The X account of Cyriac Abby Philips — a hepatologist and prominent voice on social media debunking medical misinformation, expressing scepticism on traditional medicine and a host of other issues — was blocked in India on Thursday, after the Himalaya Wellness Company obtained an injunction against his account from the City Civil Court in Bengaluru.
Dr. Philips, better known as ‘The Liver Doctor’ online, did not have a lawyer present, and the injunction was granted ex parte. He has been summoned for the next hearing.
He said that he planned on challenging the injunction in a higher court. Dr. Philips heads the hepatology department of the Aluva-based Rajagiri Hospital in Kerala.
Himalaya accused Dr. Philips of “posting derogatory statements and materials against [its] products” and claimed that its business has as a result “significantly reduced,” according to a summary of the firm’s arguments in the City Civil Court’s September 23 order. The firm also argued that Dr. Philips’ posts were an attempt at promoting products by other pharmaceutical firms.
It is unclear why X put out a message on Dr. Philips’ account saying that his account was restricted ‘globally,’ when it is actually available to users outside India. The firm no longer publishes details of accounts it takes down due to legal requests, and when individual posts on X are restricted in a country, it no longer says that they were taken down, just that they are “not available”. X’s highest-ranking executive in India, Global Government Affairs head Samiran Gupta, left the company earlier this month.
Kanika Mittal, until a few months ago the country head at X for India, has also departed. The company does not have a communications department anymore, and when reached by The Hindu, sent an automatic response saying, “Busy now, please check back later.”