An increasingly unwieldy list of well known serious legal and ethical issues has done nothing to stop the British media reporting on Dr Stanislaw Burzynski in an irresponsibly biased way. Such articles usually appear in the local press, though have also featured on ITV Daybreak, in the Daily Mirror and The Observer. They are always emotive, always full of hope and are presented from the point of view of families wishing to raise funds for ‘life saving‘ or ‘miracle‘ treatment. In doing so – though of course they don’t see it this way, the media are effectively promoting the Burzynski Clinic.
When concerns are pointed out, heads are stuck deeper into the sand. Editors insist they are simply supporting a desperate family at a difficult time. They may even convince themselves that in mentioning that the treatment is ‘experimental’ or unproven, they are adequately reporting criticism of the clinic. Continue reading
The Observer readers’ editor, Stephen Pritchard has responded (by email) to criticism of his 4th December column regarding complaints about an article on the controversial Burzynski Clinic. I have published his email in full at the end of this post.
I hope that this inadequate response will not be the Observer’s final word on the subject. It remains to be seen whether the Press Complaints Commission will be able to resolve the situation (together with my more recent complaint against the Evening Standard) Continue reading
As my Twitter followers may have noticed, I was angy and upset after reading this week’s Readers’ editor column in The Observer – which seemed to paint critical Burzynski bloggers like myself as sanctimonious and vitriolic, with little regard for accuracy.
I was not alone. Several people responded to my angry tweets (one of which invited people to forward their complaints to me) and I have published their emails below.
I can also recommend the Quackometer post ‘The Observer Responds – Complicity in Misinformation‘ and the 21st Floor’s ‘Burzynski: A perfect storm?‘ (and subsequent comments) for background, and to see reactions of Andy Lewis and various other bloggers, including myself. (EDIT 05/12/11 This Dianthus Medical post is also recommended and indicates that a complaint has now been made to the PCC.)
For my part, I calmed down, read the article again a few times, and wrote a more detailed and balanced response this morning: Continue reading
If you have any further suggestions for this article (for example, nominations of reputable cancer charities outside the UK or any new ideas), then please get in touch.
Skeptics for the Protection of Cancer Patients are fundraising for St Jude’s Chilren’s hospital in honour of Dr Burzynski’s 7oth birthday on January 23rd 2013. They aim to raise at least $30,000 by then (the cost of entering one of #Burzynski’s trials) and will then challenge Dr Burzynski to match the total sum.
Here are some other suggestions:
Last updated 17/07/14
Here is a summary of information on #Burzynski – which will hopefully be of use to those daunted by the sheer quantity of links on my Stanislaw, Streisand and Spartacus post.
UPDATE 30/04/13 Many of the links are to the 21st Floor, which is now offline. Most of these can also also be found here, by searching for “Burzynski”.
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Tagged Andy Lewis, antineoplastons, Burzynski, Burzynski Clinic, Cancer, Cancer Research UK, David Allen Green, Evening Standard, libel reform, Observer, Orac, Panorama, pseudoscience, Rhys Morgan, Science Based Medicine, Stanislaw Burzynski
UPDATE (03/12/11) Stephen Pritchard (The Observer Readers’ editor) has emailed to say
Thank you for your email. I have examined this issue closely and have written a column on it for Sunday. Thank you for taking the trouble to write.
UPDATE (04/12/11) Stephen Pritchard’s column (published today) has upset me and many other bloggers. I intend to address the issues in a new post and new email tomorrow when I have time.
As discussed in an earlier post, last Sunday’s Observer published a moving piece written by the uncle of a four-year-old girl with an inoperable brain tumour, promoting a fundraising campaign set up to pay for treatment at the Burzynski Clinic in Texas.
I wrote an email to The Observer’s readers’ editor, describing some of the controversy surrounding the clinic, explaining my concerns about the uncritical nature of the article and suggesting they run an informative and balanced follow-up piece. I have so far had no reply.