Texas Medical Board discontinues prosecution of noted cancer quack


22 Responses to “Texas Medical Board discontinues prosecution of noted cancer quack”

  1. Boundegar says:

    I suppose we can at least hope for the placebo effect?

    • The placebo effect has no effect on outcomes. Give them a “healing string” for 30 cents, not a $30,000 initial office visit.

      • Alexis says:

        Bob, you do not understand the placebo effect: it is a real measurable effect which is different than receiving no treatment. Actually it is real effects, plural, since there are different kinds of placebo effects.

        Of course that is not germane to the quackery of this quack in Texas.

  2. Funk Daddy says:

    I am not surprised. He has been at it awhile and uses all tools at his disposal effectively muddying the water and blocking any light into the quagmire that is his “practice”. 

    That’s when he’s not accepting half a mil from individuals desperate enough to look past 34 years of failing to stop a cancer.

    Check out his latest tool for reaching prospective marks. A “documentary”.

    In the 80s I wondered how long he could keep gaming the system (easy at the time, he only had to game the Texas system, in which no physician had to comply with federal anything, until 1995). In the nineties it became clear he would continue gaming but on the federal level.

    This clinic will end when he dies, then some less bureaucratically/legally/media savvy individual will try and use his methods and fail. THEN… it will just be another, with a different “cure”, because desperate people.

  3. Deidzoeb says:

    There is a McDonald’s inside the Texas Heart Institute. (At least there was in 1998 when my father-in-law got aneurysm surgery there.)

    Symbolic of health care in TX?


    • Funk Daddy says:

      For people with big money or good coverage the Texas Medical Center is on a short list of places to get the best possible medical care.

      The institutions there have shit loads of corporate interchange. 

      However, the Mcdonald’s you find in such places are a little different, and children going through treatments of varying difficulties seem to very much like Mcdonalds, like many other kids.

      Personally I consider a hospital with a fast food joint analogous to a pharmacy selling cigarettes, but it brings small comfort to people who need it so I’d give em’ a smoking area too.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Many people on chemo find it easier to keep down heavy, greasy food.

      • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

        Interesting.  Wonder if there’s a common physiological thread there with hangovers.  

        That said, I have to think that they could’ve at least put in a great Mexican greasy spoon, instead of a friggin’ McDonald’s.  Jeez.

        • Funk Daddy says:

          There’s plenty in any direction from there. Some of the reasons there is a McD instead is millions paid for the privilege, RMcD House, et al. Good Mex-Tex-Mex can’t afford that kind of location.

          But don’t paint me as pro-McD, the chump change they throw out to whitecoat-wash their horrible enterprise is insignificant.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          It seemed entirely individual.  We used to put them all on clear liquid diets until one patient told us that she did better on sloppy joes.  Then we just let them order what they wanted and many of them chose hamburgers or pizza.

          McDonald’s wouldn’t be my choice either because it smells sort of sweet / yeasty / bland, which makes me want to throw up all the time.  If I’m nauseated, I crave grapefruit juice.

  4. smut clyde says:

    The Texan law appears to be designed specifically so that doctors can protect themselves from prosecution by hiring an underling to administer the chosen quackery rather than do it in person. “I was just giving orders.”

  5. wazmo says:

    Yet another reason to let Texas secede. 

  6. TheOven says:

    Can anyone provide a quick summary of his quackery? What treatments does he espouse? Is there any evidence his methods work – if not, why do people go to him?

    I know I could research this on my own, but maybe someone can provide the reader’s-digest version?

    • Antineoplastons (ANP) are a derivative of a drug used to treat urea cycle disorders. He says that they are absent in the urine of people with cancer, so he “replenishes” them, basically pumping them full of ANP and random chemo cocktails. When someone happens to survive meeting him, they blame the ANP. For 35+ years he has failed to produce a single published study that demonstrates that he does anything more than a wallet biopsy.

    • TooGoodToCheck says:

      Quackwatch has more info than you can shake a stick at, starting here: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/burzynski1.html
      The treatment seems to have varied a bit over the years, but at the core, it’s peptides, isolated from urine.

      As to why people go to him, there are a couple of factors.

      For one, Burzynski has been quite lucky. In 1992, there was apparently political support for making the FDA more friendly to alternative therapy. So, politics got involved, and Burzynski has actually been able to say that he’s running FDA-approved clinical trials. This sucks hard, because to a casual audience, or to someone who wants to believe, it appears to legitimize him.

      Plus the dude has a “documentary” – maybe hagiography is the term? Infomercial that misrepresents itself and often gets misfiled as a documentary? Anyway, that film has made lots of converts, I think, because it has some surface appearance of impartial inquiry, but only interviews people who are believers, and never presents opposing arguments.

  7. class_enemy says:

    Truly, the saddest part about this is that it’s so unnecessary for desperate cancer patients to seek out money-grubbing, lying quacks.

    I mean, it’s so easy for them to get into legitimate, supervised clinical trials where new treatments with a decent chance of success are being tested.

    Right??  Right????

  8. sean says:

    Who’d give money to this guy? He doesn’t even look like a doctor! Looks like an extra from the Andy Griffith show, maybe the guy who ran the shoe store.

  9. Halloween_Jack says:

    Not that there’s necessarily a pattern or anything, but the first half of this TAL episode is worth a listen.

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