Medical boards disciplined 8 physicians in 1 year over misinformation

Medical boards have penalized eight physicians for furthering COVID-19, vaccine and therapeutic misinformation since January 2021, Politico reports. 

The eight sanctioned physicians received disciplinary measures ranging from suspension to revocation of licenses, the Federation of State Medical Boards told Politico. The physicians spread misinformation about vaccines or promoted unproven cures for COVID-19, citing their own expertise in recommending alternative courses of treatment.

The Federation of State Medical Boards warned in July 2021 that physicians could risk their medical licenses by furthering COVID-19 misinformation online and in the media. But boards' decisions are not unilateral, and a dozen states are ramping up to thwart medical boards' oversight. 

North Dakota and Tennessee have restricted state medical boards' powers. Tennessee's medical board removed from its website a policy opposing COVID-19 misinformation, shortly after the state passed a law requiring disciplinary processes regarding the "dispensing or prescribing of medication for COVID-19" to be approved by the Joint Government Operations Committee. Lawmakers in 10 other states, including Florida and South Carolina, have introduced similar measures.

In addition to states' legislative interventions, medical boards' processes and infrastructure to address physician-furthered misinformation on the web — versus directly in patient care — has shortcomings, medical board leaders told Politico

"Doctors who are out in the public domain, making broad statements about discredited treatments, our processes weren't designed for that," said Kristina Lawson, the head of the Medical Board of California. "We're actively thinking about that."

Read the Politico article in full here

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