A prominent promoter of treating autism with Lupron, a chemical castrator, has been charged with practicing medicine without a license by the Maryland State Board of Physicians.
In charges filed this week, the board described how David Geier, who holds only an undergraduate degree in biology, allegedly diagnosed and treated children with autism. His protocols included Lupron, a hormone suppressor used for prostate cancer, precocious puberty and to chemically castrate sex offenders.
The board also hit Geier's father, Dr. Mark Geier, with a long list of charges, including "aiding an unauthorized person in the practice of medicine," "failing to meet the standard of quality care" and "unprofessional conduct." On April 27, the board suspended Mark Geier's medical license.
Both David and Mark Geier "categorically deny the charges," said their attorney, Steve Wise.
The Tribune wrote about the Geiers and their "Lupron protocol" in 2009, concluding their treatment regimen was risky and based on junk science. The Tribune's work was cited in the statement of charges against Dr. Geier.
The pair told the Tribune they hoped to open autism clinics across the U.S. and had started to do so. In a full-page advertisement that ran in an airline magazine in April, the Geiers listed autism treatment clinics in Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky and Washington.
Their regimen for children with autism included high doses of the injectable hormone inhibitor Lupron at a cost of up to $6,000 per month. Their unproven hypothesis was that many of the symptoms of autism stem from high levels of testosterone.
Both father and son are scheduled to appear at a case resolution conference July 6 at the board's office in Baltimore. Neither man is facing criminal charges. But the board can fine both men and can discipline Mark Geier by restricting or revoking his medical license or issuing a reprimand.
Wise said they had filed an appeal on behalf of Dr. Geier aimed at presenting evidence to an administrative law judge. The Geiers' attorneys have called the process unfair.
Some of the Maryland board's evidence against David Geier comes from his own handwritten and typed notes about consultations with various patients and their parents, according to the charges.
In one case Geier, allegedly trying to perform an ultrasound on a 10-year-old boy with autism, "followed Patient A as Patient A walked around the room, attempting to examine his neck and abdomen by tapping him with the ultrasound wand."
When the boy's parent balked, Geier allegedly told his mother that "everything was 'okay' and that the test results were 'normal,'" according to the board's statement of charges.
Another case detailed in the charges involves a detailed treatment plan for an 8-year-old girl with autism, allegedly written by Geier.
The plan, he allegedly wrote, was to start two types of Lupron injections, plus another hormone suppressor, a sleep aid, B12, vitamin D and a drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an extremely rare genetic disorder called primary carnitine deficiency.
The board also noted that in online forums, parents often were confused about whether Geier was a physician and spoke of him as if he were, describing how he allegedly tweaked their children's medications or explained medical information on the phone.
One parent is reported as writing: "I had found out in August that David is not a doctor, but it is already a habit for me to call him Dr. Geier … by the time I 'untrain myself,' he will probably be one! LOL!"
The news comes after David Geier was asked to resign from the Maryland Commission on Autism. He declined.
Geier was appointed by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley in 2009 and was listed on the state website as "Dr. David Geier" until a Tribune reporter called. David Paulson, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said the inaccurate title for Geier was a clerical error.
On the commission website, Geier is still listed as a "diagnostician."
"The decision of the Board of Physicians pretty much confirms our view that David Geier should not be on this board," Paulson said. "Our focus now is to take the next steps."
Next week, both Geiers are scheduled to speak at a conference aimed at alternative treatments for autism called Autism One being held in suburban Chicago. Their talk is titled "Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism: The Role and Treatment of Elevated Male Hormones and Associated Clinical/Behavioral Problems."
Autism One officials did not respond to emails or phone calls.
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