Minister Delegate to the Minister of Health Agnes Firmin Le Bodo arrives at the Elysee palace for the first new cabinet meeting, in Paris, France, 21 July 2023. EPA-EFE/TERESA SUAREZ


One day into her job, French health minister admits to investigation for undeclared gifts


Agnès Firmin-Le Bodo, France’s new health minister, is the target of a judicial investigation for having received gifts without declaring them.

Firmin-Le Bodo, who replaced Aurélien Rousseau as minister for health after he resigned in opposition to President Macron’s controversial immigration bill, has only been in office since 20 December.

But on Thursday, 21 December, the investigative news outlet Médiapart reported she had received gifts from French multinational pharmaceutical group Urgo.

Firmin-Le Bodois, a pharmacist, was accused of receiving €20,000 worth of bottles of champagne, luxury watches and other top-end products, from 2015 to 2020.

In June 2023, prosecutors opened a judicial investigation for “unauthorised receipt by a health professional of benefits provided by a person producing or marketing health products”. They did not confirm which pharmacists are the focus of the probe.

Urgo apparently wanted to encourage pharmacists to prescribe their pharmaceutical products, a practice which is against the law. A Dijon criminal court fined Urgo Laboratories €1,125,000 in January 2023 for this, with €625,000 of the fine deferred.

“As part of my function as a pharmacist, an investigation is underway,” Firmin-Le Bodo said on Friday, in her first interview as a minister, without saying more.

Before she was appointed to lead the Health Ministry, Firmin-Le Bodo was minister-delegate in charge of France’s organisation of health professionals.