Pharma Watch censored

Black Triangle points out that an Australian medblog, Pharma Watch, has shut down under pressure from a drug company. The exact nature of the pressure is unstated, but it was enough for Dr. Michael Lascelles to take down his blog, and archives. I’m sure he has his reasons for the action he took, and I wish him the best in the future, and hope he’ll rejoin us blogging.

I haven’t been following Pharma Watch, and it’s my loss. I found a Google cached page of Pharma Watch, and his writing style is terrific, and spot-on from what I read. (By the way, Google caching makes sure most of our warts are forever preserved, blogger beware). I could not access the archives from the cached page, so he’s done more than just take down the links.

Since Anthony at Black Triangle pointed this out, I’ve been wondering two things: how different is Aussie from American law as it pertains to speech, and, what would I do if faced with a (presumably) similar dilemma? I’ll be honest, I don’t know. It isn’t worth being pauperized by the legal bills this would entail, even if you win you’re broke. Drug companies have lawyers sitting around, deep pockets and a considerable interest in maintaining their income.

On the other hand, I’m a grouch, and some company bullying me would get my obstinate ire percolating. I suppose it just depends on the circumstances.

Best of luck to Pharm Watch, I hope you can recover and return.


  1. How different is Aussie Law from US Law? In the realm of Libel, very different indeed. For example, a professional newspaper restaurant critic was successfully sued by a restauranteur for a review he wrote. The honestly-held opinion was deemed libellous as it damaged the restauranteur’s income.

    In the US, an article has to be either truthful or published with absence of malice if false.

    In Australia, it has to be truthful *and also* a matter of public interest and importance. Truth alone is no defence.

    The only exception (by custom) is anything in the realm of politics. There, pretty much anything goes.

  2. Mr. Brain, thanks for the info!