The California Legislature is poised to pass Assembly Bill 2098, described as a “medical misinformation bill.” If passed, the new law would prohibit doctors from freely providing medical advice and treating their patients if those practices run counter to the official state sanctioned position.
In April 2020, the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs, the California State Board of Pharmacy, and the Medical Board of California issued a statement (pdf) regarding the “improper prescribing of medications related to treatment of Novel Coronavirus,” such as hydroxychloroquine, warning that “inappropriately prescribing or dispensing medications constitutes unprofessional conduct in California.”
On June 29, 2021, the Federation of State Medical Boards issued a warning, stating that “Physicians who generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action by state medical boards, including the suspension or revocation of their medical license.”
In August 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci said there was no evidence that ivermectin works, and that it’s more likely to cause harm. In December 2021, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning headlined, “Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19.” In an updated April 29, 2022, report, the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel said it “recommends against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19, except in clinical trials.”
Should AB 2098 become law, doctors who prescribe medications not approved by the state or who claim unsanctioned drugs are effective would see their licenses revoked and face strict penalties and disciplinary actions by the Medical Board of California.
In short, AB 2098 would designate the dissemination of information not approved by the state related to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes “COVID-19,” as misinformation or disinformation, which constitutes unprofessional conduct.
One physician, Dr. Syed Haider, has already been reported to four state medical boards by pharmacists he says “don’t like filling ivermectin prescriptions.” He has also been forced to retain a lawyer to protect his medical license.
Since December 2020—after realizing that the United States had offshored almost all prescription drug manufacturing to unfriendly nations like China—Haider has focused on the prevention and treatment of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus through his online initiative mygotodoc.com, by providing easy online access to off-label prescriptions such as ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, budesonide, and protocols for COVID, long COVID, and vaccine injuries.
“There was such a huge demand for it, it just took over my life,” Haider, who used to be “a hospital doctor,” told The Epoch Times. “Then, the pandemic hit.”
In early February 2020, Haider contracted the CCP virus at a hospital that he was working in. His work as a temporary traveling physician across many different medical practices and hospitals was coming to an end and he thought that, with the pandemic outbreak, there would be plenty of work. However, although he had applied for a position at a hospital in New York, Haider had begun to hear about online prescribing, and he started to work through an unnamed online telemedicine provider in the United States.
“Once I heard about ivermectin and off-label prescribing, people would show up on the online website looking for help with COVID and I would try to tell them about off-label medications,” Haider recalled. “And they would just give me a blank stare. Aside from hydroxychloroquine, they had never heard about drugs like ivermectin. They thought I was crazy. I think the thought was, ‘If this stuff works, why haven’t I heard about it on CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC?”
According to Haider, what really changed things for him was when he saw the Dec. 8, 2020, testimony of Dr. Pierre Kory (pdf) before Sen. Ron Johnson and the Homeland Security Committee Meeting regarding early treatment of COVID-19, “not only as an individual physician,” but also on behalf of his non-profit organization, the Front-Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance.
“Although we, like many, are extremely encouraged by the apparent successes in developing effective vaccines,” Kory said, “we also are dismayed at the near complete absence of guidance and research on effective early, at-home, or preventative treatment options apart from vaccines—a reality we find unconscionable.”
It was “with great pride as well as significant optimism” that Kory reported that his group, “led by Professor Paul E. Marik,” had “developed a highly effective protocol for preventing and early treatment of COVID-19,” and that “emerging publications” had provided “conclusive data on the profound efficacy of the anti-parasite, anti-viral drug, anti-inflammatory agent called ivermectin in all stages of the disease.”
“It was real clear in his face and in his demeanor that he was really upset and very sincere and it went viral on the internet,” Haider recalled. “Then, people started hearing from family and friends that they had used ivermectin and it made a difference for them, and people went online to find doctors who would prescribe it. At that point, things got very busy and I had to basically start my own website and prescribing it online to patients. Over the next year and a half, things really ramped up. More and more people had begun hearing about ivermectin, so more and more people were looking for it.”
According to the website, “mygotodoc makes it easy to safeguard you and your family, serving three important needs the wider medical community tends to ignore: (1) emergency antibiotics to have on hand in case disaster strikes and prescription drugs are unavailable, (2) 1-month backup supplies of your regular medication, and (3) safe off-label COVID protocols designed for prevention and treatment.”
“Myself and other doctors from all over the world have had incredible results with off-label protocols including ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, budesonide, and a number of other protocols,” Haider explained. “What you hear over and over again is about the successful treatment of 5,000, 7,000, or 10,000 patients and maybe one death. They are shocking numbers compared to what you’re hearing with conventional treatments the CDC or FDA are recommending and what hospitals and other doctors are doing that are not using off-label protocols.”
Personally, Haider has treated over 50,000 COVID-related patients, many of them elderly. He said that among his patients, there have been zero deaths and only five hospitalizations. Despite his success, under California’s proposed Bill AB 2098, doctor’s using similar methods would have the state interfere and persecute them for providing independent care.
“Like a lot of other doctors around the world, I’ve just been trying to raise awareness of this,” Haider explained. “But, like a lot of doctors in America, I’ve gotten letters from the American Medical Association, the Federal State Medical Board warning me that my license is at risk if I speak out about vaccines or if I spread misinformation or if I prescribe ivermectin. I’ve had pushback from pharmacists, insurance companies, from medical boards in multiple states, that have sent me complaints and asked me to explain why I am conducting experimental trials on patients and why I am prescribing ivermectin.”
Prior to all of this, Haider had worked for over 10 years as a trained hospital physician in internal medicine and had “never had a single complaint from anyone on anything.”
“So, it was a very strange experience over the past couple of years to see what has happened to medical providers, including pharmacists,” Haider explained. “Pharmacists were pushing back at us because they were getting letters from their pharmacist boards warning them not to dispense it. ”
According to Haider, dissenting voices have been muzzled and censored from the very onset of the pandemic and they are now being threatened with the loss of their medical licenses. Because of this, Haider has had to retain an attorney.
“It’s very stressful to have to reply to a medical board,” he explained, adding that it’s a “very opaque process.”
“You don’t know who is going to see it or review it. You don’t know whether or not they’re friendly to what you are doing or if they disagree with what you are doing, and it’s not like a court of law where you can bring in witnesses in your defense. They just make a decision and sometimes they don’t even explain to you the reason behind it.”
Worse than that, Haider said his experience felt like they were trying to get doctors like himself to “get tripped up and to say the wrong things” and to incriminate themselves.
“One of the medical boards accused me of conducting medical experimental trials,” he said. “It’s not like they don’t know I’m prescribing off-label. We do off-label prescribing all the time in medicine. About 40 percent of prescribing is off-label and it doesn’t fall under the classification of ‘experiment.’ It’s not an unauthorized experimental medical trial. But they use that wording to try to get me to defend myself against that attack. If I had foolishly replied to them and tried to defend myself against their terminology, I would have incriminated myself because I can’t run an experiment without having a review board, authorization, and specific consent forms for experimental drug trials.”
Haider reflected on how during the current shift to vilify ivermectin that “everyone seems to forget that, during the past six months, they had the same problems with prescribing hydroxychloroquine.”
“I can send a hydroxychloroquine prescription to any pharmacist and they’ll fill it without question,” he said. “But now, they won’t fill ivermectin. It almost seems political rather than medical. It’s not scientific. There’s something else going on and it’s very strange. We can now prescribe things through pharmacies they used to vilify. But because our entire medical establishment has now decided that ivermectin must be killed, pharmacists now have a problem with ivermectin.”
According to Haider, the purpose of what he described as the “medical misinformation bill” in front of the California Legislature is to prevent doctors from saying things that the state deems to be disinformation. “That,” he said, “begs the question of who decides what is the truth?”
“In any scientific field or endeavor, there is no absolute truth,” he explained, asserting that “Dr. Fauci is not science, like he claims to be.”
“He does not have the last word on what scientific truth is. We’re always getting closer to the truth, but we have never arrived at a final truth in medicine. So, there always has to be room for debate. Doctors have to be able to take multiple different sides of an argument. So physicians have to be able to hash things out among themselves and to prescribe off-label. You can’t single out one disease and say, ‘This is off limits for the way we’ve conducted medicine for the past 100 years.’ Patients should be able to consult with their physician, discuss treatments and risks, and make decisions without the interference of the government.
“In nearly every hospital and clinic in the United States right now, it’s considered to be some form of misinformation or disinformation to say anything other than the vaccines are safe and effective,” Haider noted. “To say there are any risks associated with the vaccines is claimed to be misinformation or disinformation, and the working definition of misinformation or disinformation seems to be anything that would prevent someone from submitting to or doubting the FDA and CDC guidelines and recommendations.”
This bill would affect any doctor licensed in California, including Haider.
If AB 2098 becomes law, any doctor who prescribes ivermectin—even at the request of their patient—can lose their license to practice medicine in California.
“Once you lose your license in one state and you have licenses to practice in other states, you have to report that you lost your license in California to every other state you are licensed in, and then every medical board will start asking questions like, ‘Why did you lose your license in California.’ Once the snowball starts rolling, depending on what the medical board thinks about the reasoning behind the loss of your license in California, you can lose all of your licenses.”
In the wake of the pandemic, Haider noted how the country has been further compromised by unprecedented delays in supply lines. We no longer have domestic manufacturing of almost any medications, including and especially antibiotics. In fact, China has captured over 97 percent of the U.S. market for antibiotics. In the setting of runaway inflation, food shortages, and soaring gas prices, it’s easy to imagine an America where pharmacy shelves are bare, or with limited stock and huge price increases.
If AB 2098 becomes law, the precedent that would be set is California gets to become the proving grounds for new legislation, not just in medicine, but in everything, Haider said.
“Once you make this inroad in violation of physician autonomy on how to treat COVID for their patients, that could just be the beginning,” Haider warned. “What about after that? Do you go after a doctor’s ability to prescribe off-label for anything? Do we have to be restricted to what has been FDA approved for any indication? What happens when we don’t have an on-label drug for the treatment of an indication? What then? How do we treat our patients then?”
The Epoch Times has reached out to California Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Cupertino), sponsor of the Assembly version of the bill, as well as the Medical Board of California.