A fine of 50,000 euros (over R $ 300,000) was demanded Thursday (3) by a French court from the founder of a large group of companies in the chemical sector in France, who was tried for offering tablets of chloroquine to its employees during the Covid-19 pandemic. The use of the product against Covid-19 is prohibited in France.
René Pich, 80, was prosecuted for illegal exercise of the professions of pharmacist and doctor, acquisition of illicit drugs, smuggling and possession of toxic substances and appeared for nearly six hours during the trial in France.
The investigation opened in early April 2020 following a report from the Labor Inspectorate of the Loire region (central France), triggered by a note from the defendant informing 384 managers of the SNF, a global processing company of water, the purchase of chloroquine phosphate tablets, which it makes available to employees.
René Pich, who continues to work and has an important influence within the company, created more than 40 years ago, had acquired these 1,200 tablets of chloroquine tablets, produced in India, via a Canadian internet platform.
In court, he confessed that he should not have done so, asserting however, without convincing the prosecution or the civil parties, that he had ordered the product “in order to save lives, in a context of shortage of the substance “, without knowing that it was a drug reserved for exclusive use on medical prescription.
Pleading for his release, the businessman’s lawyers argued that none of the group’s 1,350 French employees had taken the chloroquine pills that Pich had ordered online.
“It would be difficult for me to be the director of human resources in your company, Mr. Pich,” joked the representative of the prosecution, André Merle, about the accused, who has been in open conflict with the unions in France since. years.
The unions “have fulfilled the role of whistleblowers”, according to Sofia Soula-Michal, lawyer at the CFDT. François Dumoulin, adviser to another large French union, the CGT, dismissed the argument of “the state of necessity” presented by the defense of the businessman, believing that the leader “put pressure on them. employees so that they remain at all costs in the workplace “during the first confinement in 2020.