Three health professionals in France have been sentenced to jail time and almost €30,000 in fines by a court in Nice after being found guilty of giving out almost 500 Covid test results without actually having processed them.
The professionals – one doctor and two pharmacists – were charged with the crimes of fraud, putting others in danger, and falsification of certificates.
As managers of medical analysis labs, the trio said that in September and October 2020, during the pandemic, they found themselves overrun with tests to process. They said that they became overwhelmed and declared the tests to be negative without actually analysing them.
An inquiry into the case began after a tip-off to officers, in connection with 497 tests that were officially declared as negative, delivered to patients at the Eurofins labs in Montauroux (Var), Peymeinade and Nice (Alpes-Maritimes).
The court returned its judgement today.
Romain Zanchi, a pharmacist biologist, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, a €15,000 fine, and a ban on practising for three years
Dr Guillaume Collet, was sentenced to 10 months in prison, a €7,000 fine, and a ban on practising for one year
Gérard Zanchi, a pharmacist, was sentenced to eight months in prison, a €5,000 fine, and a ban on practising for one year.
The trio was also ordered to pay €2,000 to the Eurofins Labazur iLab, which filed the lawsuit. Eight biologists, also civil parties, were each awarded a symbolic €1 in damages and €400 in legal costs.
The Ordre des Pharmaciens also received €4,000 in damages, and €1,500 in legal costs.
Technically, each of the men has 10 days to appeal the decision, but Romain and Gérard Zanchi have already said that they will not appeal, AFP reports.