Cardiologist Dr. Peter Wilmshurst will be well-known to readers who are engaged with the movement to reform English and Welsh libel laws - Peter was sued nearly three years ago by the medical device manufacturers NMT, over comments made to an American website regarding a clinical trial of an NMT product and its effects on migraine patients.
As the libel reform campaign has made clear, this represents an unacceptable abuse of English libel law to silence critical debate that is being presented on scientific terms - and disputes regarding the scientific merits or otherwise of drugs, therapies and devices ought to be conducted through lab research, academic conferences and peer-reviewed publications, not through expensive and intrusive legal wrangling in the high court.
It's now emerged that NMT is threatening to sue Dr. Wilmshurst for a second time, this time over
Jonathan Heawood, Director of English PEN, said:
It seems odd to be suing someone now for comments they made almost a year ago. It's called the Today Programme because it's topical. Peter Wilmshurst went onto the programme to discuss the original libel action which NMT brought against him. At this rate, the only option for Peter Wilmshurst appears to be total silence on the subject - which would go against his public spirit and his integrity as a scientist
Mark Lewis, solicitor for Dr Wilmshurst said:
There is something wrong with a system where it is cheaper to let someone die than to speak out about what might not make them better