much to the demands that will be admittedly poorly met because of the lack of power of the trusts, but to the growing and more insistent murmur of the people. 




Dear Editor,

I am enclosing my translation into English of the first chapter of a book by France's foremost Health Freedom author Sylvie Simon.  In France, Simon's latest book is causing big waves as it exposes the deceit at the heart of the French medical establishment, in other words, at the heart of French and European legislation pertaining to health issues.
As the pharmaceutical industry's aggressive takeover of alternative medicine is currently becoming an all important issue worldwide, I believe that publishing this book in English is vital if people everywhere are to learn exactly what is happening in European countries such as France where the repression of natural health care is virulent and widespread.  Now countries that were formerly safe harbours for alternative medicine such as the UK, Australia, Canada and the US are being illegally dragged into line with the repressive regimes that have been in place in France for many years already. 
If the economic forces now raging across the planet are not hindered, then countries such as the UK and the US, known for their more liberal legislation regarding alternative medicine will be forced into line with countries such as France whose health system is dominated by a totalitarian bureaucratic medical organisation originally set up by the Nazi regime.  
The eyes of the world are now turning to such countries, fearing the worst, that we currently risk losing what little health freedom we once had.  The European Parliament has totally abandoned our health rights in favour of the profits of the all- powerful pharmaceutical industry.  An industry that profits from poison.  You may well be aware that governments worldwide are at the moment clamping down on natural healthcare in the same way as has always been done in France (see ).  Alternative medicine is being prohibited and we are witnessing the imprisonment of good doctors who have done nothing more than heal their patients with natural methods, scientists and therapists whose ideas conflict with the pharmaceutical 'industry of illness'.  Ill people are denied their right to choose to heal themselves with natural remedies and have no choice but to be submitted to the chemical 'therapies' with their catastrophic side effects foisted upon them by a corrupt medical and political regime.  Parents are loosing custody of their children because they refuse to accept the toxic treatments forced upon them by law.  The list of crimes goes on. 
France's persecuted scientists and doctors have usually sought asylum in countries such as Ireland and Canada.  However, if things continue the way they are going, there will be nowhere left to run to.
Please don't hesitate to contact me for further information.
Yours sincerely,
Emma Holister
France: (0033) (0)6 86 77 34 40 (preferably mornings from 10am to midday).
Sylvie Simon is spokeswoman for the French health freedom foundation UNACS (Union Nationale des Associations Citoyennes de la Santé) and a member of the EU Advisory Board for the Alliance for Natural Health

She has written many books including the following titles:

A Veritable Dictatorship

From the book 'Healing: An Illegal Practice'
by Sylvie Simon

"We have grown accustomed to believing that no illness can be cured without medicine.
However, this is just a superstition.  Medicines are always dangerous". Gandhi

According to Plato, Socrates was condemned to death because he did not believe in the gods recognised by the State.  Today, these gods have been replaced by bureaucrats and experts.  Like Socrates, a great number of doctors who refuse to idolise the thought processes of these new masters are brought before a 'tribunal of exclusion', Le Conseil de l'Ordre (the Council of the Order of Doctors), who have assigned to themselves a regal power and abuse it with total impunity, all with the complicity of the health insurance organisations.

Throughout the centuries, unable to tolerate the deviations of those who drift from the established way of thinking, men of power have always found various methods to gag or prevent from 'causing damage' those who have dared to think and act differently.

In this country, 'exporter' of human rights, most people feel that the Inquisition is a practice of the past as we no longer torture in the name of God.  However, we continue to torture doctors and patients in the name of a so-called medical science whose limitations and misdeeds can be constantly observed.

All doctors should have the freedom to act according to their conscience as the Hippocratic Oath declares.  Furthermore, article 7 of the Code of Medical Ethics states: "The doctor is free to prescribe that which he considers the most appropriate according the circumstances".  As for the Helsinki declarations (1964) and those of Tokyo (1975) that prohibit the Huriet law, the international conventions taken to national law are very clear: "In the treatment of a sick patient, the doctor must be free to resort to a new diagnostic or therapeutic method if he considers that it offers a hope of saving the life of a sick patient, returning them to health, and relieving their suffering."

In reality, however, therapeutic freedom does not exist in the land of human rights, of citizens' rights, despite certain declarations by our politicians who unanimously claim their adherence to freedom of therapeutic choice.  Thus, during a dinner debate organised on February 5th 1998 at the Hotel Concorde Saint-Lazare by the association of friends of L'Evénement du Jeudi, without fear of ridicule Bernard Kouchner, the then Secretary of State for Health, declared before more than eighty people that in France "we have therapeutic freedom".  Several people, suffering from illness, who were present at the debate were surprised to hear this as they had seen their medicines - not approved in France but liberally sold elsewhere - confiscated by the police a few months earlier by order of the Ministry of Health.

However, Bernard Kouchner has not always delivered this type of speech.  In June 1995 he confided to the Revue des deux mondes, in an article entitled: "Medicine and Cruelty":

" . . . Our medical system has become perverse to the point that the interests of doctors can sometimes be at variance with those of the sick . . . And I will not even mention here the staggering  number of appendixes that have been removed for no justifiable pathological reason in French clinics during a certain period.  Nor the bladders that the surgeons - but do they still deserve that name? - have removed simply to increase their business figures, nor the trafficking in prostheses amongst certain dishonest orthopaedists who attempt to profit from a diabolical system  . . .  We have made great progress in medical science but we have lost sight of the most important thing: people! . . .  The social security system that the French hold so dear will soon crumble  if we don't seriously modify it.  Small reforms will only slow down the decline.  A critique of the beliefs and medical practices is necessary in our country.  Let us reform medical training, where too many statistics are learned (most of which, moreover, are falsified, full of lies, erroneous and fallacious!), and not enough humanism; the CHU must give priority to the human and social sciences! . . ."

We can only agree, but why two different speeches as time goes by and circumstances change?  The reality is very different from all these nice declarations we hear from the irresponsible 'people of responsibility'.

As a prosecutor once claimed back in 1930 during the trial of a healer:  "It matters little that the guilty have cured their fellow beings!  The only thing that interests me is if they have the right to cure.  Only people holding diplomas have the right to heal and even to kill.  Get a diploma, you the guilty, and you will have the right over life and death."

It is currently the case that doctors are stricken from the register and thus accused of the illegal practice of medicine, whilst still in possession of an incontestable diploma, but once removed from the register they find themselves forbidden to practise medicine and are often treated as "charlatans".  So nothing has really changed since 1930 and the indictments of the modern-day prosecutors strangely resemble those of their forefathers, every time that a doctor is brought before a tribunal for having treated his patients with a substance that is 'not authorised' by the Faculty (Order) and hence considered dangerous, even if the evidence of its efficacy is manifest. These indictments produce the same litany: "The question is not whether you have cured but that you did not have the right to do so!".  An accusation which could well be replaced by "non-assistance of a person in danger", if the censured doctor had not intervened.

The discrimination to which hundreds of doctors are victim is ignored by no political party, but the subject is carefully avoided by our elected representatives who wish to remain, above all, 'politically correct'.

The Ordre des médecins, the organisation of private law and public interest whose mission it is to serve the public was created on October 7th 1940 by the Vichy government, four days after the promulgation of the Jewish Statute.  Its aim was, amongst others, to 'purify' the profession.  A role which it has fulfilled and which it continues to fulfil, as the texts of the period and the current political repression testify.  It was dissolved during the liberation, but an order on September 24th 1945 rendered it legitimate even though it had never been ratified by Parliament as the Constitution decrees.

The connections between the Order during the occupation and the current Order are clear.  The Order remained the sole agent of its archives during the war period and Doctor Portes, who was president of the Order in 1943-1944, then from 1946 to 1950, is still a moral reference for the current president Bernard Glorion.  His recent repentance is in total contradiction to what he declared in March 1994, "I was 13 years old in 1941.  I am also one of those people who were completely unaware of  'things' at the period when they were happening".

Ever since, the method of functioning of the national Order and its departmental or regional vassals, like that of its disciplinary sectors, has hardly evolved.  Any disciplinary sector operates like a court of exclusion and scorns with impunity the basic principle of open debate. The doctor in question is judged by his associates who have no judicial competence and therefore nothing can guarantee either independence or impartiality, as it is common to find doctors who have interests within the pharmaceutical industry.  Likewise, in the sector of social insurance, certain judges, with salaries from health insurance funds, are both judge and jury.

What is more, until just recently, the defendant was not heard publicly: he is at present, but generally witnesses who could contribute to clearing his name are not allowed to be heard.  Once condemned, the accused cannot request compensation for damage, even when this has been flagrant and no matter what the consequences, whether on a personal or a professional level.

Already, in the 1950s, in the name of the national Union of Medical Doctors, Doctor Topsen had addressed a circular to all the candidates for the legislative elections asking them if they intended to maintain an institution inspired by the occupation, four days after the Jewish Statute.  ". . .  the near totality of French doctors - with the exception evidently of the members of the different Order Committees - ardently desire to be rid of this organisation which has turned out to be both useless and harmful.  Created by Pétain at the request of the occupation, against doctors and not for them - in order to render them servants and not to serve them - it has been since its creation an instrument of oppression in the hands of the enemy and its supporters and has not succeeded in liberating itself from the totalitarian spirit which presided at its conception."

This situation is criticised by a growing number of doctors who consider that the existence of a Conseil de l'Ordre can be justified as a guarantee of the respect for medical ethics, but  that it should withhold power from its disciplinary sector.

Certain doctors denounce their actions, which prompts Alain Dumas to say: "In fact, the Order operates the combination of the three powers, executive, legislative, judicial, and as Montesquieu declares in spirit with the law: 'All would be lost if the same man or the same body of principles, or the nobility, or the people, exercised the three powers: that of making laws, that of executing public decisions, and that of judging crises or the differences between individuals.'

"The danger of a corporatist and sectarian deviation had already been the object of a warning from the State Council in 1958. Condemned doctors cannot make an appeal to civil or penitentiary tribunals.  As for the State Council, if it gives an opinion on the content, it can never judge until the end; it maintains a constant jurisprudence adhering obstinately until now to considering as inapplicable to disciplinary jurisdictions the dispositions of the article 6 - 1 of the European Convention that protect human rights and fundamental liberties: 'All persons have the right to have their case heard fairly, publicly and within reasonable delay by an independent and impartial tribunal . . .'.

"Questioned recently on the aims of the Order, its president Pr. Glorion declared: 'The Ordre des Médecins does not have the competence to scientifically judge the quality of a treatment, only that of assuring that the treatment be officially validated.'

"This is a confession of total submission to the French Agency for Medicine and to pharmaceutical power; moreover, it is confessing that a beneficial treatment for a patient, if it is not validated, can lead to its administrator being suspended from practice.  In this line of argument, the sick patient no longer exists as an individual, but is subjected  to the whims of the protocols.  It is a dramatic confession and the end of Medicine with a human face". (Cf. Votre Santé: May 2000)

Effectively, in March 2000, Bernard Glorion was evoking the need to reform the ordinal institutions in his last work Medicine of the 21st Century.   According to the current president, the threat of the suppression of the Ordre des Médecins, envisaged and promised by candidate François Mitterand in 1981, "revived bad memories and certainly calmed high feelings.  Careful to be as discreet as possible, the members of the Conseil de l'Ordre fell into a certain lethargy . . . From the sessions of the committee to the writing of reports via contacts and meetings, deceit led to fantasy as nothing ever happened".  The suggestions for reform of the permanent national committee remain secret.

The day after a disciplinary decision was taken regarding a famous cancer therapist in 1991, "the Order's wish to reform thrilled us with the Terquem report".  This report included changes in the composition of the departmental councils that were more representative of the diversity of activities at the heart of the profession.  It foresaw a more independent disciplinary jurisdiction with a magistrate from the beginning, with the regional council.  "Other, more meticulous measures were to complete this operation which had as its aim the modernisation of an institution whose existence was no longer contested", commented the President.  Coming up against a unanimous refusal, "these visionary and premonitory ideas would now be taken up and accepted with many fewer difficulties".  For Bernard Glorion, the rules enunciated in the Code of Ethics are not to be ignored if one wishes to conserve the human side of the medical act.  "An order of doctors that is reformed and adapted to social change constitutes an efficient rampart against the deviations of a modernism that is rash . . .  The order of doctors must be representative of a large number of different forms of practice.  It must be an open and transparent organisation, of service to society, thus harmonising with the motto of the British Medical Council that one could translate as: protection of the sick, guidance for doctors."

At the end of a lyrical flight of fancy about the exceptional mission of the Order to preserve health and to respect human beings throughout their lives until death, this president-doctor turns to the subject of the rights of ill people: "Of course, it may seem utopian, even hurtful, to speak of the rights of the ill.  Isn't this judicial formula in contradiction to the notion of service, of generosity and devotion that constitute the honour of the world of medicine?"  All whilst recognising that it is unfortunately sometimes necessary to remind doctors that they have duties, he suggests going further, to "also speak of the duties of the patients and the rights of the doctors.  The future of healthcare depends on the sharing of responsibilities as in a reciprocal mutual assistance".  The current president nevertheless refrains from suggesting that there be representatives of patients at the heart of the Ordre des Médecins, as is the case in the United Kingdom.

So, according to professor Glorion, the ideas regarding the reform of the permanent national committee of the national Order were never revealed after the electoral promise to suppress it by the future president of the Republic in 1981.  And despite this wish to reform, the Terquem report, with its "visionary and premonitory ideas", was unanimously rejected in 1991.  According to the present Secretary of State for Health: "It would however be currently accepted without difficulty"; nevertheless, he is not sure that this project of reform should be integrated into the governmental text for the modernisation of the health system.

Why, under such conditions, in twenty years, has this desire for reform been clearly expressed only by the partial opening of closed doors?  Why did Professor Glorion, who claims to support an Order that is representative of a diversity of practices, not react when his homeopathic colleagues were called  "recruiters for sects" by the Secretary of State for Health?

The same month that his book came out, the Green Party deputies took their turn in opposing the organisation and practices of the departmental sectors of the Order, accusing it of  "partiality, union favouritism and fraudulent electoral procedures".  Of course the French ecologists refer only to the "serious deviations of certain departmental sectors that have filed a complaint against certain referring doctors with the sole aim of obstructing the establishment of a legal system", but one can hope that the parliamentary commission that they are asking for will not remain a pious wish and will be the point of departure for indispensable reform in depth of the Order, leading it to total conformity with human rights.

Following the opposition of the Greens, the President of the national Order agreed to an interview with the paper Libération.  He recognised the abuses of certain doctors holding positions in the departmental Order all whilst being union elected or members of an ordinal jurisdiction.  According to him, certain departmental councils are even "organised like small feudalities".  In confessing to "having requested, for seven years, modifications to our system", he justified on the other hand the necessity for in-depth reform of this archaic order of doctors (luxuriously installed at the Boulevard Haussmann, after having moved from the Boulevard La Tour Maubourg) and stated the impotence of this desire to reform.  Despite these criticisms, March 25th 2001, during a channel 2 programme on the Ordre des Médecins, the president did not hesitate to affirm that: "The Order guarantees the independence of doctors", whilst Dr Bernard Debré admitted that the Order was "corporate".

In his work A Split World (La fêlure du monde) André Glucksmann tells of "the adventure of a certain surgeon, at the time president of the Order of Doctors, therefore spokesman for the ethics and morality of the medical world . . . In the early eighties he was given a blood transfusion.  Two or three years went by and a colleague recommended a test.  He thought this sensible and complied: negative.  'And then?' asked a journalist, seven years later.  'And then; nothing', he answered.  Relieved on his own account, he did not warn the thousands of people who had received transfusions in these years of ignorance.  All of them ran a similar risk to his own.  President, ex-president, never once did the thought occur to him to make a public announcement. . .  This doctor, ill at ease, regretful . . . referred to the long, spiritual blindness that led him to neglect his own interests, then those of his constituents, finally those of a whole population, as 'a blind spot'. . . He became as suicidal as he had previously been almost homicidal."

As for the CNAM (Caisse nationale d'assurances maladies - National Health Insurance Fund), although they fiercely defend themselves to the contrary, they are even more dogged than the Order when it comes to pursuing those who stray from the beaten track.  Their national counsellor-doctor, Pr. Hubert Allemand, insists: "cases of harassment (of liberal doctors by the health insurance's counsellor-doctors) do not exist" and he "guarantees a medical service that does a difficult job with a great deal of rigour, that is to say, precision" (cf. Le Quotidien du médecin February 23rd 2000).  These statements provoked an outcry from liberal doctors.  "Mr. Allemand's statements are unacceptable, but certainly reveal the state of mind of many of the leaders and executives in health insurance: arrogant certainty of the total authority of the administration, refusal to be aware of and admit their errors, refusal to accept any responsibility related to their everyday decisions.  Democracy is in a bad way when the administration adopts such a stance." replied Dr Patrick Gérard de Nantes in the publication Le Quotidien du médecin March 8th2000.  Dr Martial Groboz commented that he is a "victim of the tribunals of exclusion that the CMR represents".

"Yes, harassment exists, whether or not Pr. Hubert Allemand agrees. His declarations to the contrary will not succeed in hiding the truth for long", says Dr Roch Menes de Clermont-Ferrand in the same magazine.  "Rather than deny the evidence, Pr.Allemand would no doubt be advised to pay careful attention to the control of the funds and to attempt to put them into some order. . . But it is easier and more politically correct to take it out on the practitioners than to fight the malfunctioning of health-insurance funds.".  

Back cover description of
Healing: an Illegal Practice

By Sylvie Simon
How is it possible to legally practise medicine, respect the Hippocratic Oath and the rights of ill people, in the face of the dictatorship of the Conseil de l'Ordre, in addition to that of the pharmaceutical lobbies?

This question, essential to the well-being of each one of us, is at the heart of Sylvie Simon's book.  The author, who has gathered statements from courageous doctors, gives us access to the cogs of a machine that is controlled by the Conseil de l'Ordre, a tribunal of exclusion.  She reveals how this Order uses and abuses its regal power in order to muzzle doctors who choose to heal their patients solely according to their knowledge and their conscience.

This book therefore, through the experiences of various practitioners, helps us to understand the pain of those who give their lives to curing the sick and who suddenly find themselves forbidden to practise on the pretext that they dare question a system that is on the whole riddled with the rot of medical and economic authority.

Traduction : Emma Holister. <>

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