Orac and Bob Blaskiewicz team up to expose another black mark on the Burzynski cancer clinic. These are hard stories to take because someone died trying. She believed this treatment would work. There is no excuse for those who led her to believe that.
I’m sure you recall Burzynski. He’s a hero in the alternative medicine world, having been cast as a martyr to The Man (i.e., the FDA and Big Pharma) because of his selling of a dubious cancer cure that he calls antineoplastons. Although he’s been selling his questionable cancer treatments for thirty years now, he’s recently been in the news a lot lately thanks to a credulous paean to his activities in the form of a movie that was released in 2010 called, unimaginatively enough, Burzynski: The Movie.[…]patient after desperate cancer patient is drawn like flies to the proverbial lantern to Burzynski’s clinic in Houston, lured by the promise of a cure for the incurable, willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to realize that promise, no matter how many fundraisers are required or how many journalists throw away basic journalistic skepticism to pen what are in essence commercials for Burzynski’s clinic. Meanwhile, his patients drop like flies.
And now another young cancer patient has paid the price.
As always, I encourage you to read the piece above. Orac notes that Burzynski wields his FDA Phase III trial approval “like a club against his critics, with its implication that because the FDA approved his trial there must be something to it.” The preliminary data and information presented for the approval is not accessible so it is a mystery how he got approval in the first place. But nearly two years after approval, there are no patients that have been recruited from the information available. Critics say that’s unusual.
These stories make many critical thinkers angry. There is an unstated assurance in these unverified treatments – they are cutting edge, they show promise, they will work for you! Hope and desperation trump reason and disappointment.
Tell me, if your treatment really works, why do you need 30 years and a promotional movie to sell it?
What can we do to get the FDA to take a closer look at the Burzynski clinic and see what is actually going on there? I want to know. I would guess that the negative pressure being imposed by critics inside and outside the medical community and former patients will eventually collapse this venture but how many people will suffer and die a lot poorer before that?
Read Bob’s Storify timeline to experience the story of Rachael, rest in peace.