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Doctors to take legal action against GMC over ‘inaction’ on Covid vaccine misinformation

Doctors to take legal action against GMC over ‘inaction’ on Covid vaccine misinformation

A group of doctors, including some GPs, has begun legal proceedings against the GMC based on what they say is a failure to act on Covid-19 vaccine misinformation.

On Friday, the group, whose members wish to remain anonymous, sent a formal pre-action protocol letter to the GMC, which is a warning that legal action is imminent. 

In January, these doctors called on the regulator to investigate Dr Aseem Malhotra’s fitness to practise due to what they claim is his ‘high-profile promotion of misinformation about Covid-19 mRNA vaccines’.

Dr Malhotra, a consultant cardiologist, campaigner and author, has over half a million followers on Twitter, with most recent posts focusing on the Covid vaccine.

The upcoming action, which is led by lawyers from the Good Law Project, is based on the GMC’s refusal to carry out an investigation.

Professor Trish Greenhalgh, a GP and academic in primary care at the University of Oxford who has been in touch with the group, told Pulse the ‘scandal is that the GMC do not think it’s their job to investigate doctors who have massive, massive followings on social media and who fan the flames of disinformation’. 

In a letter to the GMC in April, before the group received an official refusal, the doctors argued the regulator ‘is required to investigate whether Dr Malhotra’s fitness to practise is impaired by virtue of his campaign against the Covid-19 vaccine’.

The letter added: ‘Failing to act poses a potential risk to patients and to public trust in both the medical profession and the GMC as regulator.’

Professor Greenhalgh said one of the reasons the GMC has refused is that there is a ‘lack of direct proof linking a particular anti-vax statement with harm to a particular patient’.

She said: ‘The days when the worst thing you could possibly do is take out the wrong kidney are gone. Now because of the way that social media reproduce and amplify statements, round and round and round, they have a reach of millions. 

‘So repeated statements of “mRNA vaccines are unsafe, mRNA vaccines cause heart attacks, mRNA vaccines are much worse than getting a disease” – none of those things are true.

‘The problem is you can’t draw a direct line between a particular statement and patient harm. And it’s time to stop thinking that’s necessary.’

The group has been fundraising to help cover the legal costs of a challenge to the GMC, and so far it has raised almost £5,000.

Dr Malhotra said in response: ‘Having been one of the first to take two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and even tackle vaccine hesitancy on Good Morning Britain I had to change my position when the evidence changed in keeping with good medical practice.

‘The covid mRNA vaccines have common and serious adverse consequences including death and should likely never have been approved in the first place. Ignoring such evidence is in my view down to wilful blindness.

‘I will continue as I have always done with an impeccable private and public track record to promote the very highest standards of ethical evidence based medical practice.’

A GMC spokesperson said: ‘We carefully consider all complaints raised with us, and thoroughly examine all relevant information before making decisions about whether they meet the statutory threshold for investigation.

‘We take action where there is evidence of a risk to patients or public confidence or a serious breach of proper professional standards or conduct. We do not take this responsibility lightly, and realise that our decisions can sometimes be disappointing for complainants.’

In June last year, a consultant surgeon, Mr Adil, was suspended for six months by the MPTS due to his anti-vaccination statements. 

Mr Adil tried to appeal this decision at the High Court, but in April his appeal was dismissed and the court upheld the MPTS’s finding that his actions conflicted with the professional standards set by the GMC, particularly the obligation to uphold public trust in the profession.

Pulse reported in November 2021 that GPs who criticise the Covid vaccine on social media could be ‘vulnerable’ to GMC investigation, according to the Medical Protection Society (MPS).

In September last year, the Government had to confirm that Covid vaccination advice for pregnant women had not changed after false reports had been circulating that approval for this had been quietly removed.


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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr 5 June, 2023 9:06 pm

It would seem prudent and somewhat overdue , would it not, to have an open assessment of the benefits versus the harms of these therapeutic interventions. The “Emergency” that expedited their delivery to market is no longer material, and an appraisal by NICE, as they would have done with any new technology prior to 2020, would be in order.
Perhaps then we could all start to discuss matters in an apolitical, open and honest way, and in so doing consign the toxic polemicists , name calling and legal action to decide matters of science to the dust bin in which it belongs

Joe Josephus 5 June, 2023 9:27 pm

And now for something completely different….

Anonymous 5 June, 2023 10:03 pm

Laptop gate was more important to these racists.

Fiona Underhill 6 June, 2023 7:55 am

Why cannot we as doctors debate these issues openly and honestly? Why do those with opposing views to the official narrative get vilified and shut down? That is unscientific and authoritarian. The thalidomide scandal only came to light when doctors asked questions and reported what they saw. Dr Malhotra’s father died after receiving the covid vaccine which caused him to ask questions. My father died after receiving his, and I have seen a number of cases where patients have had side effects ranging from axillary lymphadenopathy and menstrual disorders to clots, myocarditis and arrhythmias. I myself had two doses, I am not antivax but it is right to ask questions and particularly to question the risk benefit ratio for healthy young adults and children who have a vanishingly small risk from covid.

Matthew Shaw 6 June, 2023 8:50 am

Great – let’s shut down all dissenters questions debate and discussion. Lets make sure everyone is “on message” because control, fear and intimidation is the best way to win arguments, advance knowledge and get to the truth. In fact lets combine the inquisition and the thought police because we know best……

Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr 6 June, 2023 9:04 pm

Bravo! Joe !!!😂

Dave Haddock 7 June, 2023 9:22 am

Enough censorship.
Dissenters views were deliberately silenced during lockdown, government officials and politicians deliberately manipulated and misled the public.
The result of that is widespread distrust of official information; the answer is more openess not less.

Dave Haddock 7 June, 2023 9:25 am

Any chance of the GMC investigating the doctors complicit in forced medical treatment – compulsory vaccination of health and care workers?

Hello My name is 7 June, 2023 9:59 pm

These numpties remind me of a girl I was at primary school who was forever telling tales and expecting the teachers to tell everyone else off. It was tiresome and petty – and I always felt she should learn to fight her own battles. An open debate doesn’t need the GMC to be sued. Truth has a way of rising to the surface and nonsense will get cast aside. Make the argument, don’t need to silence alternative ideas.

Katharine Morrison 10 June, 2023 10:32 am

Dr Greenhalgh is entitled to her opinions. What is disturbing is that she is insisting that the GMC investigate a doctor who has different opinions to hers. The GMC is well known to be an organisation that is excessively punitive towards doctors. It systems are unfair and provoke severe distress. The “expert witnesses” that they employ may not even have undergone proper training, be appropriately experienced, or provide balanced reports. The GMC doctors who attend hearings are not always experienced in the field that they are adjudicating. This is disgusting behaviour of Dr Greenhalgh. I consider it fascist.

Arnold Abraham 10 June, 2023 12:40 pm

This is bullying. They are saying a doctor is not fit to practise at all for saying a new vaccine has side effects.

Imran Malik 5 July, 2023 10:42 pm

Ive seen his videos and he seems to make evidence based arguments.

The haters just seem to hurl abuse at him.

So far Malhotra 1- hates 0

Matthew Kiln 9 July, 2023 2:43 am

Being a GP throughout all off the COVID 19 affair and giving vaccinations throughout, observing and listening to patient’s experiences and using my own for learning, i am dismayed how if i say anything about how in practice it seems more of a risk to give the vaccine to patients than to give it I will be silenced. So much for evidenced based medicine being a balance of three information sources. Are we misled by pharma or the regulators this time ?

Matthew Kiln 9 July, 2023 2:49 am

apologies, forgot to put in the NOT to give it in line 3. so should read. seems more of a risk to give the vaccine than to not give it I will be silenced.