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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/28/20

Why France is hiding a cheap and tested virus cure

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From Asia Times

The French government is arguably helping Big Pharma profit from the Covid-19 pandemic

A  mask-wearing French citizen in Paris.
A mask-wearing French citizen in Paris.
(Image by Pepe Escobar)
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What's going on in the fifth largest economy in the world arguably points to a major collusion scandal in which the French government is helping Big Pharma to profit from the expansion of Covid-19. Informed French citizens are absolutely furious about it.

My initial question to a serious, unimpeachable Paris source, jurist Valerie Bugault, was about the liaisons dangereuses between Macronism and Big Pharma and especially about the mysterious "disappearance"-- more likely outright theft -- of all the stocks of chloroquine in possession of the French government. Respected Professor Christian Perronne talked about the theft live in one of France's 24/7 info channels: "The central pharmacy for the hospitals announced today that they were facing a total rupture of stocks, that they were pillaged."

With input from another, anonymous source, it's now possible to establish a timeline that puts in much-needed perspective the recent actions of the French government.

Let's start with Yves Levy, who was the head of INSERM the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research from 2014 to 2018, when he was appointed as extraordinary state councilor for the Macron administration. Only 12 people in France have reached this status.

Levy has a vicious running feud with Professor Didier Raoult -- prolific and often-cited Marseille-based specialist in communicable diseases. Levy withheld the INSERM label from the world-renowned IHU (Hospital-University Institute) research center directed by Raoult. In practice, in October 2019, Levy revoked the status of "foundation" of the different IHUs so he could take over their research.

Raoult was part of a clinical trial that in which hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin healed 90% of Covid-19 cases if they were tested very early. (Early, massive testing is at the heart of the successful South Korean strategy.)

Raoult is opposed to the total lockdown of sane individuals and possible carriers which he considers "medieval," in an anachronistic sense. He's in favor of massive testing (which, besides South Korea, was successful in Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam) and a fast treatment with hydroxychloroquine. Only contaminated individuals should be confined. Chloroquine costs one euro for 10 pills. And there's the rub: Big Pharma which, crucially, finances INSERM, and includes "national champion" Sanofi would rather go for a way more profitable solution. Sanofi for the moment says it is "actively preparing" to produce chloroquine, but that may take "weeks," and there's no mention about pricing.

A minister fleeing a tsunami

Here's the timeline: On January 13, Agnes Buzyn, still France's Health Minister, classifies chloroquine as a "poisonous substance," from now on only available by prescription. An astonishing move, considering that it has been sold off the shelf in France for half a century.

On March 16, the Macron government orders a partial lockdown. There's not a peep about chloroquine. Police initially are not required to wear masks; most have been stolen anyway, and there are not enough masks even for health workers. In 2011 France had nearly 1.5 billion masks: 800 million surgical masks and 600 million masks for health professionals generally.

On March 17, Agnes Buzyn says she has learned the spread of Covid-19 will be a major tsunami, for which the French health system has no solution. She also says it had been her understanding that the Paris mayoral election "would not take place" and that it was, ultimately, "a masquerade." What she does not say is that she didn't go public at the time she was running because the whole political focus by the Macron political machine was on winning the "masquerade." The first round of the election meant nothing, as Covid-19 was advancing. The second round was postponed indefinitely. She had to know about the impending healthcare disaster. But as a candidate of the Macron machine she did not go public in timely fashion.

In quick succession: The Macron government refuses to apply mass testing, as practiced with success in South Korea and Germany.

Le Monde and the French state health agency characterize Raoult's research as fake news, before issuing a retraction. Professor Perrone reveals on the 24/7 LCI news channel that the stock of chloroquine at the French central pharmacy has been stolen. Thanks to a tweet by Elon Musk, President Trump says chloroquine should be available to all Americans. Sufferers of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, who already have supply problems with the only drug that offers them relief, set social media afire with their panic. US doctors and other medical professionals take to hoarding the medicine for the use of themselves and those close to them, faking prescriptions to indicate they are for patients with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Morocco buys the stock of chloroquine from Sanofi in Casablanca.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)
 

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