Promoting the use of HCQ…
Melbourne doctors under review for promoting discredited Covid treatment
The drug regulator says a group of doctors is being investigated for promoting hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the virus, against all scientific evidence
Sun 21 Feb 2021 16.30 GMT
Trust the experts, we are told. Believe the science. But what happens when it is a group of eminent doctors who are behind the misinformation – and they back their claims with a superficially convincing bevy of peer-reviewed academic journal articles?
These are the questions raised by the existence of the Covid Medical Network – a company run by three Melbourne doctors that has been promoting the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for Covid-19 in defiance of the public health authorities, the World Health Organization and most expert medical opinion.
The CMN also casts doubt on the reliability of tests for Covid – because they only tell you whether you are positive or negative for the presence of the virus, not whether you are infectious – as well as the need for and efficacy of the vaccines, and says wearing masks can be harmful to your health.
Australia’s medical goods regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, has told the Guardian that the doctors are “under review” for possible breaches of consumer laws and the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code that prohibit misleading advertising and advertising of prescription medicines. This is because the CMN promotes a cocktail of prescription drugs – including hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin – that are not approved for use to treat Covid-19 . The penalties can be severe.
As this article was being prepared, the CMN took down some of the material promoting hydroxychloroquine after a “formal cease and desist” letter from the TGA.
“We are currently consulting with our lawyers and the TGA regarding how best to provide the information in a manner that would not reasonably be construed as advertising the medications associated with the safe and effective treatment of early Covid illness,” the website said.
The doctors behind the CMN are practising regularly in Melbourne, including in aged care and our leading public and private hospitals.
The network does not believe it is disseminating misinformation but rather that it is performing a public service – putting out information it sees as backed by evidence. It claims “widely available international evidence and experience, which is now readily available” will eventually see medical authorities move to their position, which they describe as “now virtually beyond dispute”.
The CMN – or at least its leader, Dr Eamonn Mathieson – suggests that Australian and world health authorities are negligent in failing to keep up with the most recent research and guilty of “therapeutic nihilism” and malpractice in preventing sick people from being properly treated.
CMN and Bill Gates
The CMN even invokes the name of that favourite target of US conspiracy theorists, billionaire Bill Gates, suggesting that Australian medical authorities should be regarded with suspicion because they have participated in research funded by the Gates Foundation.
CM and Liberal MP Craig Kelly
A recent CMN webinar includes the Liberal MP Craig Kelly interviewing American doctor Vladimir Zelenko, whose claim early in the pandemic to have successfully treated Covid patients with hydroxychloroquine was the inspiration for then president Donald Trump’s promotion of the drug.
“I consider you a true hero sir,” Kelly says to Zelenko – who has been banned by social media companies for spreading misinformation and criticised by the orthodox Jewish community in which he practised for allegedly exaggerating infection rates.
The interview was posted on 10 February – eight days after the prime minister, Scott Morrison, claimed to have “dressed down” Kelly for spreading Covid misinformation. At the time of writing it remains on the website, despite the TGA action.
Meanwhile, numerous interviews on Sky News with medical practitioners promoting hydroxychloroquine and criticising health authorities are claimed to have been “coordinated” by the CMN.