The Skeptic reported that a cardiologist and one of the UK’s most influential critics of the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr Aseem Malhotra, has been named the 2023 recipient of the “Rusty Razor” award, the prize given by The Skeptic to the year’s worst promoters of pseudoscience.

Dr Malhotra has made a name for himself over the last decade as a cardiologist who advocates strongly against the broad use of statins. He has described the drugs as a multi-billion dollar “con” by the pharmaceutical industry, saying that his critics have “received millions in research funding from the pharmaceutical industry”. He has described the link between heart disease and saturated fat as a “myth”, drawing criticism from the British Heart Foundation.

In 2017, his book The Pioppi Diet put forward a diet that he claimed could prevent 20 million deaths per year from cardiovascular disease. The book was named by the British Dietetic Association as one of the celebrity diets to most avoid – with the BDA highlighting his apparently Mediterranean diet excluded pasta and bread, but included coconuts.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Malhotra has been a prolific and powerful voice spreading narratives that run contrary to the best available evidence. In 2021, his book The 21-Day Immunity Plan included a diet claimed to improve the immune system and help fight off infections – claims that drew criticism from medical professionals.

In 2022, Dr Malhotra released a paper claiming that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines posed a serious risk to cardiovascular health and that the vaccines were “at best a reckless gamble”. The paper was published in the Journal of Insulin Resistance – where Dr Malhotra sits on the editorial board.

Dr Malhotra and his campaign against the COVID-19 vaccine was subsequently praised in Parliament by Andrew Bridgen MP as part of the reasoning behind his ongoing anti-vaccine crusade. In January of this year, Dr Malhotra used a BBC interview about statins to claim that deaths from coronary artery disease were actually complications from the vaccine, prompting a slew of complaints, and an apology from the broadcaster.

The Skeptic Editor Michael Marshall said: “In our opinion, Dr Malhotra has been an incredibly prolific promoter of pseudoscience throughout the pandemic, including spreading the false notion that vaccines are responsible for thousands of excess deaths.

“Dr Malhotra’s media career has given him a very large platform, from which he spreads misinformation that undermines confidence in a health intervention that has saved the lives of countless people across the world. In doing so, he stokes the flames of conspiracy, paranoia and mistrust of medical consensus.

“For anyone with so large a platform to do this would be concerning enough, but Dr Malhotra shares these pseudoscientific messages as a registered medical professional whose opinions have influenced at least one current member of parliament.

“All of this, we feel, makes Dr Aseem Malhotra a highly deserving winner of the 2023 Rusty Razor award”

The ‘Rusty Razor’ award was announced as part of The Skeptic’s annual Ockham Awards at a ceremony that took place during Saturday’s QED conference on science and skepticism, in Manchester. Also recognised during the event was the Knowledge Fight podcast, who won the 2023 award for Skeptical Activism.

I agree, Malhortra is a deserverd winner. The prize raises, in my view, an important question:


Malhotra’s activities have been compared to the case of Andrew Wakefield who falsely claimed that the MMR vaccine was linked to autism. While Wakefield was ultimately struck off by the GMC in 2010, the regulator has so far rebuffed repeated pleas to investigate Dr Malhotra.

The BMJ recently reported that Dr. Matt Kneale, who had previously complained to the GMC about the conduct of Aseem Malhotra, was told that the GMC would not be investigating Malhotra because his statements were not sufficiently “egregious” to merit action and he had a right to “freedom of speech.” Kneale’s appeal against this decision in 2023 was also turned down.

Kneale has now filed a claim with the High Court, arguing that the GMC should consider not only whether a doctor’s behaviour could harm individual patients but also whether their actions undermined public trust in medicine. He said that this was particularly important when examining statements relating to vaccines, where doctors with a high profile on social media could potentially cause great harm.

9 Responses to UK Cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra receives a well-deserved award

  • In general, the GMC will not take action on a complaint unless it is made by a specific patient who alleges misconduct affecting them.
    “I compalin that I have been harmed by Dr M’s actions in that…”.

    Promotion of bad science is not actionable.
    Caveat emptor m’lud.

    Remedy: Freedom of speech to expose falsehoods., and the standards (?) acceptable to the GMC.
    And to continue with excellent blogs such as this!

    • is that really true?
      I waas once investigated by the GMC because a chiro complained that my publications were wrong.

      • Perhaps, but having investigated no doubt the GMC determined there was no case to answer because the chiro was not a patient.
        The GMC might hold Fitness to Practice proceedings for fraud, but not opinions.

    • @Richard Rawlins
      Same here in the Netherlands. Our Health Inspectorate only acts upon complaints from patients (or their next of kin), i.e. usually when actual harm has occurred.
      Basically anyone is free to offer the most egregiously nonsensical, potentially harmful(*) advice and even treatments with impunity.

      *: E.g. ‘homeoprophylaxis’ in lieu of real vaccination.

  • How ironic, your header line states that ‘if you make a claim in a comment, support it with evidence’ other than his popularity what evidence do you have that Malhotra’s claims are incorrect ? e.g how do you explain excess deaths and died suddenly causes in the UK?

    • excess deaths?
      you seem to be making a claim and should provide the evidence!

    • @Mark Camilleri

      … how do you explain excess deaths …

      Most excess deaths can be linked to COVID-19 itself. For the remainder, the cause it is not fully clear, although it appears to be linked to the current healthcare crisis in the UK. Other possible causes have been identified as well, e.g. the fact that social distancing measures not only led to fewer COVID infections, but also prevented the usual end-of-year influenza peak with associated deaths. This almost inevitably causes more influenza deaths with the lifting of those anti-COVID measures.

      However, the fact that we don’t yet know the exact cause of excess deaths DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU CAN SIMPLY BLAME VACCINES. It’s just the same as with other dumb antivaccine tropes: rising numbers of ASD diagnoses -> VaccinesDidIt. Rising numbers of allergies -> VaccinesDidIt. Rising obesity numbers -> VaccinesDidIt.
      We can just as easily attribute all these things to e.g. ever-increasing smartphone use (and this actually holds water in the case of obesity and perhaps even allergies).

      … and died suddenly causes [cases]…

      Sorry, but this tells us that you’ve been brainwashed by the antivaccine movement’s Big Lie(*). There is no rise in cases of young people dropping dead suddenly – and even if there was such a rise, it is plain stupid to automatically attribute this to vaccines – see above. In fact, COVID-19 infections are a far bigger and more serious cause of cardiovascular damage than COVID vaccines. Here’s a ‘fun’ fact about this last thing:
      – Myocarditis risk from mRNA vaccination for the 18-25 age group: about 1 in 18,000.
      – Risk of death from COVID-19 in the 18-29 age group: 6,965 deaths ÷ 53.5 million people age 18-29 = 1 in 7681.

      So whaddyaknow: even for young people, the risk of dying from COVID-19 was significantly higher than the risk of getting a (usually mild and self-limiting) case of myocarditis from vaccination.
      Please note that I use past tense for the risk of death, as the more recent virus variants are significantly less deadly than the initial Delta variant. But it still goes to show that even young people should get vaccinated if they want to minimize their risk of death as much as possible. Because sooner or later, everyone will contract COVID.

      *: As the abominable video production by the same name purportedly shows people ‘dropping dead’ suddenly – but it turned out that ALL video fragments shown dated from before COVID-19. And oh, the people in those video fragments also didn’t die, but just fainted. And oh, the gory pictures of blood clots obtained from deceased people turned out to show completely normal postmortem clotting.
      And you know what? NOT A SINGLE ANTIVACCINE GROUP DISTANCED ITSELF FROM THIS PROPAGANDA CRAP, even when it became clear that it was 100% lies.
      What this tells us is that antivaccine people are dishonest a**holes who will let their own lies and propaganda prevail over the health and life of others. Yes: antivaccine propaganda kills innocent people by making them shun vaccines, and everyone spreading antivaccine propaganda is in fact guilty of killing people.

    • Surely you are aware that there is a pandemic of a disease that causes heart damage and during the worst part of the pandemic tens of thousands of cancers went undiagnosed. Excess deaths are not a mystery.

  • Excess deaths!
    The health service in the UK has been in utter crisis now since covid. Ambulances don’t arrive, A &E can be third world. Millions with deteriorating health wait ages for appointments. If this is seen as anecdotal evidence then just how many have to die before common sense takes over? Ie no effective health service for millions= higher death rate.
    Before blaming vaccines the health care crisis should be assessed for what it is. Why are there no calls for this?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new blog posts by email.

Recent Comments

Note that comments can be edited for up to five minutes after they are first submitted but you must tick the box: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

The most recent comments from all posts can be seen here.