Dr. Margo Roman, a longtime veterinarian who runs Main Street Animal Services (MASH) of Hopkinton, had her veterinary license suspended following her latest battle with the Massachusetts Veterinary Board.
Roman, who already was on a lengthy probation, came under fire most recently for emails she sent to veterinary clients in March and April of 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the emails, Roman strongly promoted the use of ozone therapy to fight COVID-19 and included a link to a website where clients could purchase an ozone generator and/or other ozone products. The board punished Roman for advising clients on human medical treatment, which is outside the scope of her veterinary practice.
Roman protested the suspension, but after a multiyear process, her objections recently were denied.
The Independent reached out to Roman via email seeking a comment, but she did not immediately reply.
According to the board’s report, Roman argued that she is a certified ozone therapist (COT), and if her statements were within the scope of that certification, it is not a violation.
The ruling states the board has jurisdiction over Roman by virtue of her veterinary license. And in addition to the ozone advice, she gave dietary and homeopathy advice that would not fall under the umbrella of her COT certificate. Additionally, the issuing entity for the COT appears to be a non-government, private entity.
The prosecuting counsel noted that Roman did not identify herself as having a COT in the emails, adding: “She provided this medical advice to people who were employing her to provide veterinary services, and she sent this from veterinary platforms, email. She was holding herself out as a veterinarian, as able [sic] to provide veterinary services to these people, and in that email, she provides medical advice.”
Roman claimed the board was “using its power and the prospect of penalties in order to stifle free speech and chill innovation,” focusing her objection on her belief that she is being punished for her views on ozone therapy.
According to the Veterinary Board, multiple times in 2020 and 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned marketers that claims that ozone therapy can treat and prevent coronavirus violated the Federal Trade Commission Act because they are not supported by scientific evidence. Federal authorities at the time defined ozone as “a toxic gas with no known useful medical application in specific, adjunctive or preventative therapy. For ozone to be effective as a germicide, it must be present in a concentration far greater than that which can be safely tolerated by man and animals.”
Roman, however, has long been a vocal proponent of ozone therapy, and she argued that she had an ethical responsibility to share the information with her clients. She compared her situation to Copernicus and Galileo, who were punished by the Roman Catholic Inquisition in the 17th century for their advanced theories about astronomy.
Stated Roman: “Perhaps the board and the prosecutor, operating from their ignorance, would have conspired to prosecute Copernicus and Galileo today because, at the time of their statements, those two scientific icons had in fact advanced scientific knowledge, but nevertheless, their scientific knowledge had not yet been commonly understood and recognized — that the sun was at the center of the solar system around which the Earth and other planets revolved.”
Responded the board: “It is irrelevant if the respondent’s assertions in the March 16 email about ozone, diet and homeopathic remedies are, in fact, true. The respondent is not a medical doctor. She is a veterinarian. She disseminated human medical information and recommendations to her veterinary clients. Therein lies the violation, whether the respondent accurately likens herself to Galileo and Copernicus or not.”
Roman previously was placed on monitored probation for multiple violations related to record-keeping and standards of practice. She signed a disciplinary agreement in April 2018, agreeing to complete additional continuing education and pay a civil administrative penalty. The probation was extended when she allegedly failed to adhere to the agreement she signed, as related to monitoring provisions.