Agnès Buzyn, former Minister of Health, was heard by the parliamentary commission of inquiry on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. For several hours, sometimes lost in her notes, Ms. Buzyn defended in all points the record of her ministry, notably affirming with force ” You cannot say that I did not anticipate and I will not let it be said that the services did not anticipate “.
On mask stocks
Following the expert appraisal made on September 26, 2018, by Public Health France to the DGS on the non-compliance of the masks from the strategic stock of the State with a 2014 standard and on the need to bring the State stock again to 1 billion masks, the Director-General of Health, Jérôme Salomon, would have taken the initiative to destroy 600 million masks to then place an order in 2019 of only 100 million masks (but which would never have been delivered).
However, according to Agnès Buzyn, she was never made aware of this problem of expiration and the destruction of masks. The ” management of stocks does not go back to the level of the minister ” she defended herself before the parliamentarians, although she ” fully assumes ” this decision. And to certify: ” What I have to make sure is that there is a chain of command and that there are people in charge and that the doctrines are published. I did that ”.
However, if Ms. Buzyn was never aware of the letter of September 26, 2018, from François Bourdillon, former director of SPF, she says she got her hands in her ” personal archives ” on a letter of October 3, 2018, listing all of the expired products in the strategic stock of the State.
” The vigilance that I must have is on dozens of products “, she stressed to the deputies, explaining that if a posteriori, the attention was focused on the question of the masks, because of the new coronavirus, iodine tablets in the event of a nuclear accident or protective gear against the Ebola virus were no less important subjects for a Minister of Health.
Ms. Buzyn has repeatedly affirmed her support for the Director-General of Health, but the same has not been true for Public Health France. “To learn in 2018 that a large part of the stocks is out of date … It requires questioning how it worked”, thus seeming to place the responsibility for the failures of the management of masks on the health agency.
Asked also about the order the first order for only 1.1 million FFP2 masks on January 30, 2020, when the needs of caregivers are 40 million masks per week, Ms. Agnès Buzyn adopts the same line of defense: if it were good at the origin of the decision to renew the stock, it was not she who fixed the quantity to order. It will then be necessary to wait until February 7, 2020, for a larger order of 28 million FFP2 masks to be placed, then another order of 175 million on February 25.
On his resignation to run for municipal elections
Questioned by a deputy on the advisability of resigning in the midst of a health crisis in order to campaign, while she presented herself as one of the rare people to have seen the “tsunami” which was going to befall France, the ex-minister assumes his choice:
“I am leaving the ministry on February 16. There have been no new cases in France for nine days. (…) The Republic on the move no longer has a candidate for mayor of Paris. I feel that I have done my job of preparing the health system. (…) I am leaving the ministry with the feeling that I have made the right preparation. “
On France’s level of preparation
In front of the deputies, MmBuzyn will not stop repeating how much everything has been anticipated by herself and her services.
“I have experience of health risks through my profession as a doctor. (…) And so I am always in anticipation ”affirmed the former Minister of Health.
“We have not stopped acting since January 10, when we learned that it was a coronavirus” she justified.
According to Ms. Buzyn, she was immediately very responsive: “I ask that I be asked to increase the number of resuscitation beds, the number of respirators and that they give me an update of all the care capacities, destocks, masks, equipment, etc. I ask SPF to give me three possible scenarios for the evolution of the epidemic (…). I’m obviously asking through this list where the masks are. “.
And to add: ” We are always in advance compared to the international decisions […] in no case, I can not let say that the ministry for Health was slow “.
However, nothing is said about the lack of measures following this inventory, which should have alerted him to the weakness of the various stocks. No ordering of respirators, drugs, or anything else.
Regarding the tests carried out in France, Ms. Buzyn even said: ” We are the first country in Europe to have implemented the tests “.
Before concluding in a peremptory way: ” You cannot say that I did not anticipate and I will not let it be said that the services did not anticipate “.
At the end of this hearing, according to the former Minister of Health, the conclusion is that everything would have been done according to the rules of the art, nothing could be reproached to the Ministry of Health which, on the contrary, was always in anticipation, thus doing better than all other European countries in several areas.