SGU Productions, the Society for Science-based medicine, and Dr. Novella are being sued for an article that he wrote in May of 2013 on Science-Based Medicine. (Update – SGU Productions has been dropped from the suit, and the SfSBM has prevailed on their summary judgement. Dr. Novella is now the sole defendant.) The SBM piece, which was inspired by an article in the LA Times, gave this summary:
The story revolves around Dr. Edward Tobinick and his practice of perispinal etanercept (Enbrel) for a long and apparently growing list of conditions. Enbrel is an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of severe rheumatoid arthritis. It works by inhibiting tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which is a group of cytokines that are part of the immune system and cause cell death. Enbrel, therefore, can be a powerful anti-inflammatory drug. Tobinick is using Enbrel for many off-label indications, one of which is Alzheimer’s disease (the focus of the LA Times story).
The claims and practice of Dr. Tobinick have many of the red flags of a dubious medical practice, of the sort that we discuss regularly on the SGU and at SBM. Dr. Tobinick wants us to remove the post from SBM, and he is using legal thuggery in an attempt to intimidate us and silence our free speech because he finds its content inconvenient.
Of course, we have no intention of removing the post as we feel it is critical to the public’s interest. This is what we do at SBM – provide an objective analysis of questionable or controversial medical claims so that consumers can make more informed decisions, and to advance the state of science in medicine.
We also feel it is critical not to cave to this type of intimidation. If we do, we might as well close up shop (which I suspect the Tobinicks of the world would find agreeable). Defending against even a frivolous lawsuit can be quite expensive, but we feel it is necessary for us to fight as hard as we can to defend our rights and the work that we do on the SGU and at SBM.
This battle will be costly, so any support you can send our way to help us pay for the necessary and considerable legal fees will be greatly appreciated. You can donate directly to our legal defense fund below. You can also support our efforts by becoming an SGU member, and gain access to our premium content.
SGU Productions, LLC
3000 Whitney Ave.
Hamden, CT 06518-2353
April 1, 2015: Update on the case here