Drug Company Files Libel Lawsuit In UK Against Prominent Danish Radiologist Henrik Thomsen
(Posted by Tom Lamb at DrugInjuryWatch.com)
The Sunday Times (UK) recently ran a story that demonstrates how Britain's libel laws are possibly being used by GE Healthcare to intimidate a prominent Danish radiologist, Henrik Thomsen, M.D., into stopping his criticism of its Omniscan product, which has been in the news recently.
In the December 20, 2009 edition of The Sunday Times (UK) one found this descriptively titled article: "Libel gag on talk of 'medical hurricane' -- A healthcare firm is seeking to silence a Danish academic from expressing doubts about one of its products by using England’s draconian libel laws".
Another version of this article, "GE Suit Hushes Scientist Critical of Omniscan", was published online at ProPublica, which is a US-based independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Therein, reporters Jeff Gerth, of ProPublica, and Jon Ungoed-Thomas, of The Sunday Times (UK), tell us about this war being waged by GE Healthcare in the UK court system against Dr. Thomasen, a well-respected medical doctor who is not even a resident of Great Britain. From this ProPublica version of the article:
Two years ago in a conference room in the Randolph hotel in Oxford, England, Henrik Thomsen gave his inside account of a medical "nightmare." In a presentation to about 30 colleagues, Thomsen, one of Europe's leading radiologists, revealed how patients treated at his Copenhagen University hospital had subsequently contracted a rare and potentially fatal disease....
Thomsen, however, now refuses to speak anywhere in England on the possible risks of Omniscan. The reason is that he faces another kind of storm: GE Healthcare is suing him for libel in the UK High Court.
The company claims his presentation in Oxford — entitled "Management Aspects of NSF" — was highly defamatory. GE has already racked up costs of more than £380,000 (about $615,000) pursuing the respected academic, who has authored or co-authored nearly 400 papers and delivered countless presentations to his peers. Thomsen will have to pay GE's costs if he loses the case.
Further, this online article at ProPublica about GE Healthcare, Omniscan, and Dr. Thomasen includes several background items in the sidebar of that web page:
- GE Omniscan Investigation
- About GE Healthcare
- Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis
- Omniscan and NSF
- How Three Hospitals Handled Omniscan
The ProPublica site also has a 135 PDF presentation, "GE v. Thomsen: A British Libel Case", which contains the following related documents:
- Slides from Thomasen's 2006 presentation on Omniscan cases at Copenhagen University Hospital
- GE's legal filing accusing Thomsen of libel
- Thomasen's response to GE's accusation
- GE's response to Thomasen's defense
We are anxious to hear reactions from our readers about this apparent "beat-down" tactic by Big Pharma. Please let us know what you think by submitting a Comment, below.
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