The head of a national medical organization who publicly called for doctors to lose their licenses unless they supported government narratives on COVID-19 treatments and vaccines concealed his relationship with a public relations firm whose client list also included Pfizer, Moderna and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Richard Baron, president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is a client of Weber Shandwick, investigative journalist Paul D. Thacker reported on Wednesday.

In late 2021, Baron publicly pushed for doctors who spread “misinformation” about COVID-19 and the vaccines to lose their license and certification – https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/vaccine-misinformation-medical-license-u-s-boards-warn-physicians/. Baron said then that “putting out flagrant misinformation is unethical and dangerous during a pandemic.” https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n2417

Weber, the world’s second-largest PR firm – https://www.provokemedia.com/events-awards/agencies-of-the-year/2022-agencies-of-the-year/global-pr-agencies-of-the-year-2022/global-pr-agencies-of-the-year-2022, has branded its team as “misinformation and disinformation” experts – https://disinformationchronicle.substack.com/p/pr-firm-repping-vaccine-manufacturers – and says it provides clients with services to help manage any perceived threats posed by spreaders of such information.

The firm has organized conference panels on “medical misinformation” in which Baron participated.

Last year, Baron partnered with Weber Shandwick to propose a South by Southwest (SXSW) panel titled “When Doctors Prescribe Misinformation.” https://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/128673 The proposal was subsequently accepted and the panel took place at SXSW https://schedule.sxsw.com/2023/events/PP128673 in Austin, Texas, on March 13.

According to Thacker, “Weber Shandwick’s panel featuring Dr. Baron has been widely promoted by the PR firm’s employees,” including Sarah Mahoney, executive vice president, Healthcare Communications, Strategy & Planning for Weber Shandwick, who in a LinkedIn post https://www.linkedin.com/posts/sarahmmahoney_when-doctors-prescribe-misinformation-activity-6965741396200669184—8y, wrote she “can’t think of a more important topic right now.”

The CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) in September 2020 awarded Weber a $50 million contract – https://www.mmm-online.com/home/channel/campaigns/weber-shandwick-wins-potential-50m-cdc-flu-vaccine-comms-account/ -“to promote the vaccination of children, pregnant women and those at risk for flu and increase the general acceptance and use of vaccines,” according to the PR firm’s website.

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