Gloves are off in medical opinion fight, as certifying boards called to task

A doctors’ organization is suing to prevent retaliation by medical boards against physicians who speak out against COVID lockdowns, mandates, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health policies.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) filed the lawsuit against several medical boards for threatening and intimidating physicians after they expressed opposition to Fauci/NIH/CDC/Pharma positions on early treatments, mitigation and experimental COVID-19 vaccination.

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ABOG), and the American Board of Family Medicine are defendants in the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Medical specialty boards certify physicians in their respective fields, an essential credential for practicing medicine in hospitals or participating in healthcare networks. Loss of certification constitutes a de facto revocation of license to practice medicine. 

These semi-governmental boards have “wrongly misuse[d] their authority in a politically partisan manner to chill speech critical of positions taken by Dr. Anthony Fauci, lockdowns, mask mandates, COVID vaccines, and even abortion,” the AAPS complaint claims.

“Losing certification often results in the loss of a physician’s hospital privileges and insurers frequently make board certification a requirement to pay for care,” the AAPS said. “In other words, when a specialty board takes away a physician’s board certification, they may be taking away patients’ access to that doctor.”

Two of the three boards involved, the AAPS says, already have sent letters to physicians threatening to revoke their certification simply for publicly expressing disagreement with the policy positions preferred by the board, despite their opposition being protected speech under the First Amendment.

The issue came to a head over COVID-19 vaccine mandates and heavy-handed censorship, especially in social media, of treatment regimens aside from vaccination. Highly respected physicians and scientists found themselves under heavy pressure to endorse the Emergency Use Authorizations under which the mRNA-based vaccines were administered. 

Many had reservations based on their own clinical experience while others, including the inventor of mRNA technology himself, expressed reservations about both efficacy and safety. Board threats were based on disagreement with the statements of member physicians, and not necessarily on clinical evidence of their statements being in error. 

The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology has admitted as much in its public warnings to physicians making statements against abortion and contraception, “lest they have their board certification revoked by ABOG if it disagrees with such statements,” the complaint states.

The American Board of Internal Medicine has behaved in a similar manner, going so far as to initiate disciplinary action against Dr. Peter A. McCullough, an internist, cardiologist, epidemiologist and former chief of medicine at Baylor University in Texas. He was one of the first to question the efficacy of the vaccines. 

The ABIM is violating principles of ethical research adopted after World War II to prevent atrocities such as those committed by the Nazis, McCullough argues.

“The vaccines are under EUA (Emergency Use Authorization): no board, no doctor can ever encourage or discourage people from taking them because they’re experimental,” McCullough said. “The ABIM is violating the Nuremberg Code. You can’t pressure people to take experimental products.”

McCullough’s position is supported by existing law regarding EUAs.

Revocation of board certification isn’t the only hazard heterodox physicians face. Some, such as Minnesota’s Dr. Scott Jensen, have had their state licenses threatened – in Jensen’s case, for the fifth time – for questioning COVID-19 death counts, promoting off-label treatment with ivermectin, and calling for banning private-sector vaccine mandates. 

Jensen was one of the first to call attention to the fact hospitals get more money by diagnosing patients with COVID-19.

His battles with politically driven state and national boards have led Jensen to run for governor of Minnesota, pledging to bring these boards to heel.

Matt Dean, senior fellow for health care policy outreach at The Heartland Institute, points out the inappropriate nature of unelected, unaccountable boards establishing the parameters of debate among their members.

“Medical boards are there to protect public safety through high standards of training and public practice,” Dean said. “They are not there to chill speech or define ‘misinformation’ or ‘disinformation.’ These terms have been used as political weapons against adversaries both to the right and the left. It is very sad to see these terms coming from boards themselves as they are badgered by political groups to engage in broader political disputes. Science by its very nature is never settled and declaring it so has seldom ended well for science.”

Thirty-one states have either proposed or passed legislation to ensure off-label prescribing rights, with some states specifically mentioning the antiparasitic drugs ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine for off-label use.

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson went further, by releasing a 48-page legal opinion on off-label prescribing in which he clearly expressed the benefits accruing to patients while elucidating the financial motivations of pharmaceutical companies in discouraging off-label use.

Below is an excerpt from the opinion:

“Why would ivermectin’s original patent holder go out of its way to question this medicine by creating the impression that it might not be safe? There are at least two plausible reasons. First, ivermectin is no longer under patent, so Merck does not profit from it anymore. That likely explains why Merck declined to ‘conduct clinical trials’ on ivermectin and COVID-19 when given the chance.

Second, Merck has a significant financial interest in the medical profession rejecting ivermectin as an early treatment for COVID-19. ‘The U.S. government has agreed to pay [Merck] about $1.2 billion for 1.7 million courses of its experimental COVID-19 treatment, if it is proven to work in an ongoing large trial and authorized by U.S. regulators.’

That treatment, known as ‘molnupiravir, aims to stop COVID-19 from progressing and can be given early in the course of the disease.’ On October 1, 2021, Merck announced that preliminary studies indicate that molnupiravir ‘reduced hospitalizations and deaths by half,’ and that same day its stock price ‘jumped as much as 12.3%.’ Thus, if low-cost ivermectin works better than–or even the same as-molnupiravir, that could cost Merck billions of dollars.”

The lawsuit from AAPS looks to gain ground in the battle between those who seek to insert political and profit exigencies into public medical policy and those who believe medicine is best practiced apart from politics.

As the CDC has recently backtracked on much of its original COVID-19 guidance, the three boards may find their legal defenses increasingly weakened by further revelations of public policy errors.

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