Doctors rebuke Macron on wine drinking

President warned that wine was alcohol like any other and was bad for the health

6 March 2018
By Connexion journalist

Leading doctors have rebuked President Macron for saying he “drinks wine at lunch and in the evening” and called for increased alcohol restrictions as alcohol is dangerous for the health.

A group of nine specialists wrote to Le Figaro to warn Mr Macron against promoting drinking. They spoke out after he had defended wine drinking when Health Minister Agnès Buzyn had warned “wine was alcohol like any other”.

Dr Buzyn had accused the wine industry of “double standards” when it said wine “consumption in moderation” could be good for health when the real message was that “alcohol is bad for your health”.

Now nine medical colleagues have signed a joint letter saying that “from the liver’s point of view wine is, indeed, an alcohol” and demanded a national plan on alcohol.

The doctors said that “like the great majority of French people, we drink wine for pleasure” but with “wine making up nearly 60% of the alcohol drunk” it needed to be remembered that alcohol was dangerous.

They did not want to demonise wine but “what mattered in terms of toxicity is the quantity of alcohol drunk”. 

Epidemiologist and cancer specialist Dr Catherine Hill, who signed the letter, said wine is blamed for 29,000 of the 49,000 deaths due to alcohol a year but the wine lobbies minimised its public health effects.

Included among the other signatories were Prof Michel Reynaud, president of the Association nationale de prévention en alcoologie et addictologie, and whistle-blower Dr Irène Frachon, the Brest researcher who first uncovered the Mediator drug scandal.

Connexion spoke to Dr Frachon at the time about the Mediator affair that affected five million people.

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