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'You Can't Have Free Speech With A Big Asterisk': Colorado Doctor Thomas Levy Disciplined For Pushing Unproven COVID Treatment

DENVER (CBS4)- The Colorado Medical Board has disciplined licensed cardiologist Dr. Thomas Levy for promoting an unproven and controversial treatment for COVID-19. He was also disciplined for publicly cautioning against the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

(credit: CBS)

"That's not authority, that's authoritarianism," Levy told CBS4 as he talked about the recent admonition from the state medical board.

It appears to be the first time Colorado has disciplined a doctor for spreading COVID-19 misinformation, although a dozen other medical boards across the country have previously disciplined doctors for what they considered COVID-19 misinformation.

In a January letter to Levy obtained by CBS4, the board said it was issuing Levy a written admonition because he had "committed unprofessional conduct" by
pushing hydrogen peroxide nebulization. "You failed to meet generally accepted standards for medical practice," wrote the board.

Levy, 71, has held a Colorado medical license since 1991 and this is the first discipline against his license. He currently lives in Florida. He wrote and distributed a book in 2021 promoting hydrogen peroxide nebulization to prevent and treat COVID-19. The technique involves inhaling hydrogen peroxide in a mist form. Hydrogen peroxide is a common disinfectant used to treat cuts and scrapes and is also used as a household cleaner.

(credit: CBS)

"It is literally the perfect remedy," said Levy. "It kills the pathogens and leaves behind the optimal environment for the tissue to heal. When used as directed, it's about the safest intervention there is," said Levy during a Zoom interview.

He admits the treatment has not been scientifically studied or been subjected to a rigorous clinical trial to evaluate its effectiveness. He claims he has heard anecdotal evidence that it works and has received hundreds of emails from people who have successfully tried it, including "20 advanced COVID-19 patients in Colombia" who he said recovered from COVID-19 after the treatment.

"You think this would prevent you from getting COVID?" Levy was asked.

"Absolutely, absolutely," he responded.

But the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has warned, "DO NOT put hydrogen peroxide into your nebulizer and breathe it in. This is dangerous. It is not a way to prevent nor treat COVID-19." The group warned "hydrogen peroxide can be toxic if ingested."

Other medical professionals have issued similar warnings about the technique. Dr. Taison Bell, Director of the University of Virginia Health's medical intensive care unit said, "This is not sound medical advice and I'm surprised someone in the medical profession is recommending it. Hydrogen peroxide is harmful to your body."

Bell went on to say, "It makes no sense to do this and to inhale this into your lungs- not at all. It doesn't work. There's no way to package that and make it true."

Although the Colorado Medical Board warned Levy of potentially more serious discipline if he continued the unprofessional conduct, he told CBS4 he has no intention of stopping.

(credit: CBS)

"I'm going to continue to disseminate information that is scientifically valid. That's not authority, that's authoritarianism," said Levy. "Maybe they believe I was unprofessional for offering information on something I've witnessed as a cardiologist and specialist. I've witnessed it cure people."

The board previously warned in an advisory statement in November 2021, "The spreading of inaccurate medical information concerning COVID-19 that a licensee should reasonably know to be false poses a significant health risk to the public."

A dozen other state medical boards have previously disciplined doctors for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. But some Republican lawmakers have since moved to restrict their state medical boards from imposing discipline on doctors who share COVID-19 misinformation.

Levy, who says he contracted COVID-19 in December, was also admonished for cautioning about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. When asked if he had been vaccinated, he refused to answer.

"Free speech is free speech," said Levy. "You can't have free speech with a big asterisk."

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