USA Today tackles Burzynski again – His lawyer makes ludicrous assertion

Earlier this month, we posted the story of how controversial cancer doctor Stanislaw Burzynski was under fire once again from the Texas state medical board citing a long list of complaints regarding his practice in Houston using a dubious, unproven cancer treatment. Now, USA Today, who did a huge expose on Dr. B, is back with the new news highlighting how arrogant and callous Burzynski and his lawyer manage to appear in public.

Texas medical board charges controversial cancer doctor.

The board says Burzynski has lured patients from around the world to his Texas clinic by promoting his unapproved drugs as safe, effective and available from nobody else — even though he knew most patients were ineligible for the experimental therapy, according to a 200-page complaint that describes problems with the care of 29 patients.

Burzynski — who was the subject of a USA TODAY investigation last year — broke Texas law, the board says, through “unprofessional and dishonorable conduct that is likely to deceive or defraud the public.”

Burzynski’s attorney, Richard Jaffe, says his client hasn’t broken any laws. Jaffe says that it’s common for doctors to order blood tests or dispense cancer drugs from their own pharmacies.

Medical reviewers say the charges against him are serious and sound. Burzynski’s lawyer brushes aside the serious charges that the doctors who treated patients at the clinic were not licensed, saying they got their degrees from other countries. So have many other physicians, yet they manage to get licensed because it’s REQUIRED in order to practice medicine. Why are they exempt from these requirements?

Jaffe, quoted in the piece, comes off as an arrogant ass:

Jaffe predicts that this would be the last time that Burzynski, 70, will tangle with the medical board.

“One way or another, this is the last time that this is going to happen,” Jaffe says. “Either they are going to take away his license or the board is going to be humiliated, because we are going to ask a judge to decide whether this treatment works better.”

Burzynski’s treatment not been scientifically shown to be effective as he claims. Why is he exempt from demonstrating efficacy for these claims? Why is he allowed to continue to charge exorbitant fees and make assertions he holds some amazing cure. His patients die! I don’t call that a success.

A judge doesn’t decide what treatment works – the scientific evaluation process does. This pomposity, hubris and utter lack of respect for science-based evidence is characteristic of quackery – quacks feel they are special and privileged because “they have the cure”. They don’t feel the need to demonstrate to other experts as long as they continue to get paid and have a cult-like following.

The science and evidence for the antineoplastons treatment just isn’t there. You can’t pull it out of thin air. However, that’s even beside the point – the TMB is accusing him of serious violations no matter WHAT treatment he touts. He needs to answer to it.

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  6 comments for “USA Today tackles Burzynski again – His lawyer makes ludicrous assertion

  1. Derek Freyberg
    July 24, 2014 at 9:03 PM

    Actually, if you look at the Burzynski complaint (and it’s huge – over 200 pages), only one of the patients was even possibly treated with antineoplastons, because only one patient was enrolled in a clinical trial. The others were just treated with approved drugs, though in such combinations and at such doses that the Texas Medical Board considered the treatment inappropriate – among the Board’s several other complaints about Burzynski.
    The patient in the complaint against Yi (an oncologist at the Burzynski clinic), patient E, was treated with sodium phenylbutyrate, but in “non-therapeutic” amounts – see the complaint against Yi linked in the USA Today article. But patient E was smart – he bailed on the Burzynski clinic in only a week, it would seem.
    Strangely, although Yi is complained about for prescribing “non-therapeutic” sodium phenylbutyrate, Burzynski himself is not – even though several other patients mentioned in the complaint received the same dose.
    Note also that Jaffe, who has represented Burzynski before, is representing Yi – so perhaps Yi is sticking with Burzynski; the other “doctor” mentioned in the USA Today article, Weaver, is no longer there and apparently works in clinical research – he’s forbidden by his deal with the Board from practicing in oncology.

  2. PagaRoobits
    July 24, 2014 at 9:19 PM

    Holy Mother Of Clams, what FINALLY woke the TMB up?! The crappy science? The mounting casualties? The realization that the word antineoplastons is kinda sorta made up? Whatevah. If the the TMB stands firm and actually fights their corner they may actually shut this guy down. And I’ll have to take back some of the things I’ve said about Texas.

    • July 25, 2014 at 8:01 AM

      They have tried at least once, maybe twice before, to nab him. He has political connections and slipped away, shamefully.

      • PagaRoobits
        July 27, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        The politics really is the problem isn’t it? Both the TMB and FDA know the guy’s got no science to back him up. But weepy publicity campaigns from the desperate and misguided sway legislators who don’t know any more about medical research than most people. The regulatory agencies don’t like telling crying mothers that they’ve been duped and legislators don’t want to have that kind of video clip showing up during their reelection campaigns. So everyone takes the line of least resistance and Burzynski gets away with it a little while longer. Feh! The people we pay to protect us need to stiffen their spines and make decisions based on best scientific evidence. NOT emotional publicity campaigns.

  3. July 25, 2014 at 4:03 AM

    I must be missing something. How is a judge going to decide if ANPs “work better” when the judge is (a) not a part of the FDA’s approval process and (b) ruling on the use of unlicensed physicians, unethical practices, failure to obtain informed consent and selling unapproved drugs?

    No doubt Jaffe would spin a victory for the heartstring-tugging tales of patients as a vindication of ANPs, as Burzynski and his followers did last time but this is not in any way the same thing as establishing the validity of the treatment.

    • Bill T.
      July 25, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      When the process works as designed, the judge relies on expert testimony for answers to these kinds of questions. One would hope this is what will happen (and that he gets actual experts).

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