Two hours had not passed since the swearing-in of Pedro Castillo’s fourth cabinet, on Tuesday, when a video of the new Minister of Health, Hernán Condori, circulated in chat groups of doctors, in which he advertised a mixture of purified water and fruit juice as a product with properties to “improve health, better assimilate medicines and nutrients and eliminate toxic things”. The next day, the main institutions of Peruvian medicine, in addition to political and social leaders, demanded his immediate resignation because, in addition, he is under fiscal investigations for corruption and presents himself as an obstetrician although he has not been trained in that specialty.
The doctor-surgeon Condori has reached high office thanks to his closeness to the Marxist-Leninist politician Vladimir Cerrón, the founder of the Peru Libre party, who affiliated Castillo to promote him as a presidential candidate in 2021 due to Cerrón’s disqualification for corruption. The new health minister was director of health for a district in Junín, a region in which the party leader was governor. The criticism against him is now centering the controversy over Castillo’s new cabinet, which since he took power last July has been in an eternal crisis. The doctor sponsored by Cerrón, in addition, replaced the minister with the highest approval from the cabinet so far in the Castillo government, Hernando Cevallos, one of the few that the president kept from the team since the beginning of the mandate.
the digital medium Epicenter revealed Tuesday night that Condori is under investigation by the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office due to two possible crimes he committed when he served as director of the Chanchamayo health network: improper charges and incompatible negotiation. According to a tax document, in 2019 the doctor and other officials abused their position by charging money to technicians and professionals who applied for places in health facilities in Chanchamayo, arguing that they were paying for the “documentary processing fee.” despite the fact that it was not foreseen in the regulations. In that same process, the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office indicates that Condori and the other investigated would have maneuvered so that certain people approved the public contest. The Comptroller’s Office also questioned his appointment when he was a health official in Chanchamayo, since he did not meet the requirements for the position.
Academic institutions and health professionals asked Castillo on Wednesday for the departure of the new head of health, among them, the Faculty of Medicine of the National University of San Marcos -the oldest in Peru-, the Peruvian Association of Faculties of Medicine and the National Council of Medical Residents.
On Thursday, a statement was added by the medical union, despite the fact that during the pandemic it did not do the same against other of its leaders and members who also promoted pseudoscience. “As it is already public knowledge, the aforementioned professional openly promotes the illegal practice of medicine and the misleading use of commercial preparations with supposed medicinal virtues without having any scientific evidence to support such claims,” says the statement from the Medical College of Peru , which demands the resignation of Minister Condori.
The video in which Condori promoted the consumption of what he calls “agua arracimada” or “agua hexagonal” was on the Facebook account of a third person and it is not possible to determine the date on which the doctor recorded the advertisement. When the controversy arose over the new minister, the recording was removed from that profile.
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“We are all made of different types of water, one of them is clustered water. We are born with 100% clustered water and from the age of ten we begin to lose this type of water and aging begins. In turn, as there is no clustered water, a series of metabolic disorders begin and people begin to have diseases”, explains Condori in the video, before showing how to consume the product that in the 100-milliliter presentation costs about 80 dollars. The message was recorded in his office, in which a poster was visible large with her name and the word: “obstetrician”, a profession she has not studied.
On Wednesday, at the first press conference of the Cabinet led by Prime Minister Aníbal Torres, the new head of Health responded to a question about the challenges to his appointment for promoting such a substance. Condori maintained his position and justified himself by saying that he does “preventive” work. He also lied about the product. “In my 24 years as a doctor, I have not deleted anything from my website. Face, I have made different publications to educate the population. This product is a type of clustered water, it has permission from Digemid, Digesa and the FDA and can be marketed in different pharmacies”, he replied.
The specialized digital medium health with magnifying glass published the sanitary registration of the product in the General Directorate of Environmental Health (Digesa) that characterizes it as purified water with concentrated pomegranate and blueberry juice. However, it is not registered with the General Directorate of Medicines (Digemid) or with the FDA (the United States Drug Agency), as Condori assured. The same media reported that the new minister promoted ivermectin for the cure of the coronavirus.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.