Agnès Buzyn

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Agnès Buzyn (born 1 November 1962) is a French hematologist, university professor, medical practitioner and political figure, served as the Minister of Solidarity and Health in the Philippe Government from 17 May 2017 to 16 February 2020.[1]

Agnès Buzyn
Agnès Buzyn 2018-04-06 lancement stratégie autisme 2018-2022.jpg
Minister of Solidarity and Health
In office
17 May 2017 – 16 February 2020
PresidentEmmanuel Macron
Prime MinisterÉdouard Philippe
Preceded byMarisol Touraine
Succeeded byOlivier Véran
Personal details
Born (1962-11-01) 1 November 1962 (age 58)
Paris, France
Political partyIndependent (Before 2017)
En Marche (2017–present)
Spouse(s)Yves Lévy
ParentsÉlie Buzyn
Etty Buzyn
EducationParis Descartes University

Buzyn, who specializes in hematology, cancer immunology and transplant, spent most of her career as a medical practitioner, professor and researcher at Paris-Descartes University (Paris-V) and at Necker Hospital.

From 2008, she assumed many responsibilities as part of Health and Nuclear public institutions: president of the administrative counsel of the Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute (IRSN) (French: "Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire ") (2008–2013); member of the comity on nuclear energy of The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) (French: ”Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives”) (2009–2015); member of the administrative counsel in 2009, then vice-president in 2010, and president since 2011 of the National Institute for Cancer (INCa) (French: “ Institut national du cancer”).

Buzyn was appointed Minister of Solidarity and Health under the presidency of Emmanuel Macron, as part of the first government of Édouard Philippe on 17 May 2017, then confirmed on June the 21st 2017 as part of the second government of Édouard Phillipe. She resigned on 16 February 2020 to run in the Paris mayor's election.[2] She is succeeded by Olivier Véran.

Early life and educationEdit

Buzyn was born to two Holocaust survivors, her father Elie from Polish Łódź, who survived Buchenwald's death march at age 16, and left for British Palestine after World War II. He became an orthopedic surgeon in Paris and married a French Jewish woman, Etty, whose family hid in France during the war; she became a well-known psychoanalyst and writer.[3]

Early careerEdit

Buzyn is a qualified doctor, hematologist and university professor. From 2008 to 2013, she chaired France's Agency for Nuclear Safety and Protection against Radiation (IRSN), a position which involved reassuring the public after Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.[4]

She has been head of the French National Cancer Institute and other public health executive boards. For several years she was a senior physician and researcher at the Necker Children's Hospital in Paris, teaching hematology and transplantation at Paris VI University.[3]

In 2016, Buzyn was appointed president of the French High Health Authority (HAS), as the first woman.[3]

Minister of HealthEdit

In May 2017, President Emmanuel Macron appointed Buzyn as Minister of Health. She had never been involved in party politics prior to being nominated similar to other ministers (culture minister Françoise Nyssen, Olympic fencing champion Laura Flessel and TV star Nicolas Hulot).[5]

Early in her tenure, Buzyn signed a charter to promote vaccination with seven national health service guilds, in an effort to counter growing vaccine hesitancy in France.[6] In 2019, she implemented a HAS recommendation according to which the state health insurance system cease all reimbursements for the use of homeopathic cures from 2021.[7][8][9] She later steered through parliament a controversial bioethics law extending to homosexual and single women free access to fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) under France's national health insurance; it was one of the campaign promises of President Macron and marked the first major social reform of his five-year term.[10]

During France's presidency of the G7 in 2019, Buzyn hosted a G7 Ministers of Health meeting in Paris.[11] She also co-hosted the sixth replenishment meeting of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Lyon.[12]

Ahead of the 2019 European Parliament election, Buzyn was considered one of the front-runners to top the candidate list of the La République En Marche party; the role eventually went to Nathalie Loiseau instead.[13]

By the end of 2019, addressing concerns that France's free health system was attracting illegal migrants, Buzyn said asylum seekers would have to wait three months before being entitled to healthcare. She assured that restrictions would not apply to children, or emergency care.[14]

In February 2020 she resigned to run for Paris Mayor's elections.[2]


The Minister of Health and the Minister of Research oversee INSERM where Yves Lévy, Buzyn's husband, was CEO at the time of her appointment. On 29 May 2017, a decree was issued that the French prime minister would carry out acts related to INSERM instead of Buzyn. The French press has called this an unthinkable solution in Anglo-Saxon countries.[15][16]

Buzyn is a member of the search committee charged with auditioning the INSERM director candidates. Several candidates decided not to run for office upon learning this information.[17]

In October 2020, Buzyn was one of several current and former government officials whose home was searched by French authorities following complaints about the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in France.[18]

Personal lifeEdit

Buzyn was married to Pierre-Francois Veil, son of health minister and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, who died in June 2017. They have 2 children together.[3]

Buzyn is married to Yves Lévy, with whom she has one child. Levy is an immunology professor and has been heading the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) since June 2014. He remains interim head since his term expired 12 June 2018 and announced on 30 July that he would not run for another term due to the controversy.[15]


  1. ^ Angelique Chrisafis in Paris (n.d.). "France's Macron selects his government from left, right and centre". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b "French health minister to run for Paris mayor after sex scandal sinks previous candidate". France 24. 16 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d RINA BASSIST Agnes Buzyn – Stepping into Simone Veil’s shoes The Jerusalem Post, 20 September 2017
  4. ^ "Factbox: Ministers in new French government". Reuters. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  5. ^ Chrisafis, Angélique. "France's Macron selects his government from left, right and centre". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  6. ^ Zachary Young (21 November 2018), How anti-vax went viral Politico Europe.
  7. ^ Carmen Paun (9 July 2019), Ending payments a bitter pill for French homeopathy fans Politico Europe.
  8. ^ Victor Mallet (10 July 2019), French state to stop funding homeopathic cures Financial Times.
  9. ^ Noemie Bisserbe (24 July 2019), France Moves to Lift Ban on Assisted Reproduction for Female Couples The Wall Street Journal.
  10. ^ Harriet Agnew (24 September 2019), France moves to extend IVF to gay and single women Financial Times.
  11. ^ Secretary Azar Attends G7 Health Ministerial Meeting and Participates in Bilateral Meetings United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), press release of 16 May 2019.
  12. ^ Global Fund seeks $14 bn to fight AIDS, malaria, TB France 24, 9 October 2019.
  13. ^ Rym Momtaz (5 March 2019), Ministers lead race to be Macron’s European champion Politico Europe.
  14. ^ Elizabeth Pineau and Christian Lowe (6 November 2019), France, under pressure from right wing, toughens stance on immigration Politico Europe.
  15. ^ a b France may be back, but the old ways persist for INSERM. The Lancet, Volume 391, Issue 10138, p 2390. Retrieved 16 June 2018
  16. ^ Eric Favereau Le mari de la ministre de la Santé peut-il rempiler à la direction de l'Inserm? Liberation, 22 May 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018 "Une solution à la française, totalement boiteuse. Dans les pays anglo-saxons, une situation similaire n'aurait jamais été possible."
  17. ^ Buzyn fait-elle du «chantage à la démission» pour que son mari reste à la tête de l’Inserm ? RT France, 13 May 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018
  18. ^ Merlin Sugue (October 15, 2020), French police search health minister’s home as part of coronavirus inquiry Politico Europe.