French doctor and international diet guru Pierre Dukan has been censured for failing to observe medical ethics in prescribing to a patient who wanted to lose weight the amphetamine-derivative drug Mediator, which is now believed to have killed hundreds. The ruling is the latest controversy to hit the former general practitioner who created the high-protein, low-fat, low-carbohydrate Dukan diet. Since his first weight-loss book was published in France in 2000, 11 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide. The Dukan group behind diet-coach websites and a range of products registered a turnover of €38 million (HK$378 million) last year. Dukan, 72, who has retired as a doctor, received a week-long ban from practising medicine and was ordered to pay €6,000 in legal costs to the complainant. The medical body found that he prescribed the drug outside its principal recommended use for a significant period and without sufficient tests or follow-up. It said he lied about the time frame of the prescription and the medical history of his patient. Dukan's lawyer criticised the ruling and said he would appeal. Dukan has also lodged a separate legal complaint. The drug Mediator is at the centre of one of France's worst pharmaceutical scandals. It was marketed to overweight diabetics and to healthy women as an appetite suppressant when they wanted to lose weight. Dukan's patient, named only as Marie-Claude in the French media, consulted him over her desire to lose weight in 1971. Years later she discovered she was suffering from heart valve damage that medical experts said was likely to be directly related to taking Mediator. The medical body has already sanctioned more than 100 doctors over prescriptions of Mediator. Dukan excluded himself from the French National Order of Doctors of his own accord last year. The body had lodged two official complaints, accusing him of not exercising enough care in his proposals, of engaging in personal promotion and of practising medicine "like a business", in contravention of its code.