|Mark Robin Geier|
|Born||1948 (age 67–68)|
|Alma mater||George Washington University|
|Thesis||The effect of prodaryotic genes in eukaryotes (1973)|
|Spouse||Anne E. Geier|
Mark R. Geier (born 1948 in Washington, D.C., U.S.) is a self-employed American physician and controversial professional witness who has testified in more than 90 cases regarding allegations of injury or illness caused by vaccines. Since 2011, Geier's medical license has been suspended or revoked in every state in which he was licensed over concerns about his autism treatments and his misrepresentation of his credentials to the Maryland Board of Health, where he falsely claimed to be a board-certified geneticist and epidemiologist.
Mark and his son, David Geier, are frequently cited by proponents of the now-discredited claim that vaccines cause autism. Geier's credibility as an expert witness has been questioned in 10 court cases. In 2003, a judge ruled that Geier presented himself as an expert witness in "areas for which he has no training, expertise and experience." In other cases in which Geier has testified, judges have labeled his testimony "intellectually dishonest," "not reliable" and "wholly unqualified." Another judge wrote that Geier "may be clever, but he is not credible."
Geier's scientific work has also been criticized; when the Institute of Medicine reviewed vaccine safety in 2004, it dismissed Geier's work as seriously flawed, "uninterpretable", and marred by incorrect use of scientific terms. In 2003, the American Academy of Pediatrics criticized one of Geier's studies, which claimed a link between vaccines and autism, as containing "numerous conceptual and scientific flaws, omissions of fact, inaccuracies, and misstatements." In January 2007, a paper by the Geiers was retracted by the journal Autoimmunity Reviews. New Scientist reported that the supposed institutional review board (IRB) that Geier claimed approved his experiments with autistic children was located at Geier's business address and included Geier, his son and wife, a business partner of Geier's, and a plaintiff's lawyer involved in vaccine litigation, and the Maryland State Board of Physicians referred to it as a "sham IRB" that did not meet the requirements of state or federal law.
Geier while at the Laboratory of General and Comparative Biochemistry, National Institutes of Health in the 1970s and 1980s was a student researcher from 1969–1970, a research geneticist from 1971–1973, a staff fellow from 1973–1974, on the professional staff from 1974–1978, and a guest worker from 1980-1982. He has been examining vaccine safety issues since then. He is a Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics.
He is currently a self-employed geneticist and along with his son David Geier he operates several organizations from his private address in Maryland, including the Institute for Chronic Illness and the Genetic Centers of America. As a professional witness he has testified in more than 90 vaccine cases, in support of the view that there is a clear link between thiomersal and autism.
In 1970, while at the National Institute of Mental Health, Geier co-authored a paper published in Nature reporting the first successful genetic engineering experiment in which bacteriophage Lambda carrying the galactose operon corrected the inability of cells in tissue culture from a patient with galactosemia to metabolise the milk sugar galactose. This work received a great deal of attention, and the research team was profiled in stories in Newsweek and the New York Times as a result.
Geier cowrote the article, "The true story of pertussis vaccination: a sordid legacy?", which won the 2003 Stanley Jackson award for papers published in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences.
Geier has published several speculative articles with his son David Geier, suggesting a relation between mercury exposure during infancy and the onset of neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as a number of epidemiological studies that have come to a similar conclusion.
Geier and his son have published several speculative articles about a possible link between autism spectrum disorders and vaccines that contain thimerosal, generating some controversy. The American Academy of Pediatrics dispute the conclusion of the Geiers' paper claiming a correlation between thimerosal and autism, and criticized it for "numerous conceptual and scientific flaws, omissions of fact, inaccuracies, and misstatements".
The Geiers have been granted access to the Vaccine Safety Datalink records, but the National Immunization Program found that "during the first visit the researchers conducted unapproved analysis on their datasets and on the second visit attempted to carry out unapproved analyses but did not complete this attempt. This analysis, had it been completed, could have increased the risk of a confidentiality breach. Before leaving, the researchers renamed files for removal which were not allowed to be removed. Had it gone undetected, this would have constituted a breach of the rules about confidentiality."
The Geiers have developed a protocol for treating autism that uses the drug Lupron, which acts as chemical castration. Mark Geier has called Lupron "the miracle drug" and the Geiers have marketed the protocol across the U.S. The Geiers filed three U.S. patent applications on the use of Lupron in combination with chelation therapy as a treatment protocol for autism based on the hypothesis that "testosterone mercury" along with low levels of glutathione blocks the conversion of DHEA to DHEA-S and therefore raises androgens which in turn further lower glutathione levels, ultimately providing a connection between autism, mercury exposure, and hyperandrogenicity, specifically precocious puberty.
According to expert pediatric endocrinologists, the Lupron protocol for autism is supported only by junk science. The reaction of mercury and testosterone which the therapy is intended to treat is actually based on a protocol used to create testosterone crystals for use in X-ray crystallography rather than a physiological process that occurs in the human body. Although Abbott Laboratories sells Lupron in the U.S. and cooperated with the Geiers in one of the patent applications, it is no longer pursuing work with them, citing the nonexistence of scientific evidence to justify further research.
When treating an autistic child, the Geiers order several dozen lab tests, costing $12,000: if at least one testosterone-related result is abnormal, the Geiers consider Lupron treatments, using 10 times the daily dose ordinarily used to treat precocious puberty. The therapy costs approximately $5,000 per month. The Geiers recommend starting treatment on children as young as possible, and say that some need treatment through adulthood.
Expert witness testimony
Geier has been qualified as an expert witness in Federal Court and has been accepted as an expert witness in approximately 100 hearings for parents seeking compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for alleged vaccine injuries to their children. In 10 of these cases, "Dr. Geier's opinion testimony has either been excluded or accorded little or no weight based upon a determination that he was testifying beyond his expertise."
Medical licenses revoked
On April 27, 2011, the Maryland State Board of Physicians suspended Mark Geier's medical license as an "emergency action", saying he "endangers autistic children and exploits their parents by administering to the children a treatment protocol that has a known substantial risk of serious harm and which is neither consistent with evidence-based medicine nor generally accepted in the relevant scientific community." The board ruled that Geier misdiagnosed patients, diagnosed patients without sufficient tests, and recommended risky treatments without fully explaining the risks to the parents. They also ruled that he misrepresented his credentials, including during an interview with the board. Geier's lawyer, Joseph A. Schwartz III said the basis of the complaint was a "bona fide dispute over therapy", and hoped for a fair hearing to challenge the board's accusations.
The suspension was reaffirmed in May 2011, and upheld on appeal in March 2012, after a full evidentiary hearing before the Office of Administrative Hearings in Maryland. Geier's licenses to practice medicine in the states of Washington, Virginia  and California  were suspended as well. In June 2012, Geier was charged with violation of the Maryland suspension by continuing to practice medicine without a license. In August 2012, Geier's license was formally revoked by the Maryland State Board of Physicians. On 5 November 2012, the Missouri Medical board and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation revoked Geier’s license, both citing action taken by the Maryland State Board of Physicians. On April 12, 2013, Geier's last medical license in the United States was revoked by the state medical board of Hawaii.
In 2011, his son David Geier was charged by the Maryland State Board of Physicians with practicing as if a licensed physician when he only has a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology, and was fined $10,000 in July 2012.
Lawsuit against Maryland Board of Physicians
On December 21, 2012, a lawsuit was filed against the Maryland State Board of Physicians by Anne Geier. The claim made in the case 371761-V was that a cease and desist order filed by the Maryland State Board of Physicians against Mark Geier, for prescribing medicine to his family after his license was suspended, was posted publicly on the Board's website disclosing their private medical information. On December 16, 2014, Judge Ronald Rubin of the Montgomery County Courts of Maryland granted the "ultimate sanction" in favor of the Geiers, by granting a default to liability. The reasons for this, as stated in the order, were the numerous discovery violations made by the Maryland State Board of Physicians, and the failure to provide the requested documents related to discovery in a timely manner.
Geier, his wife Anne, and their son David are all avid tennis players, and Geier and his wife were the only doubles team to achieve a grand slam in the history of the United States Tennis Association's Mid-Atlantic Section division.
Notes and references
- "2007 Mid-Atlantic Section Tennis Hall of Fame Inductees". USTA. 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- Harris G, O'Connor A (2005-06-25). "On autism's cause, it's parents vs. research". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- Deer B (2007). "Autism research: What makes an expert?". BMJ 334 (7595): 666–7. doi:10.1136/bmj.39146.498785.BE. PMC 1839225. PMID 17395945.
- Order for Summary Suspension of License to Practice Medicine (PDF), Maryland State Board of Physicians, retrieved 4 May 2011
- "Critics balk at doctor-son team's claims of autism solution". Arizona Daily Star (McClatchy Newspapers). May 21, 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- American Academy of Pediatrics (2003-05-16). "Study fails to show a connection between thimerosal and autism.". Archived from the original on 2003-06-04. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- Giles, Jim (June 21, 2007). "US vaccines on trial over link to autism". New Scientist. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- "e-Customer". www.acmg.net. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- Merril CR, Geier MR, Petricciani JC (1971). "Bacterial virus gene expression in human cells". Nature 233 (5319): 398–400. doi:10.1038/233398a0. PMID 4940436.
- Donovan, John; Katie Hinman; Leigh Simons (June 26, 2007). "Researchers Raise Eyebrows With Autism Findings". ABC News. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
- Geier D, Geier M (2002). "The true story of pertussis vaccination: a sordid legacy?". J Hist Med Allied Sci 57 (3): 249–84. doi:10.1093/jhmas/57.3.249. PMID 12211972.
- "Jackson Prize". Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- Geier M, Geier D (2005). "The potential importance of steroids in the treatment of autistic spectrum disorders and other disorders involving mercury toxicity.". Med Hypotheses 64 (5): 946–54. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2004.11.018. PMID 15780490.
- Geier MR, Geier DA (June 2003). "Neurodevelopmental disorders after thimerosal-containing vaccines: a brief communication". Exp. Biol. Med. (Maywood) 228 (6): 660–4. PMID 12773696.
- Geier DA, Geier MR (June 2006). "An assessment of downward trends in neurodevelopmental disorders in the United States following removal of Thimerosal from childhood vaccines". Med. Sci. Monit. 12 (6): CR231–9. PMID 16733480.
- Young HA, Geier DA, Geier MR (August 2008). "Thimerosal exposure in infants and neurodevelopmental disorders: an assessment of computerized medical records in the Vaccine Safety Datalink". J. Neurol. Sci. 271 (1-2): 110–8. doi:10.1016/j.jns.2008.04.002. PMID 18482737.
- Allen A (2007-05-28). "Thiomersal on trial: the theory that vaccines cause autism goes to court". Slate. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
- Warning letter re: Dr. Mark Geier. Casewatch.org. Retrieved on 2007-11-10.
- Tsouderos T (2009-05-24). "'Miracle drug' called junk science". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- "Methods of treating autism and autism spectrum disorders" US Patent application 20070254314, November 1, 2007
- "Methods for screening, studying and treating disorders with a component of mercurial toxicity" US Patent application20060058271, March 16, 2006
- "Methods of treating disorders having a component of mercury toxicity " US Patent application 20060058241, March 16, 2006
- Offit, Paul A. (2008). Autism's False Prophets. New York: =Columbia University Press. p. 41
- Mills S, Jones T (2009-05-21). "Physician team's crusade shows cracks". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
- United States District Court, Western District of Washington at Seattle in James E. Franics, Plaintiff, v. Maersk Lines, Limited, et al., Defendants (Case No. C03-2898C)
- "John and Jane Doe v. Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Inc", US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, July 6, 2006
- "Dr. Mark Geier Severely Criticized", Stephen Barrett, M.D., Casewatch.org
- court order
- Mills, Steve; Callahan, Patricia (2011). "Trib Update: Md. suspends autism doctor's license - chicagotribune.com". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
bona fide dispute over therapy
- Tsouderos, Trine; Cohn, Meredith (2011). "Trib Maryland medical board upholds autism doctor's suspension - chicagotribune.com". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
upheld the suspension on appeal
- Ho, Vanessa (2011). "Seattlepi Controverisal autism doctor suspended in Washington - seattlepi.com". seattlepi.com. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
subsequently suspended as well
- "Violation of Summary Suspension Order and Charges Under the Maryland Medical Practices Act" (PDF). Maryland State Board of Physicians. June 15, 2012.
- Medical license revoked by Maryland State Board of Physicians
- Shelton, Deborah (5 November 2012). "Autism doctor loses license in Illinois, Missouri". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
- Charges Under the Maryland Medical Practices Act, Maryland State Board of Physicians, p. 2, point #1 of chapter "Allegations of Fact"
- Court Order