So-called naturopath Eric Gandon and his son offered expensive ‘water-only cures’ with several deaths of vulnerable and sick individuals happening after or during them, a court in Tours heard recently.
Some of these courses could last for more than a month.
Gandon was formally charged last week with manslaughter, abuse of power, endangering the lives of others and falsely practising as a doctor and pharmacist from July 2020 until January 2023. He was remanded in custody.
Sonia Backès, the Secretary of State for Citizenship, later issued a statement in which she warned against "naturopathic charlatans" who "practise methods that are not recognised by any public institution or medical order."
"It is imperative that people are better informed about the risks they incur for their health when they participate in treatments supervised by charlatan naturopaths, who take advantage of their fragility to enrich themselves," warned Ms Backès.
The Secretary of State also pointed out that a warning about the "new gurus" and the growing menace of alternative cults in France had recently been issued by a special department of the Ministry of the Interior.
A series of emergency meetings organised by the Minister of the Interior are due to be held in spring.
Il est impératif que les Français soient mieux informés sur les risques qu'ils encourent pour leur santé lorsqu'ils participent à des stages encadrés par des charlatans naturopathes, qui profitent de leurs fragilités pour s'enrichir.— Sonia Backes (@SoniaBackes) January 13, 2023
Mon communiqué de presse ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/3hz7MCeVs7
Eric Gandon, 58, and his 25 year-old son, who describe themselves as ‘naturopaths’ were accused after several deaths occurred following prolonged fasts that they organised during ‘water-only cures’, the public prosecutor's office told the court.
Impersonating doctors and chemists
The courses offered by Gandon for "several hundred or even thousands of euros" consisted of "not eating solid food for one to several weeks, without any medical follow-up being provided or planned," said the Tours public prosecutor, Gregoire Dulin.
During one of these courses, organised in a chateau in Noyant-de-Touraine (Indre-et-Loire), a 44-year-old woman died on August 12, 2021, triggering the investigation, the court was told.
Despite the death, Gandon continued the courses, leading the prefecture to issue an order a few days later banning these cures and stays in the town.
A judicial investigation was quickly opened in Tours and led to the identification of four other victims, two of whom have since died.
One complaint involved a man in his sixties, who died on July 18, 2020, one month after participating in a course organised in the Vendée. He was suffering from terminal cancer.
Another is related to the death, on March 15, 2022, of a young woman who had attended training courses organised by Gandon the previous year, while she was suffering from liver cancer and was in the process of discontinuing treatment, said the prosecutor.
Two other complaints came from participants in the course organised in the summer of 2021.
Despite the deaths and administrative measures, "Eric Gandon continued running his fasting courses and promoting his methods, none of which are recognised or endorsed by any public institution or medical authority," said the prosecutor.
Son charged with illegally practising as a doctor
His son who participated in the training courses and the promotion of his father's methods via a YouTube channel, has also been charged with illegally practising as a doctor and pharmacist.
He was placed under judicial supervision with a ban on any activity related to fasting and naturopathy. In the Youtube channel he claims that patients stop eating completely and are able to "feed on light".
The two defendants, who have no prior criminal record, dispute all the facts they are accused of, says the prosecutor.
Gandon has been practising for the past 10 years and claims on his website to have treated 4,000 people. and are amazed by the body's ability to heal itself thanks to fasting and a healthy lifestyle including food hygiene and emotional hygiene.
‘“We want more and more people to discover the happiness and joy of living with a healthy mind in a healthy body. You too can change, slim down, prevent or regain good health, gain vitality, improve your relationships through fasting,” boasts his site.
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