Antivaxxer Mark Geier has license revoked in Maryland

By Phil Plait | May 5, 2011 2:00 pm

I do so love to report these wins for reality, as rare as they are: the very vocal antivax advocate Mark Geier has had his medical license revoked in Maryland. Why?

The Maryland State Board of Physicians reviewed nine cases of autistic children seen by Geier, of which he treated seven. Of those nine, the Board found he misdiagnosed six of them. He (mis)diagnosed them with "precocious puberty", a medical condition where kids have extremely early onset of puberty. Why would he do such a thing? Well, this condition can be treated with Lupron, a drug which lowers testosterone (it’s used to chemically castrate adult men). Geier happens to think Lupron can also help autism — despite there being no evidence at all that’s the case — which makes his diagnosis very suspect. It implies strongly that he used the precocious puberty diagnosis as an excuse to prescribe the drug.

By the way, Lupron costs $5000 – $6000 a month to administer. The side effects can be severe as well, including seizures, and it’s known that autistic children are prone to seizures. That’s why the Board wrote that Geier’s treatment "exposed the children to needless risk of harm, " (pp 12 – 13). As far as his medical expertise, the Board also wrote that Geier’s "assessment and treatment of autistic children as described herein, however, far exceeds his qualifications and expertise" (p. 13). That dry assessment does nothing to convey the horror I felt reading the Board’s document, though. In several cases, he didn’t even diagnose the children in person.

The statement by the Board goes on and on, and every page paints Geier with a more and more damning brush. That’s no surprise, as Geier has long been known to play fast and loose with reality… like so many other antivaxxers.

I’m very glad to see this happen. So many alt-med promoters can at least claim caveat emptor, but when it comes to antivaxxers, the emptores are children. This puts the lives of kids directly at risk, and indirectly the lives of many, many others.

As it happens, Geier is also licensed to practice medicine in California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington. At least now children in Maryland are safe from him, but there are still ten states to go… and a lot more people like Geier out there.

[Note: In the time since I drafted this post, others are chiming in, like Harpocrates Speaks, Seth Mnookin, and Orac.]

Tip o’ the syringe to pro-health hero Dr. Rachie.

Related posts:

Help stop antivax ads in NYC
More news on preventable diseases
The Panic Virus
Indexed takes on antivaxxers


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