Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How Did She Practice Medicine? It is my hope that the nursey rhyme will be modernized for future generations to tell the story of Dr. Mary Talley Bowden and used to inspire young girls and boys about bravery and standing up to grown-ups who do bad things.
I profiled Bowden back in February and I’m shamelessly angling for a mention in the Hollywood movie I expect will ultimately be made about her battle taking on the government, the medical establishment, and the media. Bowden is the Houston ENT doc who has been publicly maligned for refusing to stop prescribing the drug ivermectin to treat certain covid patients she believes will benefit from the controversial medicine. The FDA and CDC, which during the pandemic have served as arms of the Biden Administration, say ivermectin is a useless drug for the treatment of Covid. Social media bans any favorable mention of the drug unless it’s a reference extolling its veterinary benefits.
Although the developers of ivermectin were awarded a Nobel Prize because it saved millions of lives treating parasitic diseases and the drug is included on WHO’s essential medicines list, it also comes in a veterinary formulation for animals. The FDA and the media orchestrated a campaign to deceive the public that ivermectin was solely used to treat horses.
Bowden made national news last November when she was suspended from Houston Methodist which enjoys a reputation as being the best hospital in Texas and among the best in the country. The suspension was meaningless because Bowden wasn’t using the hospital to perform surgical procedures. Among Houston Methodist’s disparaging tweets was, “Dr. Bowden, who has never admitted a patient at Houston Methodist, is spreading dangerous information which is not based in science.”
In what will make a nice twist in Hollywood’s Mary Bowden biopic, Houston Methodist was recently accused by a think tank of doing needless but lucrative stent surgeries not based in science — at quite an alarming rate.
My primary fascination with Bowden isn’t due only to her defiance and bravery, but also because her public persona as this pugnacious and combative physician is so at odds with who she is. Bowden is painfully shy, so much so that when I first spoke with her, I initially perceived her as being cold and aloof. Bowden loves practicing medicine, and she went into private practice because she wanted to be free of the shackles of insurance companies and apply her Stanford otolaryngology training as she saw fit.
As Shakespeare said, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Bowden falls into the latter camp.
There’s been another significant twist to Bowden’s story that so far has gone unnoticed. Earlier this month a lawsuit was filed in the United States Southern District of Texas on behalf of Bowden and two other defiant but well credentialed physicians – Paul Marik and Robert Apter – who also maintain that ivermectin can be an effective drug to treat covid. Any hack lawyer can file a lawsuit, but the name of the law firm acting on behalf of Bowden, Marik, and Apter has an immediately recognizable name to people familiar with some of the legal heavyweights in American jurisprudence: Boyden Gray & Associates.
Boyden Gray’s long and distinguished career is outlined here but his myriad achievements include serving as counsel to the Vice President during the Reagan administration and then as White House Counsel to President George H.W. Bush, where he was responsible for judicial selection and played a significant role in the enactment of Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, the Energy Policy Act of 1992, and cap-and-trade system for acid rain emissions. Under George W. Bush, Mr. Gray was U.S. Ambassador to the European Union.
I’m too small potatoes to even warrant the courtesy of a response to my request for an interview with Gray or Trent McCotter, the young Boyden Gray attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Bowden, Marik, and Apter, but I understand the gist of what they’re up to and the landmark legal significance if they prevail.
Named in the Gray firm’s lawsuit are FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and his agency, and Xavier Becerra, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and his agency. The FDA is a component of Health and Human Services.
The Gray firm’s suit isn’t intended to prove the effectiveness of ivermectin in treating Covid. Rather, it argues that the FDA in publicly maligning ivermectin was interfering with the right of physicians to practice medicine as they see fit.
From the lawsuit:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) is a gatekeeper with authority to “approve” when a drug can be introduced to the market in the United States and what labeling it can use. The FDA generally cannot ban particular uses of human drugs once they are otherwise approved and admitted to the market, even if such differs from the labeling – commonly referred to as “off-label” use. The FDA also cannot advise whether a patient should take an approved drug for particular purpose.
Those decisions fall within the scope of the doctor-patient relationship. Attempts by the FDA to influence or intervene in the doctor-patient relationship amount to interference with the practice of medicine, the regulation of which is – and always has been – reserved to states.
Here’s the remedy the lawsuit is seeking:
Because the FDA has unlawfully attempted to prohibit the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, or to otherwise interfere with the practice of medicine, this Court should hold unlawful and set aside any FDA actions that direct or opine on whether ivermectin is an appropriate treatment for COVID-19, declare such actions unlawful, and issue permanent injunctive relief enjoining the FDA from further engaging in such actions.
Here’s another twist for Hollywood’s Mary Bowden biopic: One could logically expect that an organization called the American Medical Association would be a party to the Gray law firm’s lawsuit, but despite the trade group’s name, few physicians trust the AMA which is why is why less than 20 percent are members.
It’s not hard to figure out why. With regards to ivermectin, the AMA partnered with the American Pharmacists Association and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and issued a statement opposing “the ordering, prescribing, or dispensing of ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial.”
Pharmacists are a threat to physicians because they want greater authority to recommend and even prescribe drugs, but the AMA was happy to get into bed with them and help further their cause. The AMA, another supposed “nonprofit,” makes oodles of money licensing the codes used to bill insurance companies and they have a cozy relationship with government. I perceive the organization as run by wokesters given the shameful firing of the former editor of the AMA’s medical journal because of a tweet the cancel crowd misconstrued.
I’m assuming Bowden made good on her threat to sue Houston Methodist for defamation because she posted on her LinkedIn page that she’s planning on suing them again. If her case goes to trial, I hope she gets a jury comprised of rocket scientists working at NASA’s spaceflight operations just outside Houston.
It’s a wonder to me how anyone with intelligence wouldn’t be cheering for Bowden to prevail. Given the overhead of starting a new practice and raising three young boys on her own, the easy path of least resistance would have been to immediately back down. Bowden has no financial interest in ivermectin which prior to the pandemic was a low cost and easily obtainable drug. Bowden did her ENT training at Stanford, one of the top medical schools in the country, so her credentials are impeccable.
The brave physicians and scientists who have been on the front lines challenging the government’s pandemic and vaccine policies seem without exception to have trained or teach at the world’s top medical schools. One of them, Robert Malone, did his postdoctoral studies at Harvard and played a critical role in the development of the mRNA technology used to develop Pfizer’s and Moderna’s covid vaccines.
This August 23, 2021 hatchet job on Malone in the Atlantic has been weighing on me since I read it. It quotes Stan Gromkowski, a cellular immunologist who did work on mRNA vaccines in the early 1990s and views Malone as an “underappreciated pioneer” saying that Malone’s warnings about vaccine dangers are “fucking up his chances for a Nobel Prize.” I’m supposed to believe that a scientist willing to forfeit a Nobel Prize because he believes the public is at risk is a bad guy not worth listening to?
On a recent podcast, I was asked what PR advice I’d give Houston Medical. Without knowing the hospital’s legal circumstances, it would be irresponsible to offer my two cents. That said, if I was Houston Methodist, I’d be mindful of the reputational damage actress Amber Heard sustained because of a lawsuit Johnny Depp filed to clear his name. Bowden makes for a considerably more sympathetic character than Depp.
In the meantime, I’ll keep following the legal fireworks and anxiously await Bowden’s deserved Hollywood biopic. Here’s to hoping that I get some cinematic recognition for being one of Bowden’s earliest public cheerleaders and that Brad Pitt gets tapped to play the role.