Feature

French drugs don’t work

The week's news at a glance.

Paris

France’s Health Ministry announced last week that it will no longer cover the cost of nearly a quarter of the nation’s most frequently prescribed drugs because they have “little or no recognized medical effect.” The French pop three times as many pills as the Germans or British, and many of their medicines target illnesses that do not exist in other countries. Many of the 900 drugs to be dropped from medical coverage are intended to combat a common French ailment known as la crise de foi, or liver trouble. In other countries, la crise is known as indigestion, and the only known cure is restraint at the dinner table.

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