Doctor accused of selling false hope to families

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USA TODAY investigation finds experts questioning why Houston doctor is allowed to continue to offer his alternative cancer treatment with antineoplastons.

Josia's parents would have paid any price to save him.

A Texas doctor, two months, earlier, had given them one: $25,000 upfront, by cash or check.

Clinging to hope, the Linden, N.J., couple took Josia to see Stanislaw Burzynski, a Houston doctor claiming to be able to do what no one else can: cure inoperable pediatric brainstem tumors.

Virtually any other doctor might have recited the same sad statistics: Although doctors can now cure 83% of pediatric cancers in the U.S., there is usually no hope for kids with Josia's tumor. Perhaps 5% survive five years.

Burzynski — an internist with no board certification or formal training in oncology — has said publicly that he can cure half of the estimated 200 children a year diagnosed with brainstem tumors. The Cottos were told that treatment could cost over $100,000, mostly out of pocket, because insurance plans often refuse to cover Burzynski Clinic treatments.

Written By: Liz Szabo
continue to source article at usatoday.com

11 COMMENTS

  1. Federal grand jury indictments, 75 felony charges, failure to report hypernatremia cases, inflating success rates, destroying patient records, 102 drug overdoses, specialists with no medical training…

    This whole thing sounds like the plot of an episode of Law & Order.

  2. Federal grand jury indictments, 75 felony charges, failure to report hypernatremia cases, inflating success rates, destroying patient records, 102 drug overdoses, specialists with no medical training…

    This whole thing sounds like the plot of an episode of Law & Order.

  3. My guess is it’s no accident that this quack set up shop in Texas, the state that also gave us Rick Perry and George Bush. Their pro-business laws probably help insulate him against lawsuits from the families he rips off.

    • In reply to #5 by Roedy:

      He has been doing this a long time. My Mom, who died in the 90s championed him for years. I don’t know how she got involved with him. I guess it is wishful thinking.

      I too have known people who got involved and even became his patients. Wishful thinking indeed comes to the fore when you’re otherwise shit outta options. It’s very hard to tell them they’re wasting what life they have left when they would otherwise spend it feeling hopeless…

      For anyone unfamiliar with Burzynski, check out Orac at Respectful Insolence for a detailed multi-part history of this whole sorry affair.

  4. How come it has taken 36 years to get to this point, and he is still practicing?

    How many patients could have been saved a lot of heartache, and money, if regulators did their jobs properly?

    Is there not even some formal licensing regime in place which should have prevented him ever launching this controversial “treatment” on the world until it had been through some proper clinical trials?

    • In reply to #7 by Stevehill:

      How come it has taken 36 years to get to this point, and he is still practicing?

      How many patients could have been saved a lot of heartache, and money, if regulators did their jobs properly?

      Is there not even some formal licensing regime in place which should have prevented him ever launching this…

      Its funny you should mention trials. It my understanding that Burzynski exploits a loop hole that allows him to declare all his treatments as being part of clinical trials. By volunteering to participate in these ‘trials’ patients lose all the normal legal rights that would protect them if malpractice occurs because he can say they knew they were taking experimental drugs. The loop hole exists because an institute can declare a trial void without giving a reason and without publishing the results of the trial.

      Thus he has run 60 + trials in succession and never published results for any of them.

      What makes it really unethical is that normally when participating in a trial the patient gets all the drugs free or at a vastly reduced rate to compensate them for the risk they are incurring. The celebrity endorsed Burzynski institute charges are beyond that affordable to most families who often sell their homes to pay for treatment.

      I guess the FDA either tighten their regulations or people wise up to the scam and demand peer reviewed evidence of the success he claims with his methods.

      • In reply to #8 by mr_DNA:

        …What makes it really unethical is that normally when participating in a trial the patient gets all the drugs free or at a vastly reduced rate to compensate them for the risk they are incurring…

        You’re right that you shouldn’t be charged for trial medications – Burzynski charges “patient management fees” i.e. for his ‘expertise’ and you get the drugs for free.

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