Dr. Christian Perronne embodied in France the resistance to governmental discourse on the policy of compulsory vaccination. As such, he was the object of numerous attacks—personal and, more critically, juridical—during the long months of the COVID-19 pandemic. But on October 21st, the courts exonerated Professor Perronne of all charges brought against him by the medical authorities who had denounced him.
Perronne, an infectious diseases specialist at the Garches hospital in the Ile-de-France region, was prosecuted by the National Council of the Order of Physicians for his comments on the vaccine, on the treatment of COVID via hydroxychloroquine, and also for some of his critical statements against his colleagues. He was subsequently dismissed as head of department at the end of 2020.
However, against all expectations, last week the Ile-de-France disciplinary chamber of the French Medical Association, presided over by an administrative magistrate and composed of doctors, dismissed all the charges brought against Perronne.
The Physician’s Council had accused the eminent scientist of having failed to show “prudence” in his judgements and of not having measured “the repercussions of his remarks on the public,” thus violating Article R. 4127-13 of the Public Health Code. The judges who acquitted Perronne recognised a posteriori that the international expertise of the professor—a renowned scientist—made him perfectly capable of “understanding the public health issues” during the pandemic. The disciplinary chamber also considered that he had shown neither violence nor hatred, and that he could not be considered ‘anti-vax.’
Perronne was one of the major figures in the French medical world to express scepticism toward the government’s all-vaccine strategy. He also defended the free prescription of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as curative treatments against COVID-19 by doctors. Some media outlets did not hesitate to accuse him of ‘conspiracy’ or extreme right-wing affiliations. In his fight, he had received official support from Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, the president of the sovereignist movement Debout la France, and from Florian Philippot, president of the movement Les Patriotes, who organised numerous demonstrations against the ‘health dictatorship’ throughout the pandemic. In September 2022, Philippot declared that he wanted to pay tribute to Professor Perronne, “a doctor who held high the Hippocratic oath, when so many others we see on television have laid down under mountains of money, conflicts of interest, and corruption.”
The judgement handed down by the disciplinary chamber is evidence of a significant evolution in the official bodies regulating medicine in France.
Professor Perronne’s whitewash goes radically against the discourse of the Council of Physicians, which distinguished itself during the pandemic by extremely rigorous control of doctors, often in defiance of the freedom of prescription. The Conseil de l’ordre has thus indicated that it intends to appeal this decision as soon as possible.