We Bring Good People To Court: Leading Physician Warns That Patients May Be Dying From Drug So General Electric Silences Him With a Libel Lawsuit

Dr. Henrik Thomsen is one of Europe’s leading radiologists who has been alarmed over patients who have contracted a rare and potentially fatal disease, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). It turns out that the patients were reportedly given a drug to help images become more pronounced during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. It is Omniscan and manufactured by GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of General Electric. The response of GE was to sue Thomsen for libel and effectively stop him from speaking about the dangers. It is another example of how England’s defamation laws are out of control. Companies tend to sue in England, which tends to favor corporations (particularly given the English rule that imposes legal costs on the loser in such litigation).

Thomsen drew attention to 20 kidney patients who were afflicted by NSF and had been given routine scans. Notably, it was later confirmed that they were all given the drug and and five of the patients died. European regulators are now issuing warnings on the use of the drug, but GE is still grinding Thomsen in court.

The company has already spent £380,000 in the litigation and, if it wins, will hit him with those and more costs. I have long been a critic of the English defamation rules and the English rule generally on fees. The system allows large companies to coerce settlements or deter critics under the threat of financial ruin. The result is fewer people are willing to take on major companies and fewer product liability actions are filed.

GE is clearly sending the message that it will not tolerate doctors raising health concerns about its products. Not exactly what the company suggests when it proclaims “we bring good things to life.”

For the full story, click here.

11 thoughts on “We Bring Good People To Court: Leading Physician Warns That Patients May Be Dying From Drug So General Electric Silences Him With a Libel Lawsuit

  1. Hey Buddha,

    Don’t know if you read Comcast has an accepted offer to buy 51 per cent of NBC hence controlling interest.

  2. Professor Turley.

    I accuse you of naivete. Are you actually surprised.

    In any nation the first function of the law is to protect the ruling class. English and Australian libel law is excellent in protecting the members of the ruling class against criticism. A defamatory statement that is true is more hurtful than one that is false so it is not surprising that GE is going after Dr Thomsen.

    All one can do is to draw GE’s behaviour to as many people as possible and suggest that they boycott where possible all GE products. After the McLibel case I never eat at McDonalds.

  3. Oh yeah, AY.

    Comcast is sure to improve the quality of reporting. They run such good show with their current operation? I’d watch paint dry if my only option was Comcast. Time-Warner is no better either. Cable companies should be allowed to own outlets. Period. Stupid idea.

  4. “shouldn’t”

    Man, my fingers are cold. I know it’s to help the patients, but this is ridiculous. After visitation is over, I’m moving to the warmer wi-fi of a local coffee house.

  5. […] And then we kill you! Dr. Henrik Thomsen is one of Europe’s leading radiologists who has been alarmed over patients who have contracted a rare and potentially fatal disease, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). It turns out that the patients were reportedly given a drug to help images become more pronounced during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. It is Omniscan and manufactured by GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of General Electric. The response of GE was to sue Thomsen for libel and effectively stop him from speaking about the dangers. It is another example of how England’s defamation laws are out of control. Companies tend to sue in England, which tends to favor corporations (particularly given the English rule that imposes legal costs on the loser in such litigation). […]

  6. We in the US shouldn’t feel too superior about torts when awards are routinely capped and/or knocked down from what a jury awards. Every time a corporate hack or politician starts calling for tort reform it makes my skin crawl.

  7. The good news is that British have been looking at this problem recently again.

    Both The Guardian and Private Eye have been railing against “privacy” provisions now being used by Corporations to further threaten speech (fees are mentioned too);

    Q850 onwards;

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmcumeds/uc275-ix/uc27502.htm

    Ian Hislop rivals the good Prof for intellect, but I’m afraid probably surpasses him for wit (as readers of Private Eye might understand – not sure what/if there is an equivalent in the USofA).

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