Illegal practice of medicine, scam, even sectarian drift: complaints and reports accumulate against Complexus Care, a holistic health center created by an influencer, near Aix-en-Provence, and offering 100% remote therapeutic monitoring. Their target: Hocine Sekkiou, a follower of non-conventional medicine, and his company, where nutritionists and naturopaths practice, officially in "synergy" with doctors, in Belgium. Without ever having met their patients, they nevertheless prescribe heavy drug treatments, controversial or even prohibited, as revealed by Provence at the end of April.
The Marseille prosecutor's office confirms that it has been the recipient of a collective complaint by 10 complainants against the Complexus Care health centre located in Pélissanne. This complaint will be studied by the specialized public health unit, "said Friday the prosecutor's office to AFP. The complaint was filed for "breach of trust and weakness", "fraud" and "illegal practice of medicine", said AFP Me 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".
"I drank his words"
Attracted by the charisma of Hocine Sekkiou, known for his health videos on Instagram, thousands of patients around the world have appealed since 2021 to this "holistic" health center, supposed to take into account each patient in his entirety, "biology, experience and environment". With the promise of multidisciplinary and individualized care. However, according to numerous testimonies collected by AFP, the medical follow-up offered was identical or almost identical for all patients, regardless of their pathologies, thyroid problems, infertility or long Covid. And this for an exorbitant cost, not covered by social security. "Hocine boasted of being a doctor of 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. She is part of the Facebook group "Hocinegate", which has more than 860 members, where ex-patients testify about their misadventures.
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After being prescribed dietary supplements – or even DHEA, a natural hormone that some believe could delay aging – she received a prescription from a Belgian doctor for a six-month treatment with Medrol, a steroidal anti-inflammatory drug normally recommended for a short time. At the risk of weakening the immune system, according to the public drug database. "When I saw these prescriptions, my pharmacist was appalled!" explains this patient suffering from thyroid disorders. After having paid 2000 euros over three years, including for analyzes billed 400 euros by a Belgian laboratory, she filed a complaint in early March against Hocine Sekkiou, for "illegal practice of medicine", in Clermont-Ferrand.
Controversial sanitary methods
Seized of a collective complaint, the Marseille prosecutor's office had been alerted on May 4, by a report from the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur Regional Health Agency. For its part, the Order of Physicians was seized 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. "Hocine Sekkiou denigrates conventional doctors and presents himself as the only solution. We can begin to consider a sectarian drift, "pleads Me Maya Lahloul.
In addition to his controversial health methods, Hocine 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 making 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 1500 and 1700 euros per month. Several former employees are preparing a complaint, supported by the CFDT S3C Provence-Alpes. "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 professionals and recognized in their profession," he says, adding that he has "full confidence in justice".