Just a few years ago, Dr. Mark Geier opened eight autism treatment clinics called ASD Centers across the country but was only allowed to practice at two of them.
In the last ten years, his medical license has been revoked or suspended in California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Missouri, Illinois and Hawaii have filed complaints against Geier based on other states’ actions, but his license remains active in all three states. A disciplinary hearing in Geier’s case is set for Oct. 19 before the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts in Jefferson City.
David Geier- [his son that runs these treatment centers], who has a bachelor’s degree in biology, was charged with practicing medicine without a license. In their case against him, Maryland authorities said he had diagnosed patients, used ultrasound machines and ordered blood tests.
“There is no evidence that the drugs used by Dr. Geier have been helpful for any autistic children,” said Dr. Steven Rothman. “This is not a therapy that should be tried without very careful controls and really convincing preliminary evidence.”
Lupron treatments can cost $6,000 a month, it is given to men with advanced prostate cancer and women with endometriosis, and has been used for the chemical castration of sex offenders. It has a sudden death risk for older patients.
In articles and other writings, Geier associates autism with mercury in childhood vaccines. The theory that vaccines have any link to the developmental disorder has been debunked by mainstream autism experts and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Geier also has written that he prescribes Lupron to reduce testosterone because it ‘binds to mercury’- which is completely made up and used as part of the sales pitch for genetic councilors.
David Geier said Wednesday that “many peer-reviewed scientific studies” have been published that support the theory. All of the research articles cited on the ASD Centers’ website are co-authored by Mark or David Geier[his son].
The Geiers’ research has been discredited by the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Geier’s case illustrates some of the limitations of state medical boards. A complaint in one state does not necessarily launch an investigation by any other state where the doctor is licensed.
It’s easier to discipline a doctor when another state has already gone through the investigative process, said Susan Hofer, spokeswoman for the Illinois department of professional regulation.
State medical boards generally rely on doctors to self-report their discipline from other states when reapplying for their licenses every one to three years. In the meantime, a doctor can move from state to state and continue to treat patients before the discipline process catches up.
The Illinois medical board had been tracking Geier for more than a year, Hofer said, but an automatic discipline action is not triggered until another state revokes a doctor’s license.
In a 2011 ruling to suspend Geier’s license, the Maryland medical board said a 9-year-old Illinois boy received a prescription for Lupron over the phone. The ruling also said Geier injected Lupron in children with normal levels of testosterone, or who were too old for a diagnosis of early puberty.
After multiple appeals, Maryland authorities revoked Geier’s license in August for his “almost total disregard of basic medical and ethical standards.”