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Case

We’re helping fight medical misinformation

When Dr Aseem Malhotra spread covid vaccine scares, the General Medical Council refused to investigate. Now we’re helping a doctor make sure the regulator does its job.

Update 15/02/24

The GMC has accepted that its decision not to investigate the allegations against Dr Aseem Malhotra was “materially flawed”. It will now reconsider Dr Matthew Kneale’s appeal of the decision not to investigate.

The council have insisted on going back to court to determine how much of Kneale’s costs they will pay, and have agreed to pay £4,000 plus VAT towards Malhotra’s costs, which is highly unusual.

We’ll be scrutinising the GMC’s next steps closely, and will stand by to challenge them if needed.


During the pandemic we depended on doctors telling us how we could protect ourselves and our loved ones. We trusted their advice would be based on the most reliable and up-to-date research.

But when the British cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra went on television, or posted to his hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, he repeatedly claimed the vaccine was ineffective and posed a greater threat than Covid, causing “horrific unprecedented harms including sudden cardiac death” – suggestions refuted by medical experts and branded false by factcheckers.

The General Medical Council is responsible for regulating doctors in the UK and investigating those whose conduct falls short of the required standards. Despite the clear risk to public health of vaccine misinformation, it has so far refused to launch an investigation into Malhotra’s public pronouncements, originally saying that they “don’t consider that the comments or posts made by the doctor call his fitness to practice into question…” and subsequently upholding that decision after a number of doctors challenged it.

Good Law Project is supporting a doctor who is taking the regulator to the High Court over their failure to investigate whether Malhotra has breached standards. The judicial review has been given permission to proceed by the High Court, which held that it raises an “issue of general public importance” as to how the GMC exercises its functions.

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According to the claimant, Dr Matt Kneale, medical professionals “should not be using their professional status to promote harmful misinformation”.

“When doctors repeatedly say things that are incorrect, misleading and put people’s health at risk – for example by encouraging them to refuse a vaccine – the GMC must hold them to account,” Kneale said.

For the Good Law Project Executive Director, Jo Maugham, the regulator’s failure to investigate doctors spreading misinformation forms part of a wider pattern.

“What we have learned from both the pandemic inquiry and the calamitous economic consequences of Brexit,” Maugham explained, “is quite how serious are the consequences of deciding, as Michael Gove did, that we have ‘had enough of experts’.”

The council may prefer to avoid becoming embroiled in a controversy over free speech, he continued, but “its primary obligation is to protect the public – and it’s really hard to see how its stance delivers on that objective.”

Dr Malhotra is far from the only proponent of vaccine misinformation in the UK.  Open Democracy revealed that anti-lockdown MPs, including Tufton Street’s Steve Baker, took large donations from a secretive group called The Recovery Alliance, which has been linked with a fake grassroots organisation that campaigned against the vaccine.

We’re working to stop misinformation from going unchallenged, and to make sure that regulators like the General Medical Council hold dangerous doctors who make unfounded claims accountable.

By helping to fund this case, you’ll be fighting for trust in the medical profession and to make sure public safety is doctors’ first priority. Any support you can give will help us make positive change.

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Good Law Project only exists thanks to donations from people across the UK. We are incredibly grateful to all of our supporters, without whom our work would not be possible.

Every single penny that we receive makes a huge difference to our ability to hold those in power to account and demand a better, fairer future.

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