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Laurent Mucchielli - "Behind the French controversy over the medical treatment of Covid-19 : The role of the drug industry"

par Sylvie Chiousse - publié le

Journal of Sociology, 17 juin 2020

texte intégral ici :

Abstract :
This article explores the stakes of the very intense controversy that has developed in France around the medical treatment of Covid-19 (which finds some parallels in the United States of America). It centres on the therapeutic proposal of a Marseilles doctor, who has become a very divisive ‘star’ in public debates over the efficacy of treatment.
The author shows that competition between this doctor’s proposal and the commercial hopes of a major pharmaceutical company plays an important role. This company has managed to create links of interest with many other major doctors, some of whom are at the heart of the decision-making process concerning the management of the health crisis. Finally, the author places this episode within the broader question of the hold the drug industry has on scientific production within the medical field.
The interdependence between health authorities and the pharmaceutical industry is anything but healthy.
The Covid-19 debate conforms to a well-worn pattern of behaviour : public backlash over the transgressions of wealthy corporate actors, government regulatory responses insisting on greater levels of transparency, corporate circumvention of said regulations, resulting in the continuation of fraud and corruption.