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Medical imaging

GE Attempts to Silence Doctor Who Warned About Dangers of Medical Imaging Drug

Friday, January 22, 2010 by: E. Huff, staff writer
Tags: medical imaging, radiology, health news


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(NaturalNews) GE Healthcare, a British subsidiary of multinational giant General Electric, is suing Henrik Thomsen, a senior radiologist and professor of radiology, for sounding the alarm about the dangers of the company's medical imaging drug, Omniscan. After witnessing kidney patients who had received the drug develop potentially fatal conditions, Thomsen publicly exposed the drug's dangers which caused a firestorm of controversy.

In an effort to muzzle Thomsen, GE Healthcare has already spent more than 380,000 British pounds, or about $610,000, in legal fees pursuing litigation against him. Utilizing loopholes in Britain's libel laws, the company is alleging that Thomsen falsely accused GE of suppressing sensitive information about the drug's risks at an Oxford scientific congress presentation in 2007.

Investigation into these claims has shown that Thomsen accurately described his clinical experience and that no such misrepresentation took place. When questioned about this fact, GE spokesmen had no response other than to suggest that Thomsen indirectly slandered the company through insinuation.

Many in the scientific community have expressed outrage over the blatant misuse of British libel laws to silence honest and open debate and dissemination of unbiased information about medical procedures and drugs. Scientists and clinicians who act on behalf of patient safety by highlighting the facts rather than corporate talking points should not be gagged by powerful corporations who leverage their influence and money to manipulate the legal system for their own gain, say those who support libel reform.

Hundreds of people in both the U.K. and the U.S. have died from the side effects of Omniscan and two other similar medical imaging drugs. Filled with toxic contrasting agents like gadolinium, a toxic heavy metal, Omniscan is implicated in causing nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, a skin condition that can cripple a person and possibly cause death.

Legal action is being taken against the companies that produce these drugs by patients in both the U.S. and the U.K. ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit news organization in the U.S. whose purpose is to serve the public interest, has been closely watching the effects of medical imaging drugs, divulging the truth about the dangers they pose.

Nevertheless, GE Healthcare is holding its ground in the fight against Thomsen. As it stands, the company has achieved success in silencing Thomsen as he now refuses to discuss the risks associated with Omniscan in public forums. Until libel reform is enacted, officials believe that companies will continue to misuse the courts to silence the truth and achieve their own ends.

Sources for this story include: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/busine...

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