NMT Medical, the US company which pursued cardiologist Peter Wilmshurst in the London libel courts for almost four years, has announced that it is ceasing operations and selling off its assets.
In a statement released today, the company announced that “despite the company’s efforts to obtain additional financing and identify potential strategic transactions, it has failed to raise additional funds or enter into such strategic transaction and, therefore, it has entered into an Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors, effective immediately, in accordance with Massachusetts law”.
Dr Wilmshurst has been fighting since 2007 to defend his comments about a clinical trial of a heart device manufactured by NMT Medical. Losing the case could have meant he lost his house.
This news 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.
Wilmshurt told Index on Censorship: “It is good news that it seems that my libel case may now be over. However it has cost me all my free time for the last three and a half years. It has also cost hundreds of thousands of my own money and about £200,000 on the conditional fee agreement with my lawyers, Mark Lewis and Alastair Wilson QC. Now that NMT have gone into liquidation, we are uncertain how much of the money we will get back. There will be no compensation for the enormous amount of time my family and I have wasted in fighting the case.”
Solicitor Mark Lewis commented: “It looks like the nightmare is nearly over. After 4 years NMT looks to have gone out of business. Poor Dr Wilmshurst. The continual deployment of the libel laws to stop scientific discussion seems to be over. Peter Wilmshurst and his family enter the normal world blinking from the bright light of a case that is over.”