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Some caveats, from France, about Dr. Raoult’s studies of hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin

Francis Feeley has sent me the English translations of two articles by Frank Prouhet, a French doctor disappointed by some flaws in Dr. Raoult’s studies of hydroxychloroquine/ azithromycin, and who therefore wants to see that regimen tested more thoroughly.

He too is an opponent of Big Pharma; and, as his second piece below makes clear, appalled by how the Macron government has handled the coronavirus crisis, and lied about it.

From Francis Feeley:

Here are translations of the two articles by Frank Prouhet, sent to me recently by a Palestinian doctor friend:

https://npa2009.org/actualite/sante/lettre-ouverte-une-amie-une-syndicaliste-une-gilet-jaune-qui-croit

English translation

Two articles that I wrote:

One the day before yesterday that I hope to be educational compared to many friends who are far from the medical sector, and scratch their heads in the face of Raoult and the many post-conspirators who praise the ‘hydroxychloroquine.

The other from April 8 on the lack of masks and tests.

“Open letter to a friend, a union member, a yellow vest who “believes” in hydroxychloroquine”

by Frank Prouhet

April 14, 2020

Like me, you discovered with interest the work of Professor Raoult of Marseille, who spoke of hydroxychloroquine as a molecule which had proven its effectiveness against Covid-19. And I would add who decided to massively test the Marseillais, when the government said that it was useless! Of course I was surprised that instead of doing tests close to the locals, in neighborhoods, laboratories, companies, he sometimes gathered in disregard of social distances a crowd in front of his institute.

Like a symbol of the providential man, one against all!

“Like you, I am an opponent of pharmaceutical trusts”

But I knew about chloroquine, having taken it for malaria prevention some 20 years ago, when it was still effective. 100 mg daily. But there, the dose is 600 mg per day. At this dose, the risks of heart rhythm disturbances, sudden death are significant.

Even more important when hydroxychloroquine is used in combination with other medicines, which like it “increase QT”. Among them is azithromycin, used in its protocol. But also the ventoline that you use against your asthma, or the anti-allergic ones against the pollens which rot your life. If we add that 20% of patients with Covid-19 in intensive care have an attack of the heart muscle, that makes three cardiovascular risk factors! The association would have to be damn effective for the benefit-risk balance to be good!

Like you, I am an opponent of the pharmaceutical trusts which have shown us a hundred times that they prefer their profits to our health. In 2001, they sued South Africa, which sold 30 dollars worth of generics against AIDS, that they sold 3,000 dollars. So I went to read not the medical press sponsored by the labs, but the journal Prescrire. An independent pharmacology journal, funded solely by its subscribers, which for example released the Mediator scandal. And there my disappointment was immense for your hero! Of the 26 patients who received hydroxychloroquine, three patients were transferred to intensive care and one patient died. But Professor Raoult decided to take them out of his results, to stop counting them! No such development was described among the 16 control patients. In the absence of a control group recruited according to a similar protocol and identical follow-up, it is not known whether the time taken to carry the virus is shorter or not in the absence of hydroxychloroquine.

“End of game for the Covid”?

Worse, at the beginning of March 2020, the Chinese professor Chen published an essay with two groups determined by drawing lots, with no major difference in characteristics. In the 30 Covid-19 patients, no demonstration of the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine. With a disappearance of the virus in the throat in four days in the chloroquine group, against two days in the group without. The state of health of certain patients having worsened, all in the chloroquine group, the hypothesis that it sometimes worsens Covid-19 is not excluded! Hydroxychloroquine is used to false good news. Already against chikungunya, it was active in vitro, in the test tube. But in the body, it is something else! It promoted the development of the virus, prolonged the fever, the carriage and the duration of the pains! And against the coronavirus of 2003, it had not shown any real effectiveness.

Many countries, far from the French controversy, have integrated hydroxychloroquine into their protocols and research. Like Sweden for example, which has just abandoned it. Too many heart problems, not enough efficiency. We are far from the thunderous declarations of Professor Raoult, who did not hesitate to say “end of game for the Covid”: “The disease will soon be one of the simplest and cheapest to treat and prevent, among all infectious respiratory diseases. “More than 100,000 dead later, the demonstration is not made!

So you think it works and I don’t? But no, I tell you that we need to do real studies, on hydroxychloroquine, on antivirals, on the plasma of immunized people, to really know what works or not, on whom, at what time of the disease. But Professor Raoult refused to do so, arguing that double-blind clinical studies, against placebo or a drug recognized as effective, are bureaucratic machines, imposed by the labs. So there, my blood has only been a lap, because if pharmacological studies are the norm in the drug, it is not because the pharmaceutical industry wanted it, it costs him billions and, at the on the contrary it wishes to lighten them. This is because after the health scandals of the 1970s, and in particular the scandal of infants without arms of thalidomine, an anti-nausea drug put on the market without studies, everywhere consumer associations imposed these studies, which unfortunately have have been entrusted by the governments to the labs themselves. These studies must be defended against the pharmaceutical industry, and made independent! 

“Professor Raoult no longer makes me dream”

Climatic-skeptical, supporter of GMOs, battling against feminist movements, adored by conspirators and the billionaire president Donald Trump, Professor Raoult remains a great infectious disease specialist and his hydroxychloroquine must be scientifically tested. But it no longer makes me dream. If you want to oppose the pharmacy trusts, in these times of shortage, of a capitalist stranglehold on the race for drugs and vaccines, look rather on the side of the appeal of 61 European organizations, including Doctors of the World , the Observatory of transparency in drug policies, the journal Prescrire. Millions of euros in grants are awarded for medical research by the European Union and governments. But these public subsidies “do not mention any guarantee that financial accessibility clauses will be put in place to facilitate access to the product”, “Community financing does not prevent the issuance of exclusive operating licenses”, in other words patents that will sell to the highest bidder. “Given the public health emergency, we cannot allow a business as usual approach in which market dynamics dictate pricing at the expense of rapid access, and where financial considerations – rather than public health – guide where and when the products will be available ”. Our lives are worth more than their profits, but that does not go through Professor Raoult.

Masks and tests: shortage and state lies

by Frank Prouhet

April 8, 2020

The king is naked and he lied! For weeks, the messages of power on useless masks and tests to be reserved for resuscitation services have been nothing but a facade to mask the unthinkable.

To save 50 million euros, the Hollande-Marisol Touraine government has liquidated strategic mask stocks. To make it cheaper, the production of surgical masks, like that of the former Giffard company in Plaintel, however profitable, was relocated, and its machines thrown away for scrap.

Lying and cynicism

To divert the glance from this shortage, one accuses the great fair of capitalist grip on the masks, very real, the prices which explode, the USA which steals “our” masks, even on the tarmac of the Chinese airports, forgetting that France does the same with 4 million masks purchased by Sweden, as the Express revealed.

The medical authorities, including the Academy of Medicine, have covered this state lie about useless masks, this denial of democracy revealed by Mediapart. For weeks, in the nursing homes, the directions relayed this message, no need for masks for staff, for residents. We are paying the price, with at least 2,417 deaths in Ehpad announced this Monday. Lying and cynicism: while planes are nailed to the ground all over the world, the medical world lacks masks, the government is beating television sets by repeating that masks are reserved for health, it is organizing at the same time the diversion of hundreds of thousands of masks to the Airbus company, so that it can continue to produce. During the crisis, profits must continue …

Where are the tests?

From January 12, China will distribute the complete genetic sequence of the virus to the rest of the world, thus allowing anyone who wants to start manufacturing screening tests. In South Korea, the first kits are thus available as of February 4, two weeks before the outbreak of the epidemic. In Germany, 500,000 tests are carried out each week, based on all city laboratories, carried out in a decentralized manner as close as possible to the populations, making it possible to isolate all the patients, and not only the most serious, but also the carriers healthy. When we know that models of the Chinese epidemic show that one in two contamination is linked to symptomless carriers, we see the value of this mass screening. Mortality in Korea and Germany attests to this. The French government has chosen the opposite path. Only test the most serious cases, at the entrance to the intensive care unit. Severely limit testing in nursing homes. Criminal madness, in contrast to WHO recommendations. From February 24 to March 27, only 200,000 tests were performed in France, while Germany performs 500,000 per week.

Late 180° turn

But it’s not just the number of tests. Having chosen to test little, the French medical authorities have neglected to provide for a massive supply of swabs, to supply town laboratories with adequate protective equipment (glasses, overcoats, etc.), and to secure the supply of reagents which often come from China. The government has refused to requisition French companies “leaders in the diagnostic market that exist in France”, as demanded on March 18 by the Observatory of transparency in drug policies. Wanting to test little, the department favored long techniques, requiring heavy specialized equipment, like the proprietary Roche system, incompatible with the systems of city laboratories! Whereas rapid, automated and decentralized techniques should have been favored, using all the existing biology centers, human, veterinary, research, to test as many people as possible… Rapid tests exist, swabs exist, laboratories exist. The government has turned its back on them. Obliged to make a 180 ° turn in the face of mounting anger and with the prospect of deconfinement, Olivier Veran hopes to be able to test 50,000 people a day … But only at the end of April!

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