Thursday, November 11, 2010

Physician Threatened by Libel Action

I was alerted to this issue by a couple of tweets:

@mariawolters: @rlbates please blog this if you can RT @DrEvanHarris: Libel threat to Doc w/ concerns abt  "Boob job" cream! http://bit.ly/a4bM5U

 

@baapsmedia: @beachbumbeauty @cosmetic_candy @rlbates Pls RT 2help defend medical scrutiny on unsubstantiated claims: http://tinyurl.com/37u6wal

 

Shouldn’t it be possible to voice a concern about a medical treatment, procedure, or claim without the fear of retaliation?  If the claims are backed by science, then simply addressing my concerns would be enough.

Fear of retaliation silences discussion.  Fear of retaliation makes it difficult to do the “right thing” when the public or an individual patient is at risk.

This incidence involves a British plastic surgeon threatened with libel action by the ‘Boob Job’ cream’s manufacturer after she voiced concerns/doubts of its effectiveness.

Sense About Science has a great summary of the entire affair:  Plastic surgeon threatened for comment on ‘Boob Job’ cream.

Dr Dalia Nield of The London Clinic was quoted in an article in the Daily Mail on 1st October 2010 saying that it was 'highly unlikely' the 'Boob Job' cream would increase a woman's breast size. The manufacturer, Rodial Limited had claimed that the cream, reported to be a favourite of Scarlett Johansson, can increase breast size by 2.5 cm. Dr Nield said the company had not provided a full analysis of tests on the cream and that if its claims that fat cells moved around the body were true it could be potentially dangerous. Rodial Limited has threatened Dr Nield with libel action. Dr Nield stands by her comments………..

Dr Dalia Nield said: "As a surgeon I am well aware of the necessity for claims on medical products to be based upon rigorous scientific testing, as well as the possible dangers which can result from treatments. It is my duty to speak out when products making these claims are not backed up by evidence. The safety and health of people could be at risk if I cannot do this."

Good for you Dr. Nield!  I agree with you and love this comment:

i want scientific proof, apply only to one boob the a side by side comparison after 56 days

- steve, usa, 1/10/2010 0:36

1 comment:

Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...

This is not the first time this sort of thing has been tried in the UK. The good news is that so far, the threats have not turned into any findings of libel. (Simon Singh's case was ultimately withdrawn)

However, the threat of libel suits puts docs and scientists in financial straits, as they do not have the financial power that corporations have to handle these sorts of matters. This creates an atmosphere of fear and that in essence is what these quacks are banking on.

Publicity about these matters is so important, as the public support for professional free speech is strong.

Thanks for publicizing this - will tweet.

Peggy