Last week's announcement that NMT Medical was liquidating its assets means the probable end of a controversial libel case against UK cardiologist Peter Wilmshurst, who was being sued by the company over comments he had made about the clinical trial results of one of the devicemaker's products. The case had been going on for roughly four years and has led to a campaign to change UK libel laws, as the Guardian notes.
Wilmshurst's comments were in regard to a trial that he designed called MIST. It was conducted to determine whether closing small holes in the heart with one of the company's medical devices--called Starflex--could stop migraines. However, the trial did not succeed, and Wilmshurst suggested the fault could lie with the medical device itself. NMT subsequently sued, according to the Guardian.
Word of NMT's closure comes just weeks after Wilmshurst discovered he was facing a fourth libel suit over an interview he gave to BBC Radio 4 Today Programme piece on the chilling effects of England's libel laws on medical science, according to an Index on Censorship post.
"I believe that the issues could have been resolved through proper scientific debate, but NMT was determined to use the draconian English libel laws to prevent scientific debate," Wilmshurst says, as quoted by Bearsden Herald. "NMT must have spent an enormous amount of money on the case and, in the light of the company's present financial problems, I am sure that they might have used the money better. Wilmshurst did express sympathy for those who lost their jobs.