I think it’s time for me to say something on this subject. It is after all very closely related to my current… vocation (if one can call it that, being a PhD student still!) and impacting directly on some of my friends.
One of those friends is my co-host of our long-neglected podcast, Super Duper Woo-Fighting Duo (With Capes)! – Rhys Morgan.
Edit: even BoingBoing is on it this evening!
Feel free to scroll down to ‘The Threats‘ and ‘Some Interesting Correspondence‘ sections if you know all this…
The subject is one Stanislaw Burzynski, based in Houston, Texas. He offers an experimental treatment (though to call it that is probably a bit generous) to cancer patients called “Antineoplaston Therapy”. These antineoplastons are claimed to be peptides (bits of protein – though they’re generally not, technically – see comment 11 for more) found in urine. When a difference between cancer patients’ and healthy individuals’ urine peptide profile was found, an assumption was made that cancer sufferers were lacking these protein chunks and therefore replacing them should be an effective cure. A list of his patents and publications can be found here. This NYT article is extensive and demonstrates the shocking wealth accumulated:
… the gross income of Dr. Burzynski and an institute he runs was $40 million from 1988 to 1994… he took home $1 million a year.
However, the theory itself is dodgy at best and years of tests have not convinced the worldwide medical community. Yet Burzynski continues to run his clinic, charging people tens of thousands of dollars with promises of efficacy and hopes of being cured – even if the patients have been given a few months or years by doctors elsewhere.
Edit: this is shocking – records show Burzynski threw random chemotherapy cocktails at people (those saying chemo kills; well, he certainly didn’t seem to do his research on it), failed to disclose pharmacy ownership conflict of interest, did not alter treatment despite scans showing no improvement… Texas Medical Board might finally be doing their job.
Also see here for his public record – makes for a disturbing read. Plus, they also have a range of ‘healthcare products’, unsurprisingly – glorious website full of scibabble nonsense words and indeed typos.
Now, more and more people are starting to criticise this man and his practice and the tactics we have seen so many times before – legal threats, bullying, hoping to silence – are coming thick and fast. There is now a petition asking the clinic to release a concise, publicly-available review of all the clinical trial data it has accumulated over the years.
The turning point was this uncritical article in the Observer about a stricken family with a little girl suffering from a serious brain cancer. The family details their emotional struggle – one which many of us will sympathise wholeheartedly with – and the resulting search for hope, their sights landing on Burzynski’s clinic.
Peter Kay offered to do some benefit gigs to help towards their $200,000 funds goal for this ‘treatment’. These were on the 24th and 25th November last week, and tonight the Comedy Store in Manchester is hosting another with various acts. I also saw a tweet reporting that BBC 6 Music had run an advert for one of the money-raising events.
Many immensely generous donations have been made. It is heartening to see human kindness at work – but so very upsetting given the circumstances.
Here are some e-mails regarding the article that were not published (or at least, not fully) by the Observer – a lot of people are concerned by their endorsement and the lack of provision to challenge what was written. Obviously this is a sensitive issue, around a grief-stricken family, but many others will continue to suffer if this is not properly addressed.
Publicity around this man and his dealings has soared today, as a result of retweets from Stephen Fry, Ben Goldacre, Dave Gorman, Dara O’Briain and continuing valuable support from others such as Simon Singh.
Another friend of mine, Kat, has written a fantastic post for the Cancer Research UK blog – this is serious stuff and those of us who have watched people deal with such a terminal illness do not want to see them swindled, spending their hard-earned savings lining fraudsters’ pockets and losing precious time with their families and loved ones.
Some people who have been directly affected have set up their own website in the hope that others won’t follow in their footsteps: http://www.burzynskiscam.com/
So, regarding the bullying I mentioned. Rhys wrote a post in mid-August detailing his views of Burzynski, backed up with accounts of past occurrences – including this case:
“Dr. Stanislaw R. Burzynski, had defrauded the plaintiff and violated the terms of the health plan.
We agree that the defendant may not trick the plaintiff into paying for an unlawful, unapproved drug. We AFFIRM.”
and how the 30+ years of trials have yielded very little to support the claims made. Check out Quackwatch from way back in 1998 for more.
He had to take the post down at the beginning of this month but he has now published all the correspondence here – please do have a read (also on Google+, and I’m pasting it below (click ‘read more’ if you’re on the blog homepage and can’t see it) because his site keeps going down!).
His silence was broken because Andy Lewis started receiving his own threats after he wrote his criticism of the Observer article, Kay’s unquestioning support and the issue as a whole. Another here for your amusement. Also read more from The 21st Floor, David Gorski, scienceblogs (good comments), Peter Harrison and Zen Buffy – Josephine Jones is compiling a kind of I Am Spartacus! list for posts on the subject.
Some interesting correspondence
A friend sent me this link to a September 2004 letter to the editor of the academic journal Integrative Cancer Therapies (who have published quite a few of Burzynski’s papers) from a researcher by the name of Andrew Vickers. He takes issue with an article by Burzynski published in the journal in March of that year:
Burzynski SR. The present state of antineoplaston research.
Integr Cancer Ther. 2004;3(1):47-58.
I’ve downloaded and saved this paper if anyone wants a copy, get in touch on Twitter or in the comments so I can e-mail you.
The article cites 73 papers and articles, 38 of which have Burzynski as first author, and a further 10 have his name as one of the first 3 authors – probably he’s in the list somewhere with the rest – plus a couple have one Burzynski B. (presumably a family member). If you search his name in PubMed, 45 articles are returned.
Moving on to Andrew’s letter regarding the paper cited above, it’s reasonably short – again if you want the PDF, get in touch, but I’ll paste it here with minimal commentary at intervals.
I read with interest Dr Burzynski’s recent review of research on his technique for treating cancer.1 I have several serious concerns about the scientific quality of his article. The first results presented by Burzynski concern glioma. It is claimed that 7% of 62 evaluable patients had a minor response. However, no fraction of 62 rounds to 7%: 4/62 is 6.45%, 8/62 is 8%*. There is also no fraction of 62 that rounds to 36%, the proportion given for objective response.”
So we can be fairly confident that he’s fiddling numbers from the get-go? * It has been pointed out that this is a mistake: 5/62 is 8%. Presume this is just a typo on Andrew’s part – the point remains.
“Burzynski goes on to report preliminary results of clinical trials on colon cancer conducted at the University of Kurume Medical School in Japan. He claims that the “survival rate of more than 5 years” on antineoplastons was 91% compared to 39% in the chemotherapy control group. Burzynski states that “the study was randomized and compared the results of treatment in 19 patients on . . . chemotherapeutics and antineoplastons [with] 56 patients who received . . . chemotherapy alone.” Yet the reference cited (reference 68) is to a case study. Moreover, a 91% survival rate for 19 patients is impossible, as it corresponds to 17.3 patients.”
Again some weird numbers coming out, and reference to an article claimed to be about a trial, yet is in fact a study of one case.
“Burzynski also reports a single-arm study of 16 patients with liver cancer in which it is claimed that patients had longer recurrence-free intervals on antineoplastons than off. The citations supporting the claim include a case report and a lab study. Furthermore, the figure illustrating the results shows “time to recurrence [statistic not stated] in patients given antineoplaston AS2-1 after standard chemotherapy compared to control group.” This is despite there being no control group in the study.”
Again no reference to actual trials, but to a single case and lab-based work. Plus a lack of controls (so no valid comparison/conclusion can be made).
“There are several other serious shortcomings of the article. Survival data are presented in bar charts: the techniques for presentation of survival data (such as Kaplan Meier) are well established and were developed specially to deal with issues such as censored data; bar charts are unable to incorporate these features of survival data and are therefore considered inappropriate. No number presented in the text (eg, proportion surviving 5 years) is presented with a measure of uncertainty, such as a standard error or confidence intervals.”
“I am aware that Burzynski is presenting preliminary data, and I have made no comment or criticism concerning the failure to present inference statistics. Nonetheless, even for a preliminary report, I see no excuse for the use of idiosyncratic and highly inappropriate techniques of presentation, failure to incorporate basic statistical estimates, citation of studies in support of statements when those studies have no bearing on the referring statements, inclusion of obvious mathematical errors, and citation of data for nonexistent control groups.”
He cites Burzynski’s study, to which he is referring, at the end of the letter.
Burzynski then wrote a reply! In the same month as Vickers’ letter was published (emphasis mine):
Reply to Vickers
After reading Andrew Vickers’s letter, one may wonder why the Assistant Attending Research Methodologist of the prestigious Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center would argue about 0.5% of minor response and statistics that were not required, while entirely missing the big picture: a proof of concept and data on efficacy of antineoplastons in Food and Drug Administration–supervised clinical trials involving more than 200 patients. Vickers’s many arguments about unimportant issues obscure the realities of the data that we have presented, which indicate remarkable results in cancers for which chemotherapy and radiation are ineffective.
Publication of my article titled “The Present State of Antineoplaston Research (1)”1 occurred at the same time (March 2004) as the printing of Vickers’s article, “Alternative Cancer Cure: Unproven or Disproven?” in the March 2004 issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. In his review article in CA Cancer J Clin, he made reference to only 2 articles on antineoplastons published since 1987. He failed to cite more than 40 of our publications and approximately 300 publications by other authors on antineoplastons and their derivatives. In his letter to the editors, Vickers criticizes reporting of results of the clinical studies conducted at our clinic and also at the University of Kurume Medical School in Japan. The criticism of our report concerns rounding out percentages to the nearest number. That is why we reported 36% of objective responses instead of 35.5% and 7% of minor responses instead of 6.5%. In the article, I also presented the actual number of patients, allowing readers to make their own calculation.
Vickers objects to my presentation of survival data in bar charts. This objection is unjustified in the context of my review. Kaplan-Meier survival probability estimates are more appropriate for detailed reports describing individual clinical trials. In my review, which describes numerous past clinical trials, there was not enough space for these estimates. Also, one should not compare apples and oranges. We can easily produce Kaplan-Meier diagrams for our studies, but, unfortunately, they were not published for comparison studies, such as Prados et al.2 If Vickers reads our recent articles describing survival in antineoplaston clinical trials, published in peer-reviewed journals between 1999 and 2003, he will indeed find Kaplan- Meier data. Our data on the proportion of patients surviving 5 years contain no uncertainty, since they are not estimated but true survivals. The patients are either dead or alive after 5 years. No standard error or confidence intervals are necessary.
The final reports on the studies conducted at the University of Kurume had not yet been published at the time my manuscript was submitted to Integrative Cancer Therapies. Japanese researchers have published preliminary reports and case reports; these were listed as references. The Kurume researchers presented the summary of research data directly to me with permission for publication. I described these as “preliminary results” on page 55 without making any changes. Those researchers are now preparing the final reports for publication.
In conclusion, I believe I have sufficiently answered Vickers’s questions regarding the clinical trials conducted by our clinic. Further details will be provided in a number of articles that are now in preparation for publication.”
Make of that what you will – no further correspondence noted.
I’ll just paste the acknowledgements from the paper in question here as these names may be of interest, and comment that the figures are generally of very poor quality, for a 2004 paper:
The studies were sponsored by the Burzynski Research Institute and supervised by its Institutional Review Board (IRB). The membership of the IRB was in agreement with the FDA. The authors [just Burzynski, for the record] express their appreciation to Lucy Rorke, MD, professor of pathology and neurology, University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, for review of pathology slides; Dieter Schellinger, MD, professor of radiology, chief, section of neuro-radiology, Georgetown Hospital, Washington, DC; and Joshua Pleasure, MD, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, for evaluation of MRI and PET scans.
The following physicians at the Burzynski Clinic (BC) participated in the study: Robert I. Lewy, Robert Weaver, Marc Bestak, Maxwell Axler, Alonzo Peters, Benjamin Saling, Barbara Burzynski, Tomasz Janicki, Jaroslaw Paszkowiak, Vishnu Alapati, Dmitri Davydov, Vsevolod Dolgopolov, Barbara Drynia, Andrzej Himmel, Wojciech Iwanowski, Gabor Jurida, Mohammad Khan, Eva Kubove, Grace Ormstein, Joseph Nguyen, Mohammed Radmard, Basel Salhoot, Barbara Szymkowski, and Marek Walczak.
The following senior scientists (PhD), microbiologists, pharmacists, and engineers at the BRI and the BC participated in basic research: Robert Waldbillig, Majciej Klimczak, Elwira Ilkowska-Musial, Leszek Musial, Anna Baranowska, Piotr Kuligowski, Ryszard Madry, Donat Manek, Mike Mokrzycki, Andrzej Wieczorek, Anna Wisniewska, Kris Wisniewski, Irma Witkowska, Dennis Wright, and Iwona Zapedowski.
I’ll paste Rhys’ post below in case his site is down.
Threats from The Burzynski Clinic
You probably haven’t heard of a man named Stanislaw Burzynski. He offers a treatment called antineoplaston therapy, which he claims can treat cancer, in a centre called the Burzynski Clinic in Houston, Texas. That’s quite a claim, but the Nobel Prize Committee does not need to convene quite yet, because this treatment has been in non-randomised clinical trials since its discovery by Burzynski some 34 years ago. Moreover, no randomised controlled trials showing the effectiveness of antineoplaston therapy have been published in peer reviewed scientific literature.
I first heard of Burzynski when a friend of mine tweeted about something called “Hope for Laura”, a campaign to raise the money to send this young mother from Kent to the Burzynski Clinic in the hope that they could cure her of her inoperable, terminal brain cancer. The campaign became big news after the well-meaning Rufus Hound tweeted about it.
Because of the campaign, I did a little bit more research into the treatment regime that Laura was hoping embark on and I learned about the lack of scientific evidence for the treatment.
There have been quite a few more campaigns similar to “Hope for Laura” to raise money to send more people to the Burzynski Clinic for the antineoplaston treatment. In one such campaign, Radiohead donated a guitar to raise money for one girl’s treatment.
Constantly, it was pointed out that the treatment was “not available on the NHS” – to many people this might have made it seem potentially wonderful and too expensive for the NHS, but my first reaction was that maybe it just didn’t work. Generally speaking, if something doesn’t work, it’s not provided by the NHS. (I say ‘generally speaking’ as disproven treatments such as homeopathy are still provided, unfortunately)
Eventually, I decided to write a rather scathing blog about Burzynski and the treatment, which you can find here. The thought of someone being promised an effective treatment when in fact, it’s at best unproven disgusts me. The blog went up on August 11th, 2011. A few comments were posted but it soon disappeared into obscurity again. Other friends of mine have written
blogs about the same subject – in particular, Keir Liddle of The 21st Floor and Jennifer Keane, a.k.a ZenBuffy. These particular blogs are excellent and go into a lot more detail about the false hope dilemma.
Orac, of Respectful Insolence, has gone into a lot of detail about Burzynski’s background and the antineoplaston therapy – it’s a blog that I strongly recommend you read.
Then, out of the blue, on the 3rd of November, I received an email from a man called Marc Stephens, claiming to represent the Burzynski Clinic. He was threatening to sue me for libel for my previous blog about the Burzynski Clinic.
Hello Rhys Morgan,
I represent Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, Burzynski Clinic, and Burzynski Research Institute.
It has been brought to our attention that you have content on your website http://thewelshboyo.co.uk/2011/08/the-burzynski-clinic/ and on your Twitter account that is in violation of several state and federal laws.
This is a legal complaint regarding the your multiple twitter account posts, and article you posted online titled “The Burzynski Clinic dated August 28, 2011, by Rhys Morgan”. This correspondence constitutes a demand that you immediately cease and desist in your actions defaming and libeling my clients. Please allow this correspondence to serve as notice to you that you published libelous and defamatory information.
Please be advised that my clients consider the content of your postings to be legally actionable under numerous legal causes of action, including but not limited to: libel, defamation, and tortious interference with business contracts and business relationships.
The information you assert in your postings is factually incorrect and posted with either actual knowledge, or reckless disregard for its falsity, and with the actual and specific malice to injure my client’s business relationships in the community.
I am not sure if you are familiar with Defamation (Libel). If not, I will assist you.
What is Defamation (Libel)
Libel is a published or fixed form of defamation of character; a civil wrong that falsely impugns the reputation or character of a person or entity, opening the target up to public scorn or ridicule. Libel might appear in a magazine, book, newspaper, or in a radio or television broadcast. Signs, billboards or posters can also be mediums for libel. Online libel, or cyber libel takes electronic forms such as email, mailing lists, newsgroups, chat rooms, podcasts, vodcasts and Web pages. Although many citizens do not yet realize it, comments made to chat boards, newsgroups and even mailing lists are all forms of publication. Criticisms of companies or their goods can be a basis for libel charges if the poster misrepresents facts, or fails to qualify his or her post as opinion.
Every comment you made in your article is highly incorrect. I suggest you remove ALL references about my client on the internet in its entirety, and any other defamatory statement about my client immediately, or I will file suit against you.
I am not sure where you obtained your incorrect information, but you will be held liable for your statements. REMOVE ARTICLE IMMEDIATELY.
GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.
9432 Katy Freeway
Houston, Texas 77055
As you may guess, this caused me to panic somewhat. The threat of being sued for libel is not an exciting prospect by any stretch of the imagination, even if you know that your piece is not libellous.
I sent him back this reply:
I am confirming I have read this email.
I am, however, at high school for the rest of today, but I will deal with this situation as soon as possible with the correct action.
I notice you have stated that some tweets are defamatory. I would appreciate you linking to them please so I can deal with them appropriately.
Unfortunately, when he found out that I was in school, his attitude changed.
He didn’t respond to my request that he linked to the allegedly defamatory tweets. His response came about half an hour later, clearly trying to silence me about Burzynski:
Please forward the notice to your parents if you are actually in High School. This is a very serious matter. Although you have a right to freedom of speech, it is against the law to post slanderous or libelous statements. Because your statements have been read by third parties you are now also interfering with my clients business, and you are emotionally effecting Dr. Burzynski’s as well as his cancer patients around the world. Please remove all references about my client, as well as all libelous statements immediately. I have already copied your website and twitter account as
proof of the statements.
Once you remove your libelous statements, you will agree, that you immediately cease and desist from making any further unsupported, defamatory, libelous or harmful statements relating to my clients through any medium, including the Internet.
You are to remove existing statements, and are not to post, host, or make available any libelous, false or defamatory statements against my clients via the Internet, television, radio, print or any other forms of media. You shall not create any new alias, nor use any old alias, to post, host, or make available any statement regarding my client via the Internet, television, radio, print or any other forms of media. You will provide a public apology to Dr. Burzynski and his patients and post it on your websites, and social media sites.
Once removed, I can provide you with the correct information from the National Cancer Institute and several doctors who testified to the effectiveness of Antineoplastons. In addition, my client is FDA approved for Phase 3 clinical trials. You are reading lies and misunderstandings on the internet, which you are still liable for re-posting this information. I appreciate you contacting me to resolve this matter.
I decided at this point to take the post down, not to admit liability or guilt, but so that Mr Stephens and I could hopefully discuss the supposed problems before deciding on an appropriate course of action. In my response, expecting him to know the obligation to follow pre-action protocol, I asked him to tell me the exact words his client,The Burzynski Clinic thought were libellous and why they were libellous.
I am writing this email to inform you that I have taken the post in question down.
However, I state that this is not a confession of liability or acceptance of guilt. This has been taken down until we can agree on an acceptable course of action.
In response, I would like you to tell me exactly which words you think are defamatory and explain why and how they are defamatory. Similarly, I would like you to tell me exactly which tweets are defamatory and why they are defamatory.
I would like this by 6pm GMT on Monday, 7th November.
The next email I received from Mr Stephens seemed rather intimidatory, implying I considered myself “bigger than Google” and that if I did, I would spend life in the court room:
I greatly appreciate you removing the articles and comments.
You are responsible for whatever you post online. You need to spend time understanding defamation laws if you want to start a career as a blogger. You can be sued for “Not Knowing”, its called Negligence. You can not interfere with business relationships and contracts. If you do not understand what you are doing I suggest you stop posting articles. Your “Opinion” can also get you sued. Look up the recent Google case in the UK. Google was sued and lost because their algorithm created “SCAM”, “FRAUD”, etc next to a business owner’s name. We also filed a complaint with Google and they had to remove the wording. If you think you are bigger than Google than enjoy life in the court room. There are many stories online that you can find that tell you the truth about Dr. Burzynski. If you are interested in learning I can guide you to the truth. I’ve watch some of your videos and you are a really smart guy. Use that intelligence in a positive way. Be careful online and good luck.
He seemed to have completely ignored my request to tell me the wording. He also seemed to think he’d managed to silence me, that I’d removed the post forever. However, this was only the 4th of November, one day into the time I’d given him to respond. And so I waited to see if I would receive anything explaining exactly which words he considered libellous and why they were libellous, in the opinion of The Burzynski Clinic. Out of courtesy, I even extended this deadline to the 14th of November. This deadline passed without any response.
Seeing as he’d not bothered to reply to me, I considered reposting the blog as well as an earlier version of this one. First though, I sent an email to the Burzynski Clinic’s corporate email address with a copy of the email thread between Marc Stephens and me, a copy of the original blog and an earlier version of this post. I wanted to know if they considered anything factually incorrect or not.
I attach an email (titled Email Thread.pdf) I have received from one Marc Stephens, who claims to represent you. As you can see from the attachment, he states that he represents you, and furthermore threatens me with libel proceedings in respect of material I posted on my blog.
I have carried out some internet research, and I have not been able to establish whether or not Mr. Stephens is a lawyer; certainly he does not appear to be a member of the California Bar nor the Texas Bar in the light of my visit to the California Bar Association’s and the State Bar of Texas’s websites. Please could you confirm for me whether he does in fact represent you and, if he does, on what basis he does represent you.
In the light of Mr. Stephen’s email I attach a copy of an article (titled Burzynski Blog Final.pdf) I propose to post on my blog as well as the original blog post (titled The Burzynski Clinic.pdf) which is currently offline. Please could you tell me within 7 days what, if any, of the blogs you object to, and, in particular, whether you believe any of the blogs to be factually untrue.
This seems to have been then forwarded on to Marc Stephens. He seemed rather irate and replied with this:
This is my THIRD AND FINAL WARNING to you.
Please convey this message to your entire Skeptic Network, which includes but not limited to, Ratbags.com, thetwentyfirstfloor, quackwatch, etc. I represent Dr. Burzynski, the Burzynski Clinic, and the Burzynski Research Institute. I’ve attached Azad Rastegar, and Renee Trimble from the Burzynski Clinic for your confirmation.
In the following weeks I will be giving authorization to local attorneys in multiple countries to pursue every defamation libel case online, including your online libelous statements. I suggest you shut down your entire online defamation campaign about Dr. Burzynski, and remove ALL recent or previous comments off the internet IMMEDIATELY. The minute you post any libelous comments online about my client I will pursue you and your parents/guardians To the Full Extent of the Law. I have no obligation to train you, or teach you, the meaning of defamation. Google it, or go to the library and research it.
This is a very serious matter. Please confirm your mailing address, which I have on record as (my address). If you do not cooperate an official legal complaint requesting punitive damages will be mailed to that address. I will be contacting your school as well to inform them of your illegal acts.
Again, this is my FINAL WARNING TO YOU.
(Screen capture of Google Maps satellite view of my house)
This is harassment. First of all, he is the only one that thinks I have committed illegal acts. Contacting my school would be wholly inappropriate. Also, repeatedly sending me Google Maps screenshots of my house seems to me like he’s trying to intimidate me.
Of course, I wasn’t going to leave it there. He continues to bring unqualified threats against me. My response?
Dear Mr Stephens
You continue to threaten to bring a claim against me for defamation.
In the event that such a claim is brought in the USA I will rely upon the well-known authority of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan 376 U.S. 254. As you may be aware, this would require your client to show proof of actual malice before they could succeed in any libel claim. My postings are clearly not malicious. I believe in their truth, and I have sought to obtain a comment from your client, or else at least ascertain any objections to specific items within the posting. I am willing to listen. I would certainly reflect your client’s position if asked.
I think I come within the circumstances envisaged by the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Underwager v Salter 22 F.3d 730 at :
“…actual malice” has nothing in common with “ill will.” A person who concludes that a public figure is a knave may shout that conclusion from the mountain tops.”
If the claim is brought in the English courts, you ought to be aware that in the light of the well-known decisions of Rookes v Barnard  AC 1129 and Broome v Cassell  AC 1028 you will not be able to bring a claim for punitive damages on these facts. You also ought to follow the procedures set out in the Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation which require you to, amongst other things, set out precisely what your client objects to and why.
This is an issue which you have failed to address. I am not asking for a legal lecture from you. What I am asking for is clear information of what your client objects to, and why. As things stand, I have heard nothing substantive; I have just received threats.
This speaks volumes.
I would remind you and your client of another aspect of the well-known decision of Underwager v Salter, to which I refer above, which was expressly adopted by the Court of Appeal in England in the decision of Lord Chief Justice Judge in British
Chiropractic Association v Singh  1 WLR 133:
“[Plaintiffs] cannot, simply by filing suit and crying “character assassination!”, silence those who hold divergent views, no matter how adverse those views may be to plaintiffs’ interests. Scientific controversies must be settled by the methods of science rather than by the methods of litigation. … More papers, more discussion, better data, and more satisfactory models–not larger awards of damages–mark the path toward superior understanding of the world around us.”
I also note that you threaten to mention my “illegal acts” to my school.
Notwithstanding the fact that I have committed no “illegal acts”, the threat to involve my school is wholly inappropriate. If an English solicitor was to make such a threat they would be in breach of their professional obligations and subject to disciplinary proceedings by the SRA. Please inform me which US bar association you are a member of so that I can draw their attention to your threats.
Then, on Wednesday, 23rd September – one day before the new deadline was up – I received an email from a law firm called Dozier Internet Law. They informed me they had been hired by the Burzynski Clinic to “investigate and address the issues regarding [my] blog” and respond to my questions in the email sent directly to the Burzynski Clinic.
They’ve not replied within the deadline I gave.
As such, I have reposted the original blog and posted this new blog detailing exactly what has happened to me.
It’s taken nearly a whole month to sort through this legal mess. I’m incredibly lucky that it hasn’t been even longer. I’ve also been very lucky to have help and advice from Alan Henness, Simon Singh and Robert Dougans, associate at Bryan Cave. The legal advice and help I’ve received has been invaluable and has brought me to where I am now – reposting the blog and telling the story of my legal threat.
Since the initial email, I have discovered others have received similar legal threats from Marc Stephens including Peter Bowditch of ratbags.com, who blogged about Burzynski eleven years ago, but is only now receiving this legal threat. Another blog threatened includes Quackometer.net from Andy Lewis, A.K.A Le Canard Noir. You can find a blog about his ordeal with Marc Stephens here:
I posted the blog so that patients, their friends and families would be aware of the whole story about Burzynski and his unproven therapy. I want them to be aware that the treatment seems to be in a constant cycle of trials generating unpublished results. As Dr Howard Ozer, director of the Allegheny Cancer Center in Philadelphia, said – it is scientific nonsense.
So in order to spread the word, I need your help. I would really appreciate it if you could do
the following two things:
Tweet about the Burzynski clinic. You could either write your own tweet or you could retweet my suggested tweet: RT @rhysmorgan Patients need to know the whole truth about Burzynski’s cancer treatment claims: http://rhysmorgan.co/2011/08/the-burzynski-clinic/
OR you could retweet this: RT @rhysmorgan Dr Burzynski does not want you to know the whole truth about his cancer treatments, which is why he tried to sue me http://rhysmorgan.co/2011/11/threats-from-the-burzynski-clinic
Add a link to this blog from your website so that it will increase the PageRank for this blog so that when patients search for Burzynski, they discover this blog as well as Dr Burzynski’s propaganda. This way, they can discover the whole truth and determine for themselves whether it’s worth investing in his treatment.
Reposted from my blog at: http://rhysmorgan.co/2011/11/threats-from-the-burzynski-clinic/