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.


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Comments (39)

  1. Gus Snarp

    Sweet Jesus, what an evil, evil man. That’s not even garden variety run of the mill nuttiness, that’s like horror movie villain. I’m glad his license has been revoked, but I hope he will be prosecuted as well as sued for every penny he’s ever made.

  2. RobertC

    Read about that for Orac yesterday, read most of the ruling.

    What a disgusting man. I’d like to see the other shoe drop and get the son for practicing without a license next.

    And, of course, reciprocal revocations in the other states.

  3. Carey

    Maryland: Sooooo not doomed.

  4. NewEnglandBob

    Sounds like Geier should be administered doses of Lupron to teach him a lesson.

  5. I’m keeping a big list of responses to the Geier license revocation at http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2011/05/autism-treatment-provider-mark-geier-md-medical-licence-suspended.html.

    Harpocrates Speaks’ post has helpful links to the other states where Geier is licensed. Geier is licensed in my state. I have sent a copy of the Maryland ruling to my state’s medical board with the suggestion that my state’s board may wish to follow suit.

  6. Maryland’s not done, yet. I have a post in mind coming up soon (btw, thanks for linking to Harpocrates Speaks!) as a followup to this. More work to be done there.

  7. Terry

    It took long enough. The Geiers are truly scumbags. The horrors that they put these children through is incomprehensible.

  8. Grimbold

    It seems somehow appropriate that “Geier” is the German word for “vulture”.

  9. bepatienz

    Unfortunately, Geier remains licensed in other states. I doubt that those states will sustain Geier’s license to practice if the state medical boards are made aware of the Maryland findings–but someone has to let them know.

  10. Grand Lunar

    Reality for the win!

    Glad to see this happened. I hope the message gets out.

  11. Now, if we could only get him to serve some jail time for involuntary manslaughter because of his anti-vax pro-disease nonsense…

  12. Sam H

    @11 I cannot agree more with you, Larian. I don’t agree with absolutely everything on this blog (strong naturalistic framework and the abundance of atheists, although I’ll revoke some of my earlier comments on ID – not as much credibility as I thought after all, though I won’t go forming conspiracies. ID as a general concept certainly is still possible, but not conclusive by these methods and CERTAINLY not science worthy of classroom instruction), but this I can agree completely with. Why doesn’t someone involved in the legal process investigate this, build a case, prosecute him and attempt to have him locked up? (I certainly don’t get how the extremely convoluted and inefficient legal system works even here in my own home of Canada, but if there be any lawyers out there reading this would something like the above be even remotely possible?)

  13. Slowly rolling this nonsense back – but how many people have suffered because of it? How many people have died? This sort of venomous evil needs to be fought

  14. Got a follow-up post on Dr. Geier’s son, David. Other questions to come of this: who else was involved and what actions will be taken against them? The Geiers have centers in several other states; when Mark Geier isn’t there, who’s running the show? What other physicians have thrown in with them and will they be investigated as well?

  15. gt

    FWIW, Lupron also is a treatment for controlling the proliferation of prostate cancer cells.

  16. One Eyed Jack

    Geier is also licensed to practice medicine in California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington

    Which demonstrates clearly why being licensed in individual states makes absolutely no sense. Mess up in one state? No problem. Just move to another state and keep chugging along.

  17. @gt

    Good point. Orac brought that up in his post, mentioning that Lupron replaced the older means of dealing with prostate cancer proliferation: surgical castration.

  18. Lisa

    Sadly, there will have been damage to innocents that can not be undone. But reading that MD revoked evil (yep, I’ll stand by that) man’s license brings hope. Perhaps my home state is not completely doomed!

  19. Lupron’s a nasty drug. I first heard of it when my grandfather had prostate cancer. At the time, it was a new drug and my father urged the doctors to put him on it. Instead, they decided to operate to remove the cancer from his arm. Yes, it had spread and no that didn’t do anything to help. By the time they conceded that Lupron might have helped, it was too late and my grandfather died. (To this day, I think those doctors were more concerned about draining my grandfather’s wallet than treating his cancer.)

    Later on, as my wife was battling endometriosis, Lupron was given as a possible treatment. We looked into it and found all of the horrible side effects. It essentially puts the woman into early menopause… something that is supposed to be temporary but sometimes isn’t. It’s so damaging that you can only be on it for 6 months (IIRC) at the most. Luckily, we decided not to use it and went with other treatments (which have worked).

    Lupron in kids? Unless there is something seriously wrong that only Lupron would treat (nothing I can think of fits this category), then the answer should be a definite NO!

  20. @TechyDad

    There actually is a legitimate use for Lupron in children: precocious puberty. That is when children start puberty under 10 years old for boys or 9 years old for girls. It is a temporary treatment and not meant for long-term use, from my understanding. It is not approved by FDA for use for anything other than precocious puberty, endometriosis or prostate cancer.

  21. D. Austin

    As a resident of California, I’m writing our state medical board to encourage them to follow Maryland’s example. I sincerely hope he won’t be able to pull a Wakefield and simply move his wicked operation to a new location.

    I would encourage those in the states in which Geier is licensed to do the same.

  22. truthspeaker

    Sam H Says:
    May 5th, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    ….I’ll revoke some of my earlier comments on ID – not as much credibility as I thought after all, though I won’t go forming conspiracies.

    People lying to make money and/or influence other people is not a “conspiracy”, it’s one of the most common events in human history.

  23. MadScientist

    Are the Geiers still peddling ‘chelation therapy’ as well? I still find it incredible that these con artists are still roaming free and that it took many years to revoke the elder Geier’s license and only in one state so far.

  24. @MadScientist

    Yes. Its the whole reason for the Lupron. Looking at the suspension order from the board, the first complaint against Dr. Geier appears to have been in 2006. It took them 5 years to investigate, during which time they receive two more complaints, one from another physician and one from the parent of one of Geier’s patients.

  25. mike burkhart

    I think this cast doubt on the anti-vax movement.Now this guy should be sued by all who he misdignosed. Off topic: One thing I love on this blog is the web names I just use my own name but some of you are very inventive .

  26. Missy

    As I read the title I threw my hands in the air as if calling a field goal good and said “YES!!!!”

  27. DR

    I suspect that Geier’s “hypothesis” (more like a wild-a** guess) about Lupron is due to an over-extension of Baron-Cohen’s hypothesis about increased exposure to testosterone in utero might lead to autism. But Baron-Cohen understands what a hypothesis is, and certainly would never go as far as promoting a treatment on what amounts to a hunch…

  28. Sam H

    @19 truthspeaker: very true (lol name pun :)), but what I meant was is that while they may be fudging data in order to get themselves across, I’m not going to assign BS-ridiculous far-left conspiracies to them that they want to set up creationism in classrooms and thus “take back America for Christ” (I know about the Wedge Document, but we can’t assign catchall overstated theocratic agendas to every single one of them. And besides, these people are not always interested in control – they just don’t like what they see in your nation). People may assign different causes to the violence that’s occurring today (I side with the left on a good deal of issues, but the right have a FEW good points – yes, even the religious right). They believe that teaching evolution is causing kids to shoot their peers (which is almost certainly BS), but neither is it true to say that everyone on the right is a theocrat (and that they’ll eventually want to stone your fornicating kids). In the words of Ken Ham and his kin: same evidence (all the chaos and violence in our world today), different interpretation (left vs. right, religious vs. atheist, etc. BTW, I remember reading somewhere about new studies that link political leaning with differing brain structure).
    Anyway, about my comments regarding the legal system: For anyone with a educated or decently good knowledge of it, is what I said even remotely possible? If so, let’s go for it and erase his petty medical “qualifications”!!!

  29. InfidelAvenger

    I find it interesting that antivaxxers say they are against “Big Pharma.” Yet this guy was helping Big Pharma by pushing expensive meds for no good reason on families.

  30. Daffy

    “They believe that teaching evolution is causing kids to shoot their peers (which is almost certainly BS)…”

    ALMOST certainly?!?!?!? And who ever said “everyone on the right is a theocrat who wants to stone fornicating kids?”

    Sheeesh.

  31. Sam H

    @24 Daffy: Aie…yet another example of why I should attempt to make my trains of thought clearer to others :roll:. Anyway, I said almost certainly because of the inevitability of the rare exception (evolution/origin of morality is a whole ‘nother animal, but for someone unstable it COULD possibly mean “no rules”, and I believe there is at least one quoted example of this). And the thing about theocrats was just my attempt at putting the perception of some on the left (including Chris Hedges, Michelle Goldberg, and others) of the Christian right into a few sentences. The “stoning kids” bit is just my attempt at the reaction to people such as RJ Rushdoony and Gary North (who DO propose this and are very influential in their own circles), but it does NOT apply to everyone on the right at all. In fact, I believe that political rhetoric just like this (and the kind that is practically everywhere else in your country, from Washington to Fox News to Huffington to Tuscon) is a very strong indicator of the ever-accelerating decline and fall of the American Empire.
    But thankyou very much for the reminder to think about what I write before I do so!! :)

  32. flip

    The report is certainly damning. Here’s hoping it will start a domino effect in the other states where he is licenced. It sounds as if Geier was very much knowingly scamming everyone, from the patients and their parents, to the insurers and lawyers. Also that he was making it up as he goes along (don’t get me started on ‘the son’ as described in the report). One wonders WTF was up with his scientific training seeing as how he doesn’t seem to understand anything about documentation and/or science.

    On another note, I am (regretfully) hoping that the parents were desperate. Because they very stupidly agreed with treatments after a phone call ‘diagnosis’, had their kids prodded and poked more than was necessary, and may have caused them considerable trauma (physical and mental) that could have been avoided. I sincerely hope that all, or at least most, have learned to be more critical of their doctors.

  33. Just a quick note on the son. The Maryland Board of Physicians would like to speak to any parents of autistic kids who have interacted with him and seen him diagnose, perform procedures, prescribe medicines, act as an “expert” and so forth. They can be reached at 410-764-4777. You can even call over this weekend. Ask to speak to an investigator about the Geier case. Please spread the word about this to people you know, especially anyone you know who may have had interactions with Mr. Geier.

    I have a post on this up at Harpocrates Speaks.

  34. Annexian

    And that’s what happens to those that decry Big Pharma and Vaccines. The puppet media denounces them and they lose their careers and are jailed.

    I won’t rave about the Reptiles, I don’t need to.

    Just look up “Vaccine Court” on Google.

    You see, these vaccines WILL kill people, they WILL maim people.

    The only justification is that they claim they’ll overall save more people than are killed by their poisons. But, just like various preservatives in food, irradiating food, and even more so, vaccines ARE a “Sentence of Death” (or worse, rather be dead than an Autistic) to some people. Some people, who might be good otherwise, smart, intelligent, etc. will be sentenced to DIE by forced injections of these poisons. Some combination of genetics and environmental factors the thing will be death itself. Some will have escaped it growing to adulthood before they were forced with all these poisons. And they’ll get to watch one child after another killed by these vaccines. If they refuse, they’ll be arrested, then the police will take the children and a doctor will give those children the shot and it will kill them. Isn’t it nice how a society of paper pushers who are slaves to the Globalist Bankers can be far crueler than the worst despots?

    Oh, and BTW, they ARE putting Mercury back in vaccines;
    http://www.infowars.com/florida-legislature-refuses-to-limit-mercury-in-vaccines/

    Am I your enemy because I speak the truth?

    But actually I’m not so much against vaccine as against the modern corporate structure. A corporation, by definition, is built to avoid responsibility except to make $ for investors. Giving giant companies a guaranteed market combined with a liability shield is a recipe for corruption. And corruption is what corporations are notorious for. They’ve drained farms dry in India to pump water to make soft drinks that are then shipped to America which would be more expensive but tax breaks and subsidies make cheaper than making in the USA. They “Give” breast milk formula to women in impoverished countries, along with misinformation that it’s safer, etc. but then when the mother’s breast milk dries up charge full US retail price in countries where $100 a year is rare. Corporations literally starve to death babies for pennies in profit.

    So, if you have a CEO who’s ONLY responsibility is to make money for investors… And that’s the difference between his 20th mansion or 25th yacht or having a quick ride to living outdoors or being jailed, what’ll he do? If he can save PENNIES per thousand doses by dumping an “Equivalent chemical” into the batch that’ll end up poisoning/maiming several children? The government? Look up “Vaccine Court” they shield them FROM liability, and the cost for their insurance is paid for by us. Even if they boasted at an elite club or at Bohemian Grove the sheer PLEASURE they got from DELIBERATELY poisoning children and it was filmed, went all over the net he’d probably not even be prosecuted thanks to all his $ and lawyers.

  35. Andrew

    >Am I your enemy because I speak the truth?

    When do you intend to tell the truth?

    > or worse, rather be dead than an Autistic

    My child has autism – I’d glad he’s alive. You on the other hand should feel free to drop dead.

  36. Like another commenter here I cannot see the logic behind individual state licensing. I don’t live in the US so the whole federated thing is a bit alien to me, but I can understand devolving licensing to states where the requirements might differ (e.g. law). However, medical science works the same everywhere. Isn’t this a case where the federal government should reserve power for itself?

  37. jennifer

    my son is a patient of thiers…What the heck is going on. We are not on Lupron b/c we have crappy perscription plan so we pay out of pocket for something called Cyproterone Acetate which costs us $630 a month. The diagnosed my son in aug 2010 with “precotious puberty”. This is terrifying to me. I was just in his Owings Mills MD office on Thursday june 23,2011 to pick up his meds. Someone please help with any info.

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