The Burzynski Clinic in the local news

The above article, from the North Warrington Midweek, was delivered free through my door on 31st January. Almost three weeks earlier, I had first raised concerns with the Warrington Guardian (the parent newspaper) over their previous favourable coverage of the Burzynski Clinic.

I had no reply. Realising that my original email was too long for them to publish, I helpfully sent them a shortened version on 21st January, stating that I would be happy for them to print it on their Letters page. This concluded with the sentiment that it was irresponsible of the Warrington Guardian to promote the Burzynski Clinic.

Their News Editor, Gareth Dunning, replied to say that he didn’t feel as though they were promoting the clinic, merely explaining that Ms Kinley thought it offered a lifeline. He also pointed out that the Warrington Guardian is clearly not a medical journal and cannot go into detail about the relative merits of the clinic. However, he also said that they would run my letter.

They published the first four sentences of my email today:

I  have added the remainder as a comment on the Warrington Guardian website:

Dr Burzynski’s ‘clinical trials’ (which cost patients hundreds of thousands of pounds), have been ongoing for over thirty years without any publication of reliable evidence that the ‘antineoplastons’ treatment works. Although he doesn’t market them as such, antineoplastons are effectively by-products of the metabolism of a known drug (sodium phenylbutyrate). Dr Burzynski also prescribes other drugs unconventionally and expensively, has been found guilty of fraud, accuses the authorities and critics of acting illegally in order to suppress him and may soon have his medical licence revoked following imminent proceedings involving the Texas Medical Board.

Details of further legal problems emerged last week – when it was reported that Dr Burzynski and his companies are being sued by an elderly lady seeking damages for negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, deceptive trade and conspiracy. She says the defendants failed to disclose that her treatment was part of a clinical trial and charged her $500 per pill for drugs she could buy elsewhere for a fraction of that price.

I believe it was irresponsible of the Warrington Guardian to promote such a clinic.

The South Manchester Reporter, who ran a similar article, have also told me that they will publish my email but as far as I am aware, this has not yet happened. I have emailed them again to try to find out more but have had no further response.

Over in Houston, local news coverage is far more eye opening. Local 2 Investigates even interviewed Lola Quinlan (the elderly lady mentioned above), who said:

I’d like to see them shut down.  That’s my hope, that he can’t do this to anybody else

Despite all the issues already reported in detail by bloggers, the British media are very reluctant to discuss the very serious legal and ethical problems with the Burzysnki Clinic. Yet they are perfectly happy to run heart rending ‘human interest’ stories about children or young mothers raising funds for treatment.

I believe that this is cowardly and immoral.

9 responses to “The Burzynski Clinic in the local news

  1. Indeed a wholly uncritical story; using words like “pioneering” rather that “scientifically unproven profiteering”.

    Perhaps, by way of new law or legislation, there is a way the FDA can legally require such clinicians to publish all trial data; not only that but also prevent charging for any clinical trials.

    As ever, if the “treatment” proved it’s efficacy, then the data would support that. One can only guess at Burzynski’s reasons for not publishing…

  2. And why do you think it is that the media tend not to present your side of the story? Everybody loves a miracle.
    If that was understandable years ago because of ignorance or lack of scientific proof, I think it is quite inexcusable nowadays – that is, media supporting such a claim with the excuse that they’re “not a medical journal and cannot go into detail about the relative merits of the clinic”. It is irresponsible and ultimately criminal.

  3. It seems the Warrington Guardian did not take my concerns on board. A week after they published the first four sentences of my email, they printed the following under the title ‘Double boost for brave Mum Nic’:

    “FUNDRAISERS supporting a mum-of-two with an inoperable brain tumour have been buoyed after raising £1,700 with a cake sale and promising news about her potential treatment.

    Nic Kinley, originally from Great Sankey, hopes to fly to Texas for pioneering treatment and was delighted to hear two patients of the Houston doctor she has been in touch with had seen their tumours shrink by 30 and 50 per cent.

    Funds have now swelled to more than £11,000 with friends hoping a ‘hardly ever used it sale’ at the Memphis Belle pub, Westbrook, tonight from 6pm, can further add to their total.

    For more details call Helen on 07540 625006.”

    http://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/news/whereilive/9521791.Double_boost_for_brave_mum_Nic/

  4. This is dated 30th January, also on the Warrington Guardian website but I don’t know if or when it appeared in print:

    “Nic’s Texas fund gets £5k boost”

    “MORE than £5,000 has already been donated to help send a mum-of-two to Texas for potentially life-saving treatment.

    Nic Kinley, who is originally from Great Sankey, appeared in the Warrington Guardian two weeks ago after she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in May last year.

    The pioneering treatment in America has been described as her only hope after doctors said nothing more could be done in the UK.

    More than £2,000 has been donated through a Paypal account set up by Nic and her husband-to-be Ceri Morgan while Nic’s mum Helen has collected cheques worth more than £3,300 from community groups and friends in Warrington.

    Ceri said: “It’s really heartwarming to have so many lovely messages and offers of help.

    “So many people have offered to raise money whether it’s running races, cycle rides or having their head shaved.”

    Small groups of people on the internet have criticised the treatment in Houston, which in total will cost £200,000 while an initial £30,000 is needed but Ceri added they have been given no other option.

    The 43-year-old said: “I don’t think people realise how much we have looked into the treatment and spoken to people who it has worked for.”

    http://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/news/whereilive/9492795.Nic_s_Texas_fund_gets___5k_boost/

    Nic’s cause received a boost last week when singer Peter Andre gave his backing to the campaign.

    Fundraiser and friend Brenda Grixti met him at an event in Downing Street and said he had offered his help.

    Ceri added: “Peter told Brenda he would love to help with the campaign.

    “It’s been brilliant to get some celebrity backing like that.”

    A writer on TV programme Shameless and Stone Roses band member Ian Brown have also donated prizes for a charity auction to be held at a fundraising ball at The Halliwell Jones Stadium in April.

    To help, visit nicsroadto recovery.co.uk or search for her Facebook site.

  5. Can somebody tell me what is Nic Kinley’s current health status? How is she doing?
    Personal opinions aside, how is she doing?

  6. According to
    http://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/news/10467786.Mum_diagnosed_with_rare_tumour_hopes_to_stay_in_remission/
    of 7th June 2013 she is in remission.
    I am an extreme sceptic myself about any unproven “wonders”. Anybody interested in the matter should watch the Burzynski video on youtube and decide for themselves. At least for me it contains tons of proof that there is a witch hunt going on.

    • It’s great to hear that Nic is doing well. I think it’s worth noting that she went into remission without ever having gone to Houston. Undoubtedly, had she gone to Burzynski, this would have been posted as a success story by people like Eric Merola (director of the Burzynski movies) and those anonymously promoting the clinic on social media.

      I thought it interesting that the newspaper omitted Burzynski’s name from that article, which happened to be published the same week BBC Panorama’s Burzynski documentary aired.

      Incidentally, I suggest anyone interested in the matter is more likely to get a balanced story by watching Panorama rather than either of Merola’s awful efforts. And anyone who wants to look into Burzynski in any depth might be interested in some of the links on my Master List: https://josephinejones.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/burzynski-blogs-my-master-list/

      • Funny. I was discussing this very same problem where desperate people confuse correlation with causation.

        What if she’d tried praying, yoga, crystals, hot stones, ear candles, reiki or even corn flakes? She could so easily have attributed the remission to these things, all the while the charlatans would be chalking it up to a victory.

        It surprises me how many people don’t realise that 1. Everyone is different, 2. Medicine can affect people differently and 3. Cancer likewise – despite seemingly similar traits – can grow differently in people, and thus may or may not be affected by medicine, let alone quacks.

        Additionally, there are documented cases, not unlike this one, where the cancer takes time to remiss. This is reasonably easy to prove providing the patient avoids any other pseudo-medicine, Burzynski’s for instance.

        With regard to Laura Hymass, for example, it is difficult to tell as she underwent – as i understand it – Burzynski’s now-infamous anti-neoplaston treatment during a time where her grade 4 giloma may or may not have been in the remission phase. Yet we can never know precisely, scientifically, because she attended the Houston clinic. To paraphrase Orac: the jury is out in this one; there is simply not enough evidence to say either way.

        As has been said ad nauseum: Burzynski’s treatment may well prove effective against some cancers but until something can be critically appraised using the scientific method, we have to assume that it does not work. As always: “the plural of anecdote is not data.”
        🙂

  7. Again, it would be so easy for Dr. B to silence his critics – just publish the damn data!

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