The case is nicknamed the "Hocinegate" after the accused: Hocine Sekkiou, influencer and follower of non-conventional medicine at the head of Complexus Care. A health center located in Pélissanne (Bouches-du-Rhône), against which 10 victims have filed a collective complaint.
Prescription of heavy medical treatments
Within the company and in "synergy" with nutritionists and naturopaths, doctors are accused of prescribing, without even having met their patients, heavy drug treatments, controversial or even prohibited, as revealed by Provence at the end of April. With the promise of multidisciplinary and individualized care.
However, the medical follow-up offered was identical or almost identical for all patients, regardless of their pathologies. And this for an exorbitant cost, not covered by social security. "Hocine boasted of being a doctor in biochemistry and responding to medical wandering. I drank his words, with him I felt like I was finally being listened to," a former patient told AFP.
The complaint was filed for "breach of trust and weakness", "fraud" and "illegal practice of medicine", told AFP the lawyer of the civil party Maya Lahloul: "My clients feel ashamed and do not understand how they could be fooled by someone who presented himself as a doctor, who prescribed them heavy treatments without precise study of their pathologies".
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After being prescribed dietary supplements, and even DHEA, a natural hormone that some believe could delay aging, this former patient receives a prescription from a Belgian doctor for a six-month treatment with Medrol, a steroidal anti-inflammatory normally recommended for a short time, which may weaken her immune system.
"When I saw these prescriptions, my pharmacist was appalled!" she explains, who suffers from thyroid disorders. After having paid 2,000 euros over three years, including for analyses billed 400 euros by a Belgian laboratory, she filed a complaint in early March against Hocine Sekkiou, for "illegal practice of medicine".
As for the Interministerial Mission of vigilance and fight against sectarian excesses (Miviludes), it told AFP to have made a report to the prosecutor's office of Aix-en-Provence. "Mr. Sekkiou denigrates conventional doctors and presents himself as the only solution. We can begin to consider a sectarian drift, "pleads Maya Lahloul.
"We had to make figures"
In addition to his controversial health methods, Mr. Sekkiou is accused of pressure or even harassment by former employees, pushed in particular to interpret analyses beyond their skills: "We had to make figures by taking a maximum of appointments, up to eight per half day," explains Charly, a former therapist at Complexus Care, which employs about twenty employees, mainly women, paid between 1,500 and 1,700 euros per month. Supported by the CFDT S3C Provence-Alpes, several former employees plan to file a complaint.
"We did not force anyone to join the center," defends Abdnour Sekkiou, "member of the close family" of Hocine (Editor's note: who never wanted to speak to AFP), who presents himself as HR Director of the center: "If people were not happy, they just had to stop" the treatment. "All practitioners (of Complexus Care) are professional and recognized in their profession," he says, adding that he has "complete confidence in justice".