Some Notes on the Coalition for
Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD)

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

The Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD) is a 501(C)(3) not-for-profit group "dedicated to reducing the mercury-exposure risks, for the unborn, infants, children, adolescents and adults, from all mercury-containing medical products to which they are, or may be, exposed." [1] It is part of a network of individuals and groups that oppose mandatory vaccination and/or all use of amalgam in dental fillings.

CoMeD was founded in 2004 by Mark R. Geier, M.D., Ph.D. and his son David A. Geier. Tax returns for the years 2007 to 2009 indicate that its income from contributions totaled about $42,000, including $10,000 in 2008 from Jonathan (J.B.) Handley, $5,000 in 2009 from Handley and his wife, $10,000 in 2008 from the Julian Charitable Foundation, and $5,000 in 2008 from Gary Kompothecras [2]. J.B. Handley heads an antivaccination group called Generation Rescue. Kompothecras is a wealthy, politically influential chiropractor who, according to press reports, believes that mercury-containing vaccines caused two of his children to become autistic [3].

CoMed's Officers

Until recently, Mark Geier served as CoMed's president. The CoMeD Web site now identifies him as its treasurer. The current president is Rev. Lisa K. Sykes. David Geier is vice president, and Paul G. King is secretary.

Mark and David Geier have been operating ASD Centers LLC, a chain of clinics that advertises "a new combined genetic, biochemical, heavy metal, and hormonal evaluation/treatment for patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Mark had his medical license summarily suspended in April and is facing charges of unprofessional conduct [4]. David is facing charges of practicing medicine without a license [5].

Many people have filed lawsuits alleging that thimerosal—a vaccine preservative that contains trivial amounts of mercury—has caused their children to become autistic. Dr. Geier has submitted expert testimony in about such 100 cases, but his ability to do this may be coming to an end. In 2006, a federal court judge excluded Geier's testimony and concluded:

CoMed's Petition and Lawsuit

CoMeD's principal activity appears to be a drive to force the FDA to rid the marketplace of all vaccines that contain thimerosal, a preservative that contains trace amounts of mercury. In 2006, the FDA denied a CoMeD citizen petition after concluding that its contentions were legally and scientifically unsupportable by either law or science and that the currently marketed drug products that contain mercury preservatives are safe [7]. After reconsideration was denied, CoMeD sued, claiming that claimed that (a) the FDA's denial had injured its members by denying them the opportunity to be safely vaccinated, and (b) CoMeD members who received thimerosal-containing vaccines suffered harms that included autism, miscarriages, and other injuries. In 2010, the suit was dismissed after a U.S. District Court judge concluded that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue [7,8]. CoMeD is appealing the dismissal, but there is no reason to think that its suit is winnable.

References

  1. CoMeD home page, accessed May 20, 2011.
  2. CoMeD 990 tax returns [2007] [2008] [2009]
  3. Colavecchio S. Major GOP political donor Gary Kompothecras backs bill to alter Florida's vaccine rules. St. Petersburg Times, April 22, 2009.
  4. Charges under the Maryland Medical Practice Act. In the matter of Mark R. Geier, M.D., Maryland State Board of Physicians, May 16, 2011.
  5. Charges under the Maryland Medical Practice Act. In the matter of David A. Geier. Maryland State Board of Physicians, May 16, 2011.
  6. Beatty. Memorandum opinion. John and Jane Doe 2 v. Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics. U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, Civil case No. 03-00669, filed July 6, 2006.
  7. Shuren J. Letter to Paul G. King, Ph.D. and others. Sept 26, 2006.
  8. Walton RB. Amended memorandum opinion. Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs et. al, v. Kathleen Sebelius et al. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Action No. 009-0015, filed July 1, 2010.
  9. Walton RB. Order. Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs et. al, v. Kathleen Sebalius et al. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Action No. 009-0015, filed Dec 20, 2010.

This article was revised on May 26, 2011.