11. JUDGE RESTORES BURZYNSKI'S LICENSE,
CHASTISES TEXAS BOARD
From The Cancer Chronicles #26
© Feb. 1995 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
[JUST BEFORE THE FEDERAL AXE FELL ON BURZYNSKI!
THESE SEEM LIKE HALYCON DAYS! --ED.]
Dr. Stanislaw R. Burzynski, the controversial
Houston, TX cancer doctor, has won a major political struggle against the
Texas State Board of Medical Examiners (TSBME). On Friday, February 3, 1995,
an Austin judge ruled that Burzynski, one of the country's leading alternative
doctors, could continue to practice medicine in the state. This came as
welcome news to the staff of the Institute, as well as to more than 200
people with cancer and AIDS who believe their lives depend on their continued
access to antineoplastons.
Burzynski discovered these natural, non-toxic peptides in Poland more
than two decades ago. They are currently under examination worldwide, including
at the NCI, MSKCC, and the Mayo Clinic.The TSBME initiated this action several
years ago, when it charged Dr. B with violating Texas law by treating patients
with drugs that are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Burzynski replied that Section 5.09 of the Texas Medical Practices act
authorized him to treat patients with any necessary drugs. The law reads
that "a physician licensed to practice medicine under this Act may
supply patients with any drugs, remedies or clinical supplies as are necessary
to meet the patients' immediate needs." Back in May 1993, a two-day
hearing was held before an administrative law judge, Earl Corbitt. His ruling
was to serve as a recommendation to the TSBME. Corbitt eventually ruled
that antineoplastons were indeed necessary to meet the patients' immediate
needs for survival. He received testimony from Dr. Nicholas Patronas, the
chief of Neuroradiology at NCI, who led a site visit for the government
in which it was concluded that Burzynski's treatment was in fact effective
in the treatment of some cases of brain cancer.
He also heard from several patients who claimed to have greatly benefitted
from the nontoxic peptide treatment. Corbitt concluded that the State had
not offered any evidence to the contrary.
In August, 1994, however, the TSBME met again and emphatically rejected
Judge Corbitt's decision. Astonishingly, they ruled that the mere survival
of patients did not qualify as an "immediate need" under the law.
Therefore, according to the Board, Dr. B. had been breaking the law by giving
this treatment to his patients outside the context of FDA trials. In a decision
that outraged defenders around the world, the Texas Board put this innovative
researcher on probation for 10 years. This was a sword of Damocles over
his head and that of hundreds of anxious patients.
Dr. Burzynski, through his veteran lawyer, Richard Jaffe, appealed the
Board's decision to Texas District Court Judge Paul Davis. They expected
a long and drawn out struggle. Thus, even his most ardent supporters were
surprised when Judge Davis ruled from the bench (i.e., immediately) to reverse
the Board's decision. He called their decision:
"In excess of the agency's statutory authority, not reasonably
supported by substantial evidence, capricious or arbitary, and characterized
by abuse of discretion."
It is now up to the Texas medical board to decide whether or not it will
appeal this stinging rebuke. If they do, as now seems likely, Burzynski
supporters say they are likely to be dealt an even more definitive rejection
of the notion that Texas patients are too stupid to make their own choices
in cancer care.
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