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8. GRAND JURY ON THE MOVE:
BURZYNSKI WINS IN COURTS—
BUT STRUGGLE HEATS UP

From The Cancer Chronicles #21
© May 1994 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.


On March 10, Stanislaw R. Burzynski, MD, PhD, won a major victory in his battle to keep practicing medicine in the state of Texas. An administrative law judge ruled that the former Baylor College of Medicine researcher can continue to treat cancer and AIDS patients in his Houston clinic with his new class of non-toxic medicines called antineoplastons. This ruling came despite another Texas law that supposedly prohibits people from distributing or prescribing drugs that have not yet been approved by the FDA. The judge's ruling had been requested by the State Board of Medical Examiners.

But Judge Earl A. Corbitt upset their plans. He ruled that the Texas Medical Practices Act allows physicians to prescribe "any drug" to minister to the immediate needs of their patients. This right, he said, takes precedence over the general provisions of the Texas Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, which allegedly make it a crime to manufacture, distribute, or prescribe drugs not approved by the FDA. "The decision," says Dr. B.'s victorious attorney, Richard Jaffe, "strikes a significant blow for freedom of choice." Corbitt's decision will stand unless the board changes it for matters of policy.

"The decision is life-saving for many of Dr. Burzynski's advanced cancer and AIDS patients," said Jaffe. "But it is also an important precedent for all complementary health practitioners who use treatments and supplements that have not yet received FDA approval."

BURZYNSKI TO BE INDICTED? The ink was hardly dry on this historic ruling, however, when the U.S. Attorney's office in Houston stepped up its harassment. There is a real possibility that Burzynski will be indicted by the U.S. government in the near future.

For almost 10 years, Burzynski has been investigated by various U.S. Attorneys and Grand Juries in Houston.  Their presumption has been that he defrauds insurance companies by inducing their clients to take a useless cancer remedy. In addition, they allege that he ships his medicines across state lines, in contravention of FDA regulations.

Over the years, at least five different Grand Juries, three consecutive U.S. attorneys, and five assistant U.S. attorneys have been involved in this vendetta. Burzynski employees and family members have repeatedly been called to testify. Dr. B. himself has been called twice. Yet these investigators have never been successful, except in wasting time and energy. In fact, after Burzynski testified three years ago, the result was not an indictment, but a pink slip for U.S. Assistant Attorney, Philip Hilder.

During Easter/Passover week this year, however, there was stepped-up activity. "What is going on now seems to be a desperate last ditch effort to produce an indictment," says the Houston attorney. Numerous current and former employees are again being subpoenaed to testify.

A USELESS REMEDY? Are antineoplastons really a "useless cancer remedy"? Not according to NCI, which conducted a site visit in 9/91 that validated the effectiveness of these drugs in some cases. In fact, the OAM/NIH has now arranged for clinical trials at Sloan-Kettering, the Mayo Clinic, and NCI itself. And not according to hundreds of Dr. B's devoted patients.

It is also well known that Burzynski has a strict company policy that prohibits the shipment of antineoplastons across state lines. However, cancer and AIDS patients are legally allowed to take home a three months' supply of medicine for their own use, and frequently do so. Word about antineoplastons is spreading in this way.

In late April, the U.S. Attorney's office launched an attack on one of Dr. B's most prominent local supporters, the Harris County Attorney, Mike Driscoll, who is also a board member of the Burzynski Research Institute. Burzynski had treated Driscoll's wife, Betty Rose, who had cancer. The Grand Jury subpoenaed copies of the last 10 years of Driscoll's campaign records, which showed that Dr. B. made donations of about $1,000 per year to Driscoll's campaign. There was no crime or impropriety in this, however.

"Many folks on the local political scene are well aware of Driscoll's devotion to his late wife during her illness," wrote the Houston Business Journal, "and his appreciation for Dr. Burzynski's efforts to save her." It called the attempt to insinuate corruption "ham-handed" (4/2). In fact, these reports are part of the public records and can be readily obtained by anyone, according to the Houston Post (4/20). So why all the grandstanding? Driscoll believes it is "to discredit him in connection with grand jury testimony about Dr. Burzynski."

According to attorney Jaffe "Several grand jurors asked him what he thought of Burzynski, and why. He told them that he basically believes Dr. Burzynski is helping people, saving lives, and was a good man" (Houston Insider, 4/20/94).

In the 1980s, the Aetna Insurance Co. sued Burzynski for fraud. This case was eventually thrown out of court, but not before Burzynski countersued for over $100 million. That suit is still alive. Some observers believe that Aetna is behind the investigation. At the very least, Aetna would be the main beneficiary of the indictment. In fact, the government's case against Burzynski is virtually identical to the old Aetna suit.


Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. is director of the The Moss Reports for cancer patients. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven books and three documentaries on cancer-related topics. He is or has been an advisor on alternative cancer treatments to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Urological Association, Columbia University, the University of Texas, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first article on alternative medicine for the Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who in Entertainment (as a film documentarian). This Web site does not advocate any particular treatment for cancer. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems, especially cancer. Before consulting our site please read our full Disclaimer statement.



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