Barely any of the doctors accused of spreading COVID-19 misinformation were ever disciplined, the Washington Post found
- Nearly 500 doctors had complaints filed against them over spreading COVID-19 misinformation.
- But only 4% received disciplinary action from state medical boards, the Washington Post reports.
Nearly 500 doctors had complaints of spreading COVID-19 misinformation filed against them in the last three years. And state medical boards only disciplined 4% of those doctors, a Washington Post investigation revealed.
From January 2020 to June 2023, the Post identified at least 480 complaints against physicians, related to spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. Several of these complaints related to doctors promoting the use of ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine.
Then-President Donald Trump and several of his allies promoted the two drugs in 2020, but health authorities have demonstrated they are ineffective against COVID-19 and can have dangerous side effects.
Out of the 20 doctors disciplined for spreading COVID-19 misinformation, five of them lost their medical licenses, the Post reported.
Others received fines but continued practicing — for instance, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services fined a doctor just $3,943 after he prescribed two patients ivermectin to treat COVID-19, according to documents the Post obtained. Both patients later died.
Meanwhile, it is becoming even more difficult for some states to discipline doctors. Seven states have passed legislation since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic limiting the ability of medical boards to punish doctors who prescribe either of the drugs, the Post reported.
This includes Florida, where Republican legislators pushed a law that passed in May preventing authorities from punishing doctors who spread COVID-19 misinformation on social media, Axios reported.
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