More trouble for Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski

It’s a new year, but some topics remain the same. One of these is the case of the highly dubious cancer doctor named Stanislaw Burzynski who claims to have discovered anticancer compounds in the blood known as antineoplastons, conducts “clinical trials” for which he charges patients and whose results he are largely unpublished, and of late has started marketing a do-it-yourself “personalized gene-targeted cancer therapy” that–surprise! surprise!–almost always involves antineoplastons. More importantly, contrary to Dr. Burzynski’s claim that he doesn’t use chemotherapy and that his therapy is nontoxic, he does, and it isn’t. Perhaps Burzynski’s cleverest stroke of all is to rebrand his antineoplastons as an orphan drug (or is it the other way around?), using it off-label to treat cancer. The Texas Medical Board tried to stop Dr. Burzynski and strip him of his license back in the 1990s but, for reasons that continue to elude me even now, failed. It’s set for another go at Burzynski, and I sincerely hope it succeeds this time. However, even before the Texas Medical Board will be able to convene hearings, I’ve learned through the almighty power of Google Alerts that there’s more trouble coming Burzynski’s way.

This time, it’s in the form of a lawsuit by one of his patients, which is described in an article entitled Cancer Patient Says Doc Used Her as ATM:

HOUSTON (CN) – An elderly cancer patient claims a doctor used his clinics and pharmacy to bilk her of nearly $100,000 by persuading her to undergo a proprietary cancer treatment that “was actually a clinical trial,” and charging her $500 per pill for drugs she could buy elsewhere for a fraction of that price.

Lola Quinlan sued Houston-based Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and his companies, The Burzynski Clinic, the Burzynski Research Institute and Southern Family Pharmacy, in Harris County Court.

“Ms. Quinlan is an elderly, stage IV cancer patient living in Florida who defendants swindled out of nearly $100,000.00 by using false and misleading tactics,” the complaint states. “Defendants convinced Ms. Quinlan to under a proprietary cancer ‘treatment’ in Houston, Texas in lieu of traditional chemotherapy and radiation. Specifically, defendants failed to disclose information about the drugs used during the proprietary cancer ‘treatment’ with the intent to induce Ms. Quinlan into purchasing the drugs at a highly overinflated price.”

The actual legal complaint can be found here, and the details sound depressingly familiar to me (and should to anyone who’s followed the Burzynski saga). It turns out that Quinlan is suing Burzynski for negligent misrepresentation, fraud, conspiracy, and violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Here are the allegations contained in the lawsuit:

  1. Dr. Burzynski convinced Ms. Quinlan to undergo a proprietary cancer treatment in lieu of chemotherapy and radiation and that the defendants failed to disclose information about the drugs used in this treatment with the intent to induce Ms. Quinlan into purchasing the drugs at a highly inflated price.
  2. The defendants provided false and misleading information about “gene therapy” that, according to them, lacked the side effects associated with traditional cancer treatments. These treatments were “wholly ineffective and caused even more damage to Ms. Quinlan’s body.” In fact, Quinlan asserts that the treatments gave her a host of side effects that included “weakness, infections, vomiting, fatigue, mouth sores, dizziness, affected taste buds, joint pain and skin sores.”
  3. Dr. Burzynski pitched his antineoplastons to Ms. Quinlan but never disclosed that the treatment was part of a clinical trial. To add the proverbial insult to injury, he never told her that medical insurance wouldn’t pay for the therapy.
  4. Dr. Burzynski’s clinic coerced Ms. Quinlan into purchasing her prescription from Southern Family Pharmacy at “outrageous prices.” She was not allowed to fill the prescriptions anywhere else. It turns out that Southern Family Pharmacy is owned by Stanislaw Burzynski, a fact that was not disclosed to Ms. Quinlan. The price for some medications was $500 per pill, and the pharmacy charged her credit card without her knowledge. Ms. Quinlan later learned that she could have purchased the same medications elsewhere at a fraction of the price.
  5. All defendants conspired to defraud their customers, with an emphasis on defrauding the elderly and cancer patients.

Ms. Quinlan is demanding treble damages under the law because the defendants “acted knowingly and intentionally.” As well she should, if even half of the allegations in her complaint are true. In fact, one of the things that stands out to me in particular is the claim that Burzynski pitched antineoplastons to her and didn’t tell her that it would be part of a clinical trial. This is such an egregious and unforgivable breach of informed consent that, if the allegation is found to be true, the FDA should swoop in and shut the Burzynski Clinic down. No. Strike that. The FDA should investigate again based on this allegation. I’ve often said that I’d very much like to see a copy of the informed consent form that Burzynski requires patients to sign but never really expected to see one, at least not unless a former patient has second thoughts and is willing to send me a copy. Silly me! The reason I will never see such a document is because Burzynski apparently doesn’t show it to patients. One wonders if the consent forms for Burzynski’s “clinical trials’ exist only for show. It’s hard not to suspect that these forms are something Burzynski produces to placate the FDA and to trot out when his clinic is inspected.

It continues to boggle the mind just how Dr. Burzynski can keep getting away with what he’s been getting away with for the last 30 years. Does anyone think Ms. Quinlan is unique, that she’s the only patient whom Burzynski has “used as his personal ATM.” I don’t. If only a fraction of the allegations about Burzynski are true, he is a menace to cancer patients everywhere. I say “everywhere,” of course, because patients travel from all over the world to Houston in order to seek out Dr. Burzynski’s woo at his clinic. As I’ve pointed out, recently there has been a rash of cancer patients flying to Texas from England to seek out Dr. Burzynski’s services, at tens of thousands of dollars a pop. Some of these patients have successfully used various fundraising techniques, up to and including persuading celebrities to do charity fund raising shows for them that have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds.

In addition, as Andy Lewis has pointed out, Dr. Burzynski has friends in high places, including the media and entertainment industry. This results in articles referring to bloggers criticizing Dr. Burzynski as “aggressive, sanctimonious and having a disregard for the facts,” the conspiracy theory-laden crank documentary about Burzynski (Burzynski The Movie: Cancer Is Serious Business) winning the Humanitarian Vision Award at the Newport Beach Film Festival and the Documentary Channel’s “Best of Doc” award. One thing that Andy Lewis might not know, given that he’s from the UK and all and might not follow American politics, is that Burzynski appears to have allies in high places in government in Washington and various states as well, such as Representative Dan Burton and possibly even Governor Rick Perry, to whose campaign Dr. Burzynski has made sizable contributions, who has been rumored to be a sympathetic to Dr. Burzynski, and whom Burzynski’s supporters have been deluging with letters.

On April 11, 2012, the Texas Medical Board will convene hearings that will examine the charges against Dr. Burzynski, which sound a lot like what the complaints in Ms. Quinlan’s lawsuit. We can only hope that, unlike the last time around, this time around the Texas Medical Board finally protects patients and revokes Dr. Burzynski’s license. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking too it.

Comments

  1. #1 Narad
    February 10, 2012

    And again, if you read my previous posts, I don’t deny the existence of germs, nor do I deny their associative & opportunistic role in some diseases.

    This is merely an attempt to paper over your actual, explicit, germ-theory-denying crazy. I’ve asked before, and I don’t recall a reply: Do microorganisms have any causative role in producing the diseases that “The Church of Modern Medicine” or some other idiotic coinage ascribes to them?

  2. #2 lilady
    February 10, 2012

    Was this another poster with the Emily ‘nym that postulated on “germ theory”.

    “Allopathy has its theories of disease such as germ theory, herd theory & free- radical theory, to name a few. Other modalities have their own theories, such as Homeopathy with its own theories of like curing like, as elaborated by Dr Samuel Hannermann.

    NH postulates that disease is caused by enervation & toxemia. I won’t elaborate these fully here, but it’s important to know that enervation (exhaustion of vitality) leads to toxemia.

    The causes of disease are many & varied, influenced by hereditary & genetic factors:

    Poor nutrition, excesses of any kind such as work, exercise, food, sun, sex etc, deficiencies, too little rest & sleep, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, sedentariness, stress- the list is long.

    By removing as many causes as possible that are within our control, such as nutritional insults (& this goes far beyond the standard “eat a balanced diet” mantra) & requires a deep knowledge of the subtle causes of enervation & toxemia, & then by providing the appropriate biological conditions upon which health depends, something miraculous happens- health improves, naturally.

    NH has never purported to be the answer to all health issues, but in my very considerable experience, it has far more to offer the vast majority of health problems than any other modality, including allopathy.”

    Posted by: Emily | January 25, 2012 9:38 PM

  3. #3 Denice Walter
    February 10, 2012

    @ Comrades:
    I count more than 600 comments here and nearly 800 on the Wakefield thread, isn’t it about time one of us challenged her to a duel? Gentlemen? Ladies? Don’t look at me that way just because I have really nice gloves. Alright, I’ll be a second. I think that the challenged one gets to pick the weapons. Oh good.

  4. #4 Shay
    February 10, 2012

    I’m qual’d on everything from the .38 up to and incuding an M60 light machine gun. I’m game.

    (hmm. Possibly not the best choice of words).

  5. #5 Emily
    February 10, 2012

    re 572 Occamslaser:

    “I would request that you re-read my most recent post and directly address the questions I have asked, in the interests of furthering the line of discussion that you have initiated. Here are the questions again, with some refinements:

    1. For how long have you been adhering to the tenets of Natural Hygiene with regards to your diet?

    Not perfectly, but with continued refinement, I have been eating this way for 30 years.

    2. When you fasted for 28 days on two occasions, what disease were you trying to combat? How long ago were those two fasts?

    Firstly, CFS 22 years ago & secondly, a chronic sinus problem 16 years ago.

    3. What exactly is your stance on the discipline of chiropractic? I am not asking about how some practitioners might employ it, but rather on the principles of the discipline itself.

    Palmer, IMO, was mistaken, when he postulated the nerve impingement/subluxation theory. I do not condemn all chiro work, as I do not condemn all SBM. It’s when they study health from a broader perspective outside their course, like many of them have done ( Goldhamer for eg.), that they elevate their usefulness to the ill & suffering.

    Osteopathy, the modality founded by AT Still circa 1874, is similarly limited IMO. Unlike your sceptic bloggers, I think there is a place in our health-care system for both these, but, like much of SBM, they don’t really address the underlyng causes of disease.

    5. “In the Wakefield thread, I asked, “do you claim that there can be not only influenza without the virus, but that there can be any disease without the germ that is associated (by science-based medicine) with that disease? &
    6. Do you disagree with the widely-believed assertion that the flu is a simple viral illness?”

    I have never subscribed to the germ theory, nor to herd immunity theory.

    Just because these diseases have a characteristic constellation of symptoms in specific bodily areas with the same micro-organisms present, doesn’t prove causation.

    SBM is forever stating associations don’t prove causation.

    There is far more to the simplistic notion that germs cause disease, & I believe that one day in the future, more detailed understandings will unfold.

    There are studies which show that the level of nutrition of the host can directly influence the genetic makeup of the virus, changing its virulence:

    J Am Coll Nutr 2001; 20: ‘Antioxidants & viral infections: host immune response & viral pathogenicity’

    & studies which show the ability of the nutritionally competent immune system ( not those eating the SAD) to prevent viral genetic mutations that would allow the virus to evade the host’s defences, even those studying HIV:

    AJCN 2002; 75: Micronutrients & vertical transmission of HIV

    And where nutrition impacts viral replication:

    J Nutr; 1999; 127: Newly emerging viral diseases: what role for nutrition?

    TBC

  6. #6 Emily
    February 10, 2012

    re 602 Lilady:

    Thank you mam.

    It was an absolute pleasure reading this again.

  7. #7 Narad
    February 10, 2012

    Thank you mam.

    It was an absolute pleasure reading this again.

    When you’re done admiring yourself in the mirror, perhaps you could get back to that causality thing.

  8. #8 Denice Walter
    February 10, 2012

    @ Shay:

    Well… I was thinking more along the lines of rapier-like wit, whip-smart repartee, essays at 50 paces… but I think that the *challengee* choses the weapon so….

  9. #9 Denice Walter
    February 10, 2012

    @ Comrades:

    Ms E has signed off ( @ Wakefield thread).

  10. #10 Emily
    February 10, 2012

    Well you win Lilady & Occamslaser, although I am surprised at you Occam, I never thought you would stoop so low.

    Lilady, I did say your personal attacks were a sign of danger very early in the thread, ( disease vector kids/ abusive mother/neglectful mother/ etc) but I was prepared to bite the bullet & continue.

    With the threat of now finding out my residence (your threats on the Wakefield thread) & coming with a white hood on your head just because my views differ from yours, & perhaps, as happens in our unpredictable world, inflicting some insane harm on my family, I sign off.

    Thank you to all ( except Lilady) for the intellectual jousting, it was a valuable experience for me, but I won’t risk the safety of my family for one screwball.

  11. #11 Narad
    February 10, 2012

    Well… I was thinking more along the lines of rapier-like wit, whip-smart repartee, essays at 50 paces… but I think that the *challengee* choses the weapon so….

    Well-formed stools at 50 paces?

  12. #12 Gray Falcon
    February 10, 2012

    Emily lies repeatedly, and then is shocked when called a liar. Not surprising.

  13. #13 Shay
    February 10, 2012

    Deniece: You mean you want me to play nice? Shucky darn.

  14. #14 Denice Walter
    February 11, 2012

    Perhaps Emily had a speck of insight when she called us, IIRC, *an intellectual lynch mob*…
    Now, I’ll go brood on that.

  15. #15 flip
    February 12, 2012

    Aw, just when she starts to answer properly, Emily flounces off.

    Darn, I would have asked her to answer my q’s properly.

  16. #16 flip
    February 12, 2012

    @614 Denice

    I have to agree that sometimes on sceptic blogs the commenters end up coming off as a mob. It’s an unfortunate effect of large groups of people of similar opinions on the same site, with a minority of differing opinions coming into the fray. It’s the same thing that would happen at AoA though, or any other place where there is no equal division between viewpoints.

    I do think it sometimes becomes a bit over the top and hard to avoid; but I also think that criticism of viewpoints is necessary and that criticism can often (especially when grouped together like it is here) be mistaken for mob thinking.

    I do try and remember this though as it helps keep my posts less emotional and more based in logical arguments.

  17. #17 Antaeus Feldspar
    February 12, 2012

    I have never subscribed to the germ theory, nor to herd immunity theory.

    Just because these diseases have a characteristic constellation of symptoms in specific bodily areas with the same micro-organisms present, doesn’t prove causation.

    SBM is forever stating associations don’t prove causation.

    SBM is always reminding people that correlation alone does not prove causation.

    Emily’s misinterpretation of that as “correlation forever renders causation unprovable; I get to ignore all the evidence that germs cause disease because correlation is one element of that evidence” is, of course, completely unjustified.

  18. #18 Marry Me, Mindy
    February 12, 2012

    At the risk of regretting it massively, what is Emily’s alternative to germ theory? It’s one thing to deny germ theory but without an alternative that accounts for everything that germ theory does then it is mere blustering.

    Though I say, it seems odd that someone who edpouses “natural hygeine” as a health approach could deny germ theory. Why is hygeine useful if illness does not result from being dirty?

  19. #19 Denice Walter
    February 12, 2012

    The woos only have one alternative to germ theory: it’s vitalism! You need to be so filled to bursting with chi, prana, mana, *elan vital*, essence, self-healing life energy that *your* sparkling effervesent energy crowds out and stifles the miserably weak, lower-frequency life energies of bacteria, amoebi, plasmodia et al and the quasi-life forces of virii. Prayer, hope and anti-oxidants are usually prescribed.

  20. #20 Bronze Dog
    February 12, 2012

    The woos only have one alternative to germ theory: it’s vitalism! You need to be so filled to bursting with chi, prana, mana, *elan vital*, essence, self-healing life energy…

    Suddenly, dealing with vitalism feels like dealing with someone who thinks hit points and experience levels are real things, not just gaming abstractions that oversimplify the complexity of life for the sake of speed and convenience.

  21. #21 Narad
    February 12, 2012

    Though I say, it seems odd that someone who edpouses “natural hygeine” as a health approach could deny germ theory. Why is hygeine useful if illness does not result from being dirty?

    “Hygiene” doesn’t just refer to cleanliness even outside of the NH world. Within the latter, though,

    Hygiene is that branch of biology that relates to the preservation and restoration of health. We recognize two kinds of: Hygiene–namely, Natural Hygiene and artificial or spurious hygiene.

    The “Natural” was tacked on in the late 1800s; it’s further subdivided into “Preventive Hygiene” and “Remedial Hygiene,” the whole of which is “bionomy,” etc. The system of returning to the pure way of living that existed before some sort of Fall. Germs are a result of disease; if one conducteth oneself in obedience to the Law(s) of Life, Health shall be maintained, and germs are a nonissue. Warmed-over Béchamp with an occasionally self-contradictory expression due to an attempt to roll everything available at the time into the NH tent.

  22. #22 Krebiozen
    February 12, 2012

    Marry Me, Mindy,

    At the risk of regretting it massively, what is Emily’s alternative to germ theory?

    From what I have read on Natural Hygiene websites it seems to be that sick people give off toxins that are somehow absorbed by people around them, and eventually this can cause them to succumb to illness, as their bodies attempt to rid themselves of the toxins. Microorganisms then move in to eat up the tissues damaged by the toxins. It makes perfect sense if you ignore all the scientific knowledge acquired in the last 150 years or longer.

    Why is hygeine useful if illness does not result from being dirty?

    The term ‘Natural Hygiene’ relates to the word’s roots in the Greek word for health, ‘hygieine’, so it means ‘Natural Health’, and does not refer to silly notions of cleanliness and germs causing illness 😉

    Denice,

    Prayer, hope and anti-oxidants are usually prescribed.

    Sunshine, fresh air, fasting and bed rest seem to be the cornerstones of Natural Hygiene’s techniques to increase ‘nervous energy’ levels to the point where you become impervious even to rabies and die in your bed perfectly healthy at the age of 150.

  23. #23 Myself
    February 15, 2012

    Watch this video there are so many people and family members that stand up at his court hearings defending him. Mothers crying because he saved their childs life that otherwise had only months to live. Everyone needs to watch this video. Trust me after watching this you will have a different outlook on him and the corruption of the FDA.

  24. #25 silverrocket
    February 28, 2012

    More of the same…the money grubbing medical establishment going after him AGAIN. What has happened with Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, and his treatment, is utterly defenseless. They’ve failed to shut him down because his treatments actually work. The evidence is there, you just have to have the balls to actually READ. They’ve attempted to throw him in jail, simultaneously approving patents for the drugs in question, on TOP of the patents already approved by the Dr. himself. Killing patients using protocols NOT approved by Burzynski, willingly allowing patients to die. You just have to read it for yourself, and not fall for the goons who run the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA. When our rights to choose what treatments as individuals we want to have administered to ourselves and our families are removed by those who “know best”, in spite of decades of research to the contrary…then we have a problem.

  25. #26 Chris
    February 28, 2012

    silverrocket:

    The evidence is there, you just have to have the balls to actually READ.

    Certainly, just provide the title, journal, and date of the studies that include this evidence. We are especially interested the completed phase 3 clinical trials.

  26. #27 adelady
    February 28, 2012

    “the goons who run the pharmaceutical industry”

    Those are the goons, I presume, who sell the same products as Dr B. but for less than the price he charges? Much, much less.

    Just who is addicted to profits here?

  27. #28 novalox
    February 28, 2012

    @silverrocket

    Since you say that there are “decades of research” for burzynski, it shouldn’t be hard for you to bring up relevant citations.

    You made the claim, it shouldn’t be that hard for you to support it, unless you were a coward troll.

  28. #29 Calli Arcale
    February 28, 2012

    Yeah, we’d all be happy to read the evidence that Burzynski’s treatment works. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem terribly interested in *publishing* it. He produces a lot of promotional material, sure, but not actual *evidence*. This despite the fact that he’s supposedly been running clinical trials of the stuff for years — trials which curiously never seem to end, or produce any kind of publishable data. One wonders, one does.

  29. #30 Duke Point
    February 29, 2012

    This is just another attempt by the FDA to discredit another brillient scientist who is on the brink of a cure for cancer and has cured cancer already without the poisen that chemo is from big pharma. To all you people who think the FDA is really concerned about the public stop being brained washed. The FDA is owned by big pharma and they want to shut down any independent scientist who discover real cures for cancer or any other disceases.Just like the patent office is owned by big oil. GOOGLE Stanley Meyer (hydrogen fuel cell). Stanislaw Burzynski is a genius and he has cures many people do the research. Dont be blind and brain washed.

  30. #31 Duke Point
    February 29, 2012

    This is just another attempt by the FDA to discredit another brillient scientist who is on the brink of a cure for cancer and has cured cancer already without the poisen that chemo is from big pharma. To all you people who think the FDA is really concerned about the public stop being brained washed. The FDA is owned by big pharma and they want to shut down any independent scientist who discover real cures for cancer or any other disceases.Just like the patent office is owned by big oil. GOOGLE Stanley Meyer (hydrogen fuel cell). Stanislaw Burzynski is a genius and he has cures many people do the research. Dont be blind and brain washed.

  31. #32 Lawrence
    February 29, 2012

    Nice double rant post there….and you do know that chemo is a key part of Dr. B’s treatment, right? Charged about 10x what his patients would get from a conventional pharmacy….

  32. #33 herr doktor bimler
    February 29, 2012

    I give Duke Point 8/10 for parody. Points lost for over-doing the bad spelling.

  33. #34 OccamsLaser
    March 12, 2012

    Emily –

    1. For how long have you been adhering to the tenets of Natural Hygiene with regards to your diet?

    Not perfectly, but with continued refinement, I have been eating this way for 30 years.

    2. When you fasted for 28 days on two occasions, what disease were you trying to combat? How long ago were those two fasts?

    Firstly, CFS 22 years ago & secondly, a chronic sinus problem 16 years ago.

    As you were already adhering to the tenets of Natural Hygiene when you undertook your fasts, your claim that the hunger felt when fasting is “toxic hunger”, and thus not a “real” signal from your body to take in nutrition, is false in your own case. That is, despite your constant declaration that the core principle of Natural Hygiene is that we must obey our bodies’ signals, rather than oppose them, you did exactly that, and you have now proven that you cannot claim “toxic hunger” as a justification. Therefore, by your own facts and actions, you have demonstrated that you do not believe in the core principle that you have put forth as the foundation for nearly all of your other claims.

    3. What exactly is your stance on the discipline of chiropractic? I am not asking about how some practitioners might employ it, but rather on the principles of the discipline itself.

    Palmer, IMO, was mistaken, when he postulated the nerve impingement/subluxation theory.

    Have you made your position clear to the founder of your clinic?

    5. “In the Wakefield thread, I asked, “do you claim that there can be not only influenza without the virus, but that there can be any disease without the germ that is associated (by science-based medicine) with that disease? &
    6. Do you disagree with the widely-believed assertion that the flu is a simple viral illness?”

    I have never subscribed to the germ theory, nor to herd immunity theory.

    Just because these diseases have a characteristic constellation of symptoms in specific bodily areas with the same micro-organisms present, doesn’t prove causation.

    SBM is forever stating associations don’t prove causation.

    There is far more to the simplistic notion that germs cause disease, & I believe that one day in the future, more detailed understandings will unfold.

    Once again, you have evaded the direct questions, and you know what evasion means– you are afraid of giving a direct, truthful answer. Why are you so afraid to provide simple answers to these simple questions? Here they are again:

    – Do you claim that there can be not only influenza without the virus, but that there can be any disease without the germ that is associated (by science-based medicine) with that disease? Note that this is a yes-or-no question.

    – Do you disagree with the widely-believed assertion that the flu is a simple viral illness? Is your fasting guru Dr. Fuhrman wrong when he takes this position?

  34. #35 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    May 19, 2012

    Sadly, Lola Quinlan, the woman suing Burzynski, has died. A poster on Quackometer found the memorial notice:

    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/palmbeachpost/obituary.aspx?n=lola-ann-quinlan&pid=157687281

    I hope somehow the lawsuit will continue.

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