To his many supporters, he’s the victim of a big pharma conspiracy, fighting for his patients at all costs. To his detractors, he’s a dangerous witchdoctor with a cavalier attitude to medical research who nearly derailed the fight against covid. In this investigation, we profile Dr Didier Raoult.
Before covid, few people outside the scientific community had heard of Dr Didier Raoult. Now he is hero-worshipped in his home city of Marseille, seen as a defender of the interests of the little people against the Paris elites. In March 2020, he held a press conference claiming hydroxychloroquine was a 100% effective cure for covid. Presidents Trump and Bolsonaro endorsed his claims but the study it was based on has been widely debased and further tests suggest that hydroxychloroquine is actually dangerous for covid patients. We spoke to doctors and researchers who worked under him, who describe a megalomanic obsessed with obtaining the ‘right’ result at all costs.
Raoult is now facing a disciplinary panel charged with ethics breaches. But regardless of the outcome, the controversy surrounding the good doctor looks set to continue.
Faced with the closure of bars, restaurants and sports halls and the ban on parties, more and more French people are deciding to rebel. We join 300 revellers at a secret rave in Paris and profile others flaunting the rules.More info