March 28, 2024

They have decried COVID-19 as a hoax, promoted unproven treatments and pushed bogus claims about the vaccine, including that the shots magnetize the human body.

The purveyors of this misinformation are not shadowy figures operating in the dark corners of the internet. They are a small but vocal group of doctors practicing medicine in communities around the country.

Now medical boards are under increasing pressure to act. Organizations that advocate for public health have called on them to take a harder line by disciplining the doctors, including potentially revoking their licenses. The push comes as the pandemic enters a second winter and deaths in the U.S. top 800,000.

At least a dozen regulatory boards in states such as Oregon, Rhode Island, Maine and Texas recently issued sanctions against some doctors, but many of the most prolific promoters of COVID-19 falsehoods still have unblemished medical licenses.

“Just because it is physicians, it is no different than if someone called you claiming to be the IRS trying to steal your money,” said Brian Castrucci, president and chief executive officer of the de Beaumont Foundation. “It’s a scam, and we protect Americans from scams.”

Castrucci’s organization, which advocates for public health, and No License For Disinformation, which fights false medical information, issued a report Wednesday that highlighted some of the cases. The report emerged a week after the Federation of State Medical Boards released a survey that…

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