‘Unhinged’ French on cocktail of pills, claims new book

ut Mr Hugnet said the French have blind faith in pills, will visit several doctors if they do not receive enough, and expect to be reimbursed by the health system.

Approximately 90 per cent of such prescriptions come from GPs who have no proper training on mental disorders or in psychotropic drugs and their side effects, and they rely on advice from powerful and self-interested pharmaceutical lobbies, the book claims.

Denouncing what it calls a “national and legal overdose”, it publishes a series of terrifying prescriptions from French GPs mixing antidepressants and other strong drugs – often to cure mild complaints of “feeling out of sorts”.

The author handed the prescriptions to independent experts, who denounced them as “contrary to all common sense”.

He cited an example in early December, in Sète, south-west France, of a 49-year-old man who shot dead two neighbours who had woken him with their music at night.

“The man was totally out of it as he was on four psychotropic drugs. He said he was in an altered state. This is a man who had no mental illness,” said Mr Hugnet.

Another man, Philippe, went to see his doctor for mild depression linked to a romantic split. He died from a heart attack after being pumped full of powerful antipsychotic drugs.

“Often, these people are taking a mixture of medication. People don’t talk about it, as in France, medicine is a religion that cannot be questioned,” said Mr Hugnet.

Henry Samuel