Free speech is at risk from UK libel law, says Danish radiologist

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 22 December 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b5615
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

    A leading Danish radiologist has said that the lives of patients in England are being put at risk because libel laws are preventing doctors and scientists from speaking in public about their clinical experiences.

    Henrik Thomsen, professor of radiology at the University of Copenhagen, is being pursued in the High Court in London by GE Healthcare over allegations that he defamed the company at a conference in Oxford in 2007.

    Professor Thomsen is reported to have described gadodiamide (Omniscan), an injectable contrast agent made by GE Healthcare that is used in magnetic resonance imaging, as a medical “nightmare.” He told colleagues at the conference that the drug caused nephrogenic systemic fibrosis in about 30 patients with kidney problems in Copenhagen University Hospital, where he worked.

    Professor Thomsen’s lawyer, Andrew Stephenson, from the firm Carter-Ruck, said that GE Healthcare claims that Professor Thomsen accused the company of suppressing information about Omniscan, among other things. His comments were reported in an article …

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