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.

Sincerely,
Marc Stephens
Burzynski Clinic
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:

Dear Sir,

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.

Sincerely,

Rhys Morgan

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:

Hello Rhys,

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.

Regards,

Marc Stephens

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.

Dear Sir

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.

Sincerely,

Rhys Morgan

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:

Hello Rhys,

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.

Thanks,

MARC

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.

Dear Sir,

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.

Yours faithfully,

Rhys Morgan

This seems to have been then forwarded on to Marc Stephens. He seemed rather irate and replied with this:

Rhys,

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.

Regards,

Marc Stephens

(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 [14]:

“…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 [1964] AC 1129 and Broome v Cassell [1972] 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 [2011] 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.

Yours faithfully,

Rhys Morgan

Then, on Wednesday, 23rd September (Edited: Typo!) – November 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.

Published by

Rhys

Rhys is a skeptical activist with a thing for alternative medicine and tackling big quacks. He was given the Grassroots Skeptic Award at TAM London in 2010, after exposing Miracle Mineral Solution – an alternative treatment for Crohn’s disease – on the internet. Last year, the Texan Burzynski clinic threatened him with a libel case when he wrote about expensive ‘antineoplaston’ therapy it offered for life threatening cancers. (They didn’t follow through on that threat.) He’s since written for Comment is free, and talked in the mean time to various skeptical groups, including Skeptics in the Pub groups and ThinkCon 2011.

480 thoughts on “Threats from The Burzynski Clinic”

      1. Well done for such a calm and clear response to these bullying tactics. When libel “lawyers” are harassing schoolboys to get them to submit, you know they’ve got something to hide.

        I was amused by Marc Stephens’ comment in his first letter that “Every comment you made in your article is highly incorrect.” Which presumably includes the first paragraph of your original article: “The Burzynski Clinic is a clinic dedicated to treating cancer patients. It is based in Houston, Texas. It pioneers a treatment called antineoplaston therapy.”

          1. GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY, fight those who strive to keep you down, to silence and intimidate…

            Thumbs up Rhys

      1. The case being dropped against him doesn’t suddenly make him not a quack. A law case can’t suddenly make a medicine which doesn’t work, work.
        Burzynski STILL hasn’t published his studies and their results. Until he does this, we can’t even evaluate if the trial methodology is tight and whether the medicine works. Until such a time comes that results are published, one has to assume that the medicine does not work.

  1. This is getting really out of hand now. Is it even realisticly plausible that lawsuits can be brought against so many people like this at the same time? Would the lawsuit get anywhere? Has ANYONE actually received an account of the words objected to for their respective articles?

    I’m also intrigued that his emails to you are almost verbatim to the ones sent to Andy Lewis. Do libel lawyers usually send out copy and paste emails? I would think not. And I also doubt this person is a lawyer – though to be fair I don’t think he has ever directly said he was a lawyer, but he’s good at dancing aorund the question. If he is a lawyer then he needs reporting to the correct body for his wholely unprofessional conduct.

    If Burzynski’s treatment works he should release the information. It’s been 30 years now. More than long enough to have SOMETHING worthwhile to present.

    If his treatment works he will be heralded as a saviour of humanity in many regards!

    Threatening to tell your teacher sounds like such a childish thing to do as well. These are nasty threats attempting to silence criticism.

    1. I’m no libel lawyer, but I do work in Communications, sometimes with lawyers, and I can say I wouldn’t be surprised if they do in fact use copy and paste emails, with only minor editing to make it relatively specific to that case.

      Reason being, court cases typically rely on precedent and specific wording. Deviate from the accepted wording and you risk unintended interpretations. Lawyers are extremely cautious about what they say, particularly in writing.

      I could be wrong, but that’s my experience.

      That said (and for that reason) it’s obvious Marc Stephens is not a lawyer, but merely understands enough about them to try and imitate one.

  2. You handled the situation perfectly. Don’t this person, or anyone else, intimidate you. The part @ the end where he actually sent a screen-capture of your house to you is clearly going way over the line. That, indeed, speaks volumes about what kind of people they are.

  3. Fantastic work Rhys, well done for standing up to them. I work in, proven, cancer treatment within the NHS and I find it disheartening to hear of families being exploited for fake treatments. I think the NHS does a fantastic job working within the confines of a finite budget for treatments. It does not help public perception of cancer treatment on the NHS when national newspapers print stories of families ‘having to pay for treatments that the NHS won’t fund’. These fake treatments do not get the critical appraisal that proven cancer treatments do but this is rarely,if ever, mentioned in the coverage. Your work to raise the profile of quack medicine is therefore hugely important and worthwhile. I’m looking forward to hearing more news.

    1. Man, that is one loony letter!

      If the Burzynski Clinic were legitimate, why would it represent itself this way, with rabid fallacious attacks on skepticism? When you see barking ducks, govern yourself accordingly.

  4. I love that he sent you a screen grab of your house from Google Maps, assuming you had already supplied him with your address? Was he worried that you didn’t know where your house is?

  5. Rhys, I applaud you and your efforts. I have often found myself where you are…against big companies who feel that the individual is easier to break and silence. But whereas mine was merely on discomforts and financial situations, your fight is on something deeper…the selling of fake Hope.

    From everything I have read you did your research, acted accordingly and made every effort to come to a reasonable conclusion. It simply seems that they do not wish to reason, just fight. So give them what they ask for!

    I found your blog here through Stephen Fry Retweeting it, clearly you have made an impression! I commend you and wish you all the best in the good fight!

    Sincerely,

    DJ Dave

  6. Since Mr Stephens has been good enough to supply you with free legal training, perhaps you might like to reciprocate by pointing out the grammatical and spelling errors in his missives: it’s/its, affect/effect, then/than, to name the more obvious ones.
    Not what I’d expect from a lawyer.

    1. Oh my life, agreed! His grammar is appalling. Legalese is based on the very principle of “every comma spells life or death”, so this is just … awful.

  7. This blog entry should be in the dictionary under “pwned”.

    Rhys, if you’re ever in my neck of the woods: I’ll buy the drinks!

    Daniela
    Berlin, Germany

  8. Excellent post Rhys.

    Of course Burzynski can make all this go away by simply publishing the results of all his trials in a relevant peer reviewed journal.

    Not publishing and throwing legal threats at those who question is exactly what we would expect to see from someone who is a charlatan. As this is the behaviour we see it’s impossible to judge whether Burzynski is actually a charlatan or if his treatments are as he claims genuine. He can make all this questioning go away simply by publishing the results of properly conducted clinical trials that demonstrate the efficacy of his treatments and rule out all other possible causes such as spontaneous remission or placebo.

  9. Well done Rhys! Keep up the good work and don’t let Burznyski beat you down. People need to hear the truth about this clinic to distract from all the rampant celebrity promotion

  10. I agree with the supportive comments above and would add just one note.

    If the Burzynski Clinic was unhappy with the way the man Marc Stephens has been conducting himself, then one option open to them was to deny knowledge of his activities and claim he is a loose cannon or rogue supporter over whom they have no control or influence. However, your account reveals that an e-mail sent by you to the Clinic seems to have been forwarded to him. I think they would find it hard to sustain a claim that he acts independently of them.

    This narrows their options considerably.

  11. Serious business, I know, but there’s something slightly hilarious in his threatening to tell your school. Did he also threaten to get his mum to ring your mum?

  12. Well done. You are an awesome person. Your answer to his unfounded threatsis magnificent. You are an example to follow.

    For the people interested that haven’t read the Quackometer posts and commens in the issue, this Marc Stephens seems to be a PR guy of Burzynski or it’s listed as so in their website but it’s trying to pass up as an attorney… Anyway, this person is also an infamous and obnoxious individual Yahoo! Answers user nicknamed MAS that when he doesn’t get what he wants recurrs to stupid threat and teenagish behaviour.
    http://www.burzynskipatientgroup.org/contact-us (link that proves he is a PR for the company)
    http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110319041727AAIL4BL (link to MAs, see coments in Best Answer).

    Links to the new post about this post in the Quackometer:
    http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2011/11/the-burzynski-clinic-threatens-17-year-old-blogger.html

    Paula G V aka Yukimi, Spain.

  13. Quite simply one of the most eloquent, well thought, insightful and interesting blogs I have seen. And at only 17 who knows how good this guy can get? Keep it coming.

  14. I heard of this on Twitter (and have Tweeted a link here myself). It’s one thing to run a dodgy clinic offering ineffective cures, but to resort to this level of bullying and intimidation is beyond the pale, and if it isn’t illegal it damn well ought to be.

    The truth will out, and the likes of Rhys Morgan should be saluted for their efforts.

  15. Kudos to you Rhys, having been on the end of a legal threat for libel myself (which turned out to be bluster when I ignored it – but not without sleepless nights and lots of advice) it isn’t easy to stay calm and considered. Kudos to you on this excellent post.

    Hopefully this organisation will have poisoned their own well with this foaming attack dog PR stunt.

  16. “I suggest you remove ALL references about my client on the internet in its entirety”
    Now I may be being pedantic, but I think its more than a little unreasonable to ask you to remove ALL references to Dr Burzynski from the internet.
    I reckon your website can only account for a tiny fraction of them, so I can only conclude that Marc Stephens expects you to hack into websites such as the Observer, Twitter and Google and delete any mention of Dr Burzynski. Now for a man who profess to be so concerned that you understand the law as it applies to computers, to encourage such behaviour is shocking and surprising to say the least. And I’d hate to see his reaction when you get as far as deleting the Burzynski Clinic website…

  17. To my mind, this Marc Stephens character is clearly an oaf and an idiot, and to add insult to injury, his own stupidity has made it obvious that he’s also an incompetent. Well done for such a measured response.

  18. As others, you’re an inspiration to the Skeptical Community.

    Keep up the good work Rhys — and keep making those friends. Knowing people like Alan Henness, Simon Singh and Robert Dougans is invaluable. Kudos to them for giving you a helping hand.

  19. i suggest you guys watch the buzynski documentary and then you will know that his treatment DOES actually work.

    also there is nothing wrong with charging money for treatment or for filing libel lawsuits.

    I suggest you all do some independent research.

    1. Sam, documentaries aren’t a substitute for published research with reliable data. And whilst there’s nothing wrong with charging for treatment or with filing a libel suit, there is something wrong, ethically if not legally, with charging vast amounts to take part in a trial dressed up as a cure and with using shouty, intimidating language at a 17 year old.

    2. Actually, under the law there would be an issue charging for treatment, as this treatment has not been approved to treat Cancer. The clinic gets around this by charging people to participate in their trials. This is not the norm for clinical trials which usually done for no cost to the patient. The fact that he charges for participation is just wrong. I know his supporters will argue he has to charge as big parma will not support him for a plethora of reasons, but working in the field of Private Equity, there are other options for funding not connected to existing pharmacy companies that would jump at funding this, if proof of its success was more than anecdotal. I am sure it has helped some, but how do we know these people would have not recovered without anything. Belief is strong medicine, faith healers count on this, and the power of the mind can do many things. For all the supposed successes, how many deaths have been speed up?

      So I agree , it is fair to charge for treatment, but this is not treatment

    3. I saw a documentary about faked moon landings once. I guess if it’s a documentary it MUST be true. Oh, and then I saw a documentary about fairies at the back of a garden. That must be true too. Then, gosh, there was a documentary about aliens using the Nazca Lines as alien runways. Can you imagine? It was on TV! It was edited! Therefore, it must absolutely, always, be true.

      Good ‘ol documentaries. The ultimate truth of the Universe. Beat that, science!

      (For the ironically deficient, the above text is called “sarcasm”. Google it.)

  20. Rhys, what a bunch of bullies. I admire your perseverance. Whatever the lack of merit in their case, you have much better things to do with your time.

    It does look like bluster is all they have though.

  21. I’m incredibly impressed with the way you have handled this. Even after reading similar threats sent to Andy Lewis and Peter Bowditch, I was still shocked. For him to post photographs of your house is just unbelievable.

    I don’t think I’m going to be making my identity public any time soon. I can’t imagine how intimidated I would feel if I had private details and photographs online and then got emails like that. Even under a pseudonym, I was very wary of writing about Burzynski precisely because of the possibility of this sort of thing happening to me.

  22. I am hugely impressed by the way he insisted that you had to remove ALL references to the Burzynski Clinic from your website, your Twitter page and even implied that you should remove all references to it from the whole internet, but then later insisted on a written apology.

    You are an inspiration, sir. Keep on keeping on.

  23. Well done Rhys, you deserve a medal for dealing with this so maturely and professionally.
    One thing that is bugging me though. I saw a documentary on Burzynski a few months back that was like 2 hours long covering the antineoplastons therapy and it was FULL of court videos, testimonials from patients who were definitely not actors or actresses testifying that his treatment worked and worked well.
    The angle of the video was showing a doctor that could possibly hold THE cure for cancer, but all his work, research and evidence was being supressed by the FDA and other governmental bodies. We can all assume why this was the case.

    As an enlightened individual I believed what I saw in the video and it was hard not to be moved, shocked and downright angry at the supression of his findings and rooms full of people that he had cured.

    I am not persay “Pro-Burzynski” but I believe that two sides of a story must be told in order for everyone to know the full facts of a situation before being able to make a sound judgement on what is and has taken place.

    Just today, there was an announcement from Canadian scientists that they have found a way to stop and reverse the early onset on dementia, yet they have no solid grounding for their results. This made front page news on the BBC website. Burzynski’s work has been ignored, suppressed and effectively written off yet could possibly be the biggest scientific breakthrough in modern medicine.

    Again, I respect and applaud you for standing up to incredulous threats against you, but I implore you to watch the video and see for yourself the “real” story of why the name Burzynski has been tainted.

    If you’ve read this far, then I thank you for your time and best of luck with your blogging!

    Paul.

    1. The Alzheimer’s study does have “solid grounding for their results”. They electrically stimulated the brain and it caused changes in the brain as a result, including (apparantly) increased numbers of cells in the hippocampus, the one part of the brain where new brain cells are commonly formed. and we already know that the rate of cell genesis in the hippocampus can be modified by all kinds of things, from drugs to stress to electrical activity.

      Now we don’t know if this will actually work in preventing dementia because it’s just preliminary and as yet unpublished data from a conference (and the BBC probably shouldn’t have reported it, being unpublished) but assuming the results are real, they have a perfectly solid grounding.

      1. Concerning that movie… Testimonials DO NOT substitute for large scale well designed and well conducted clinical research that is published and peer reviewed in major scientific and medical journals and then subsequently replicated by many other reputable reseach and medical centers.

    2. @Paul
      Anecdote is not data. Anecdote is not data. Anecdote is not data.

      (I am repeating this because argument by anecdote comes up over and over and over again, is always utterly wrong, and I want to ram the point home.)

      It’s easy to fill a room with people who attest to improvement with a given therapy. You just pick the ones who did improve. (They’re also motivated to believe that they didn’t waste their money.) The ones who didn’t are dead or weren’t invited and therefore cannot address the camera.

      If the results are so strong then it should not be too difficult to submit a scientific paper with all the proper controls, especially after years of research and presumably lots of money coming in.

      Or if you think there is evidence, can you tell me whether the difference between the treatment and the control groups reached statistical significance?

    3. Paul….
      While your post is certainly sincere, I fear that your enlightenment is, perhaps, not quite as complete as you seem to feel it is. Simply because you have bought into a propaganda film does not make the so-called facts presented in that film the whole truth. There are some rules that I believe one should use before accepting anything as “truth”.
      1) The facts presented must come from, and be agreed about, by several, independent sources. My range of comfort falls in the 3 to 5 area, although more is better than less.
      2) I assume that the facts presented by anyone that has a vested interest in something, be it a cure for “cancer” or a new style of vacuum cleaner, will be skewed to make that product look as good as possible and minimize or ignore any problems with it.
      3) How repeatable is the experiment? Can anyone take the chemicals, and the protocols that Dr. Burzynski has developed and get similar results?
      4) Does it pass the “smell” test? I.E. if it smells like week old fish, there is probably a problem with it, even if I do not see it right off the bat.
      5) Is it too good to be true? It has been my experience that 100% of the time, if it seems too good to be true, then, it is. It is either a scam, or, there are problems that are being ignored.

      As for the anecdotes presented in the film….It is a fact that, given a large population of people with a fatal disease, there will be a few of them that show a miraculous recovery. For what ever reason, the disease will vanish and will not recur. Also, there should be follow-up studies to keep track of the patients and see if the cancer returns some years down the pike. Remission can be a temporary thing. From the data I have dug up on the Net, this treatment has been given to many thousands of folks. If it were truly effective, perhaps a larger percentage of the recipients would have shown positive results. I did, for example, find data gathered by a Canadian group where out of 36 patients, 33 had shown no positive results, one had shown a temporary remission, and, the remaining 2 survivors still had extensive cancer growth. Also, while the movie shows some significant improvement in survival rates, there are a lot of postings describing failures. Dr. Burzynski claims that there are NO harmful side effects, yet there are other sources that report a number of side effects that, while perhaps not as as bad as radiation and chemo, are still bad enough.
      All this discussion really leads me to the conclusion that the only way to resolve some of the questions about the effectiveness of this treatment is to set up double-blind tests by an independent, third party that will apply Dr. Burzynski’s treatment, according to his protocols, and, a placebo using the same protocols. This should provide us with reasonably objective and statistically relevant data and, perhaps, answer the question whether this is really a general purpose treatment, or a scam.

      Now, as for a conspiracy between big Pharma and the FDA to suppress the doctor’s treatment, while that is tempting to believe, and, there certainly is the appearance of something very odd going on, It seems to me that it is more likely a personal turf war and a somewhat clumsy attempt to grab a pot of gold, rather than a conspiracy where the drug manufacturers are cracking the whip and the FDA is leaping to their command. I would like to see a bit more of a paper trail before accepting that possibility.
      As I was watching the movie, and listening to the information about the FDA’s actions, and, their testimony before congress, I flashed back to an interview with George W. Bush that, for me, defined the real reason we had attacked Iraq. Although the government was pushing the idea of WMDs and other falsehoods at the time, Dubya got up in front of the press to discuss the motivations for starting the war and other things, and when pushed about the reasons for attacking Iraq, finally said (with surprising sincerity), “Well, he (Saddam) tried to kill my daddy”. Family….an attack on it can engender some extreme responses!

      Right now, As for Dr. Burzynski, I remain highly skeptical that his treatments are long-term cures for cancer. I am willing to accept that they may work, but, as I mentioned earlier, they would have to be tested and proven by studies done by objective researchers, and, would have to provide consistent results for EVERYONE that uses the chemicals and protocols. Otherwise, it is little more than faith healing. While that can be a powerful tool, it is not effective enough to have widespread use, or to make it worth the $350 or so per day that the good doctor charges.
      Regards
      Dave Mundt

    4. Paul,
      there is great concern, and some evidence, that what Burzynski is giving his patients is not what he says it is. burzynskiscam.com gives one story of a patient discovering this, and the Texas Medical Board is prosecuting him for two similar cases. All indicate that Burzynski sold them ordinary chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs, massively marked up through his pharmacy and without telling them this, as part of the drug regime. So there being some remission and tumour shrinkage anecdotes isn’t really that surprising, if he’s dispensing known drugs, and that would also mean that what he’s doing isn’t some new all-natural breakthrough. Note that the response to the Texas Medical Board is more along the lines of “these drugs can be prescribed off-label this way”, not “he doesn’t prescribe these drugs at all.” Quite aside from whether his use of these drugs is legal, said use completely undermines the claim that his “non-toxic, antineoplaston” therapy must be responsible for any improvements experienced by the patients.

      As for the “anecdotes are not data” issue: if I flip a coin 20 times, and it comes up heads every time, it doesn’t mean that the coin has two heads or is biased. Sometimes the unlikely happens.

  24. Well done! Any company that attempts to bully and intimidate those who speak ill of them, especially by legal mumbo-jumbo, is one that ought not to exist.

  25. Great reply, I will note, pretending to be a lawyer is against the law, and I have a strong feeling that this Marc is no lawyer. While he never says he is directly, he sure seems to imply it. Note he did not respond to your questions on which bar he was admitted to, as he probably isn’t.

    If he makes further accusations and continues to imply he is a lawyer, call him on it, and report to the Texas Bar.

  26. Great job, Rhys. I’ll do my level best to help with those page ranks…I suspect they’ve already soared pretty high! You’re all over my Twitter acct this morning – Ben Goldacre, David Allen Green, etc etc.

  27. Rhys – you’re a top-notch guy. Be proud of yourself on this one. Your calm measured response to this idiot is an example of just how to succeed in life.

    And if the joker does contact your school about this, I would hope that they’d take one look at the facts here and come straight to the conclusion that you stand as a fine representative for the quality of education that they provide. If I were a teacher, particularly in science or engineering, and you were one of my students, I’d shake you warmly by the hand and tell everyone else in the room that you deserve a hefty round of applause.

  28. “Every comment you made in your article is highly incorrect”

    Including the one stating who provided the alleged treatment? So no basis for libel as your identification of the putative plaintiff was “highly incorrect”. And I’m with Sheldon Cooper on the use of modifiers of incorrectness.

  29. Let’s make it a trending tag. #governyourselfaccordingly Everyone should link to an article documenting either Mr. Stephen’s professional conduct or the scientific validity of the Burzynski clinic. Or any lack thereof.

    1. If we could get Stephen Fry on board with this, we could make it go high :)
      I’m a lowly barely followed person in twitter but he is awesome and has such a huge following.

  30. Rhys, all kudos to you! You carried yourself so well and so professionally.

    It frightens me that this went beyond threat-of-libel-suit and well into harassment. Possibly criminal harassment. Law suits are bad enough, but at least they’re based in law. Him sending a map of your house is … wow. Just frightening.

    I hope you are able to consider notifying police (US/UK) and your internet provider(s). I suffered criminal harassment once – Virgin Media were awesome – on a far more minor scale, but it was ugly.

    I’m delighted you’ve blogged all this. GOOD!

  31. isn’t this in phase 111 FDA trials and on medline and medical databases?

    . I think it is a shame this dialogue which clearly got out of hand.
    it seems it has taken away from work that the US gov tried to suppress. I see that people like Tony Robins and New York Times seem to support this and they would not be backing something without having researched it as they have more at stake than a school boy?

    Don’t we want to back up people who stand up against pharma that are preventing us all to use natural supplements and banning them?

    .
    It might be worth watching the movie itself and see what you think for yourself .. http://www.burzinskimovie.com

    as a patient who is suffering from cancer, having been told that NHS are actually exploring these very things themselves now.. it seems there must be something worth supporting?

    When you label someone and start this kind of dialogue.. they are bound to defend themselves using such words.

    Maybe this is a good thing so more people find out about their work..

    i would encourage anyone to watch the movie and see the US government hounding the guy, maybe we should be supporting him..

    It is a shame that the clinic has seemed to be heavy handed, but i think this is typical US way to deal with things not particular to the clinic. Their way of life. It also seems that unfortunately everywhere in the world are jumping on the same strategy, going down this path too with the ‘sue everyone’ culture.. it just gets everyone up in arms… and wastes time getting to what is important.

    I really hope this works out between everyone and we can focus on the solutions vs argue.

    What a mess,
    wish you well Rhys with your fight, hope it gets resolved soon for you.

    These treatments seem to be in FDA trials .. i am sure that they will decide what is ok or not .. and have all the information.

    1. Tony Robbins has cried to the heavens that whey is evil and will kill you. Well, it might if you are extremely lactose intollerant, because it is nothing more or less than the liquid part of milk, once the solids have been removed.

      Ever drunk skim milk? Than you drank something that was 70-85% whey.

      Mr. Robbins is a motivational speaker with no medical credentials. He is not an authority on cancer treatment.

    2. Nooooo……… Speaking as someone who lives, and has always lived, in the US, I can safely say that not all of us are, if you will forgive the language, douchebags. That is not our “way of life”.

      Just saying..

    3. @sorrytoreadthis

      “When you label someone and start this kind of dialogue.. they are bound to defend themselves using such words. ”

      No, they aren’t … certainly not if they are honest. This sort of sloppy thinking and sloppy reading permeates your post. I suggest a course or 20 on critical thinking.

    4. The NHS is not researching antineoplastons or anything else that Burzynski and his cronies may claim that is being researched. Read Rhys’s original blog on the Burzynski Clinic and many others that have looked into this organisation. The best advice, however, can be found at http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2011/11/25/hope-or-false-hope/
      Years of “research” yet not a single publication of any meaningful results. As for the “movie”, it’s an informercial, not a documentary. The Internet is awash with such nonsense (e.g. YouTube) and as for conspiracy theories about FDA or US government suppression and using “natural supplements” – give me a break! Tried, tested, failed.

      Take care of your health, avoid peddlars of so-called “complementary and alternative” therapies and don’t get quacked!

    5. @sorrytoreadthis – I sincerely doubt the NHS is even remotely considering antineoplasteon treatments as it is totally unproven. It has been in ‘trial’ for over 30 years and all previous FDA trials ended in farce. No data has been forthcoming AT ALL on the efficacy of this treatment, and frankly I am inclined to believe the word of Cancer Research on this as detailed here: http://cancerhelp.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-questions/what-is-antineoplaston-therapy

      I appreciate that as a sufferer you are willing to consider almost anything (and believe me, I have extensive family experience of dealing with cancer), but Burzynski is nothing more than a callous and cynical vampire taking huge sums of money from vulnerable people for nothing more than Snake Oil. Sure, some people might say that some vitamin or other helps on the basis of no real scientific evidence, and that is reprehensible to give false hope, but at least it doesn’t cost vast sums of money. The polar opposite of Burzynski and his so-called treatments.

      Well done Rhys, this is a great article and your correspondence with Stephens shows that he nothing more than a semi-literate lackey trying to scare you into submission. He has no legal basis whatsoever, and I’m sure we all support your principled and dignified stand.

    6. A “we know where you live” threat is a typical US defence? Maybe if you’re in the mob!

      Meanwhile, sorrytoreadthis, you seem to be trying to have it both ways, that the medical establishment en masse is conspiring to persecute Burzynski, and that some (supposed) investigation by the NHS into his treatment means there must be something to it. So a flat-out rejection is evidence of a conspiracy, any other reaction is evidence of support…. what sort of result *would* you consider to be an indication that the treatment is not what it claims to be?

    7. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by science-y words and a phase III trial. Getting approval from the FDA for a phase III trial isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it’s hardly an impossible task–all you have to do is demonstrate that the drug you’re testing a) won’t kill people, and b) shows some evidence of doing what it’s intended to do, such that it warrant further investigation. This guy has been at it for 30 years and has only now gotten that far. Dr. Burzynski was able to provide minimal evidence from his in-office phase II trials because half the time, his protocol involved administering his drug along with traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatments–of course tumors are going to shrink when you hit them with extant, already-proven therapies.

      The real challenge for him will be during the actual phase III trial, should he be able to get it off the ground. (And chances are good he won’t. Finding a hundred people willing to pay $200,000 a pop for your “miracle cure” is one thing; finding federal or private funding on a full scale is another thing entirely.) He’ll have to find numerous research institutions that don’t think his entire concept is bollocks, with numerous oncologists willing to recommend patients for the trial, with numerous patients willing to go in for something that’s an indefensible load of crap. And then he’ll have to prove, under standardized and double-blind protocol, that the treatment actually works–which will be a challenge for him because the treatment demonstrably DOESN’T WORK.

  32. “I have already copied your website and twitter account as proof of the statements.”

    Without your express permission? Without contacting Twitter? If so, this is a copyright violation and needs to be dealt with accordingly.

    Futhermore, albeit petty, google maps are also the subject of strict copyright protection; both Google and TerraMetrics. You can use the mapping service as it is presented to you, you cannot, however, steal any image you might wish to use for the purpose of intimidation.

    Sorry for the tangential comment, but Marc Stephens’s bullying correpondence irked me to a ‘people in glass houses’ stance.

  33. Hi Rhys,

    Your steadfast attitude is fantastic! Your plight is so depressingly similar to many people bullied into silence by scare tactics – I think lawyers acting this way disgrace the legal profession and the whole mechanism of justice. But thank you for showing us that resolve and calm are effective weapons against this unfair harassment. Keep going and don’t let them intimidate you!

  34. Rhys, I am floored by your adept handling of this situation. I wish I had been half as conversant in legal issues at your age! Kudos, well done!

    Marc Stephens, if you ever do read this, a few words for you: If you want to wipe off the internet everyone who believes that Burzynski is unethical and a quack, I propose you start with me. Unlike you, I really AM a lawyer. So I have only two words to say to you: Bring It.

    (And Marc, you might want to brush up on the concepts of countersuits and harassment.)

  35. If ever pondering those who have brought shame to their name, remember the quack Burzynski and the harasser Marc Stephens. Before doing business with Dozier Internet Law, be sure to ask them if Mr. Stephens is still employed with them and if so, how they feel about how he conducted himself in this case.

    1. I find it quite informative that Mr. Stephens recommends you Google for information and not to seek legal counsel. As someone who grew up around attorneys, it seems curious to me that someone who seems to be representing himself as an attorney would respond in the way Mr. Stephens has.

  36. Rhys, since this person – if he actually exists – has provided no identification in regard to his claim of being a lawyer, he does not sign his notes with any indication that he is a lawyer, and he does not provide any evidence to support his assertions, you should ignore the threats. In any case, I’m sure you can find a genuine lawyer who would serve you pro bono in this matter, and resolve it for you.

    If this man has misrepresented himself, I have the feeling that he himself is culpable under the law. Please consider that possibility, as well.

    Trusting that this nuisance will soon pass for you,

    James Randi.

  37. Rhys, you are the type of person that we need to be in charge. Someone who has a combination of intelligence and sense of justice such as yourself is the perfect role model, as you have just become for me, a student looking for good in the world. It’s easy to cower back after someone with power attacks people with illegitimate legal threats. However, you have continued to fight for your cause in a professional matter, and your actions deserve the support of anybody who has a clear conscious. Thank you for your fight, we will support your cause as much as possible.

  38. Well done, don’t be intimidated.. all this nonsense just reinforces that they have something to hide. let them defend their claims.

  39. Linked here from Bad Astronomy.

    You handled this situation with an astonishing amount of maturity and professionalism. Good on you for not caving.

  40. Interestingly, this person’s corespondence with you sounds a great deal like the sort of pseudo-legal drivel that 419 scammers (the infamous West African “I am a Nigerian prince”) use. They throw out a script that sounds official and important but if challenged they quicklt devolve into “you must listen to me” and various threats.
    “Govern Yourself Accordingly” sounds like the sort of phrase these people use, something that is technically English but does not sound like any Western idiom.
    I used to have a good deal of fun convincing check scammers to send coplies of their bogus checks to US FBI or Secret Service addresses and then claiming to have cashed their checks (which of course I could not have, since the checks went to US Federal authorities).

  41. If you posted a rant about the efficacy of Bayer aspirin, and you stated that “…it just doesn’t reduce fevers or headache pain…”, the corporate lawyers would probably ignore you, because everyone knows aspirin works. And even if they accepted the challenge, they can point to extensive research showing that you are wrong. And they will all have a good laugh at you.

    But that they can’t even cite back to you the criticism they’ve got with your claims [!!!] Good grief. These people are evil-doers, stealing massive amounts of money from desperate people. Fight on, good sir!

    1. Exactly. When challenged, a valid response would have been to cite published peer-reviewed literature with the results of their therapy from multiple centers. Instead, they expect you to take their word for it, in spite of overwhelming evidence that it doesn’t work. Anecdote is not data.

      Threatening a lawsuit in order to quiet criticism is a big red flag indicating that they know they’re wrong. Congratulations to Rhys for an excellent, thoughtful rebuttal.

  42. This is an inspirational and expertly written post. Your final email to Stephens is the best thing I’ve read with regard to this whole debacle. I hope you don’t mind but I have quoted it in my own blog (with full attributes and links, of course!). This is an incredible cause worth standing up for; the fight against bullying and stifling, and in defense of freedom of speech and scientific method.

  43. Nice going, Rhys.

    My first thought on reading Marc Stephens’s letter to you was, “This guy’s not a lawyer. If Buzyanski’s his client, he wouldn’t be giving the clinic address as his, he’d have his own office. Conversely, if he worked out of the clinic, he wouldn’t call them his ‘client.'”

    As for the rest of his communications to you, it’s pretty clear he’s just a blowhard. I was reminded of the way Lord Christopher Monckton, Third Viscount of Brenchley (we call him TVMOB) tends to threaten everyone who criticizes him with legal action. So far as I know he’s never actually gone to court.

  44. A number of months ago, earlier this year, 2011, I read about the supposed therapy that Burzynski offers and was curious.

    I referred it to a friend of mine who is a Consultant in oncology in the UK.

    She basically concluded it was fictitious and nonsense.

    I was sceptical to begin with but now am convinced. Shame on these people.

  45. Marc Stephens is a condescending, barely coherent rat bastard. How dare he talk down to you like that. Way to stand up for yourself, Rhys.

  46. Truly fantastic, it is amazing to see that you have such writing talent to handle this situation, being of a similar age I could not have handled yhhis as well as you have and would probably be in court.
    This is fantastically written, congratulations sir, your message is coming across, even through the voice of Stephen Fry.

  47. welcome to the wild and wooly world of cyber bullying. I do find it interesting that a person claiming to be a lawyer would make his letters so unprofessional. also, I have also taken the time to look him up in a few other places (including texas, california, delaware, and New York). It seems that he is not listed. now,(this is strictly my opion) this smack of someone impersonating an officer of the court. if, and only if that is so, then he is open to all sorts of criminal prosecution. I have even forwarded this to my own lawyer and the response was “this guy thinks he is a lawyer?”

    anyway, good on ya for taking this nitwit to task.

    1. One CAN remark on his high opinion of your godlike abilities in his directive, “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.”
      He wants you to edit the ENTIRE internet, whether it is your property or not!
      Frankly, I’d be telling him to kiss my butt (OK, the less polite version of butt) in Macy’s window during the New Year’s Day parade!
      Of course, I CAN afford to hire a lawyer and would then initiate a counter action of violation of my civil rights for starters and anything annoying and billable hours wearing my attorney and I could dream up.
      Largely because, it costs a LOT in billable hours to defend numerous charges, whereas their sparse charges would be trivial to defend.
      Of course, somewhere along the way, he’d get a satellite view of his home, his car, his wife and children and perhaps a buddy might get me an UAV shot of the same too.
      But then, when pushed, I become nasty and vindictive, in a legal and highly expensive to the offender, kind of way.
      Keep up the good work!
      I AM a trifle curious how the harassment would play out in a court of law, especially when he threatened to contact your school over your activities at home.
      And his solicitation for you to commit a felony, as editing the internet is to interfere with the property of others. ;)
      And to judge by the entries of their excuse for a law firm (especially their typepad entry), I’d not be concerned, anyone who places such semi-literate entries isn’t an adversary of merit.

  48. Apparently Mr. Stephens has never heard of the ‘Streisand Effect’.

    You might very well have initiated the final swirl before Burzynski Clinic exits the bowl for good, Rhys.

    Good on ya, Sir.

  49. Mr. Morgan:
    I’m a blogger. I’m a free speech fan.

    I’m also a lawyer. Coincidentally, I’m representing (pro bono) another science blogger currently being threatened with a frivolous suit by a purveyor of junk science.

    Feel free to drop me a line if you’d like some pro bono assistance.

    Thanks,

    Ken
    http://www.popehat.com

    1. Great on you Ken for offering help.

      I too am amazed at how stupid someone can be to make such a bunch of uncredible threats and risk having this blow up in their face. It only fans the flames of the supidity that this Dr. has started.

      The Stupid…It Burns!!!

  50. Rhys, keep up the good work; I think you’ll make an excellent lawyer some day if that’s a profession you choose to pursue! It is a shame that there are scammers out there like this, preying on families who are facing such serious issues.

  51. Rock on my friend, do not let these bullies intimidate you. If you need help financially please contact me via email and I will help. I cannot stand thugs and bullies.

  52. Rhys, you’re rockin’ the house with this one. Kudos to you and the people who have advised you–you’re fighting the good fight and doing far better than a lot of people twice your age would manage! (Like, uh, me, for example.) keep up the fantastic work.

  53. I hope that my little reply here somehow helps raise the level of exposure to this issue. It amazes me how people can live with themeselves knowing full well their product or service is a sham. Psychics, Astrologists, and Medical Scammers are scum in my mind.

  54. When you finish college, you should consider law school. Seriously, you have that kind of mind. You will love it!

    Don’t give up the fight on this. If they file an actual complaint, respond. Tell them that you will counterclaim for harassment, unauthorized practice of law and defamation (calling a blog post libel is itself actionable libel). Get yourself a lawyer (you will probably be able to find volunteers, but you might want to consider raising money and then hiring – you will have more control.) If you are not “of age” yet, you should realize that your parents may indeed be involved in any suit. They may want to consider asset protection (homestead, irrevocable trust). You might be able to avoid that problem if someone creates a non-profit you control and it actually initiates legal action. Consider involving the police on the harassment issue.

  55. Good work!

    I think the tide has turned against the flood of harassing lawsuits that made London the ‘libel capital’ of the world’s despots, sinister oligarchs, polluters, crooks and quacks.

    Turned, but not gone out entirely: it is clear that many shady characters see our country as the ‘go-to’ place for barratry and the dishonest use of legal process to suppress discussion. Or, indeed, to silence the exposure of quackery, deceit, and criminality.

    It remains to be seen whether the Burzynski clinic falls into any of these categories, or none: but I see nothing to support their claims – neither of efficacy, nor that they have been libelled – and I would offer my opinion as a layman that some astonishing revelation of the order of the Miracles recorded in the New Testament would be required to change the mind of any reasonable man who had concluded that Burzynski is a quack.

    In the meantime, he has been ill-advised by this
    Marc Stephens character; or rather, I should say ‘ill-served’, as it is a very dangerous thing for anyone to present himself as ‘representing’ or ‘advising’ people in a matter for the courts, as any reasonable person reading those words would think that Mr. Stephens is qualified and registered to practice law.

    His local Bar Assiciation – and the Court! – would take a very dim view of such ambiguity; it is often seen as misrepresentation and pursued through the courts by formidable legal adversaries.

    I trust that Mr. Stephens will, on reading this, seize the opportunity to set the matter beyond doubt; being a layman of no qualifications and no professional standing, I must, of course, welcome criticism, correction and erudition from a suitably-qualified expert.

    Also, I’m looking forward to the show if Simon Singh’s legal advisors get involved. The case he won was arguably the turning point against the misuse of libel law in London; if it goes to court, we may see a further reassertion of our right to speak the truth, defended rather than deterred by the Law.

  56. Well done sir, well done.
    It’s good to see someone is standing up for patient’s rights and their best interests. I will promptly be posting this to fellow medical students and hopefully further afield – word needs to spread about scams like this.
    Just look at the damage Wakefield caused.

  57. Top Man!
    I could just hug you!
    Excellent blog.
    Handled like a real man, with style and grace.
    Congratulations and I just know that you’re going to go far if this is the level of your work!!
    Take care and have fun,
    Mark

  58. This is stunning. When Andy first announced he’d received a threatening letter, it was a coincidence that I was online at the time and therefore among the first to react with a supporting post. It’s incredible how this thing has snowballed.

    It’s great to see some many people coming out with their support. The truth must never be bullied into silence.

  59. Way to go, Rhys!!! Keep it up!!!

    I fight pseudoscience in my own way on some forums, and follow Phil Plait’s posts on his “Bad Astronomer” blog.

    You may find this recent publication useful: “The Debunking Handbook” ( http://www.skepticalscience.com/Debunking-Handbook-now-freely-available-download.html , http://www.skepticalscience.com/docs/Debunking_Handbook.pdf ).

    It boils down the psychological research on misinformation, to offer a short, simple practical summary of the most effective ways to reduce the influence of myths and misinformation, “… intended as a guide for communicators in all areas … who encounter misinformation.” Though its examples almost all concern anthropogenic global warming (AGW), the text is written to apply generally to myths and misinformation in any area.

  60. Rhys, if Stephens is purporting to be an attorney in Texas when he is not a member of the Texas State Bar, that may be the unauthorized practice of law. It is a crime. You should contact the Texas State Bar and file a formal, written complaint. The Bar will investigate and possibly prosecute him.

  61. Hey – what an excellent job! I hope that some desperate cancer patients can stumble upon this exchange one day and recognize what kind of money-sucking scumbag that “doctor” is. You might save some lives apart from advancing the free speech right!

  62. “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.”

    Wait, what??

    DOZIER??

    The guys who, in 2007, tried to claim that their cease and desist notices were copyright and therefore couldn’t be posted as fair use? Who go direct to ISPs and claim infringement (and have in some cases successfully had ISPs remove the “infringing” contents)?

    1. A snake oil salesman and a lawyer, quite the combination.

      It looks like Burzynski, Marc Stephens & Dozier are all cut from the same cloth. Kind of like the three stooges, except they are not funny. Everyone reading this blog should bring the whole mess to the attention of the Federal Trade Commission http://FTC.gov

  63. Rhys, it really is inspiring to see how truly well you’ve handled this every step of the way. You’re doing important work in the fight against pseudoscience, and the fact that you are so young (apart from filling me with awe at your intelligence and awareness of such issues) makes me proud that we’ll have you in this fight for so many years to come.

    Come to Berlin and I’ll… well, Daniella’ll buy you a drink.

  64. From his own web site http://www.burzynskiclinic.com/sr-burzynski-md-phd.html accessed on 29 Nov 2011 GMT0100

    “Dr. Burzynski is a member in good standing of renowned medical associations, including the American and World Medical Associations, American Association for Cancer Research, Society for Neuroscience, Texas Medical Association, Royal Medical Association (U.K.), Academy of Medical Ethics, Society for Neuro-Oncology, and many others.”

    I am sure the Royal Medical Association is an elite institution that none of the rest of us have heard of.

    1. “member in good standing” is not an accurate descriptor of Dr. Burzynski’s status with the Texas Medical Board. His license was placed on probation in 1994, for 10 years. There is also a pending complaint, filed by the board in 2010. Not sure where that complaint has gone, if it is being litigated, or what. http://reg.tmb.state.tx.us/OnLineVerif/Phys_ReportVerif.asp?ID_NUM=49851&Type=LP&LicensePermit=D9377

      you can view the medical board orders at the link above.

    2. Pretty much anyone can apply to join the Royal Medical Association, as long as you can demonstrate some sort of interest in healthcare and some sort of scientific qualification. As best as I recall, the application process is fully online, so have your credit card ready…

  65. Wow!!! Good on you, both for being brave in the face of this legal intimidation, and also for keeping your cool and keeping it civil. I’m almost twice your age, and I think that if I were in your position, I’d be telling Mr. Stephens precisely what portions of my anatomy he is invited to apply oral suction to. Which is probably why I’d get in trouble…
    If you’re ever in the San Jose, CA area, I’d gladly buy you a drink (well, once you turn 21).
    Keep up the great work!

  66. I do have faith with Dr. Burzynski and his practice, but this is just absurd.
    You have the right to say anything about anyone. You should not have to remove a posting just because some one is treating to sue. Let them sue. They will not win. Still does not matter whether you are in High School or not, your rights as an American are still there. Dr. Burzynski is trying to get publicity anyway he can, just to be noticed. Even if it takes suing other people’s view on him.

    1. Dox, don’t you think that it is incredibly, um, stupid to have “faith” in any particular practice?

      We’re not talking about your religion here; we’re talking about a guy (Burzynski) claiming that his therapy has a positive, measurable, impact on cancer treatment. This is patently not true as evidenced by the facts (Not repeatable, not FDA approved, not peer-reviewed, ect.)

  67. Keep doing what you’re doing, Rhys. You serve us all well with your efforts, and your forthright and honest attitude.

  68. Diolch yn fawr Rhys.
    Pseudo-science has to be exposed to the light and you’ve done a great job.

    Sending your house on Google Earth ? – cheap and nasty tactic of cowards.

  69. Anyone want to comment on the degree to which this constitutes harassment of a minor? Particularly in view of the addition of picture(s) of said minors home to the communications?

    Also, once the person purporting to be a legal advisor (or whatever the proper word is) found out they were dealing with a minor, isn’t the proper thing to do to contact their parents or guardians directly? Not ask the accused minor to do their job…

  70. I wonder if this Marc Stephens fellow is actually a lawyer. My lawyer always signs his official correspondence with “Esq., Attorney at law” after his name. It seems he’s simply on the staff at the clinic, and not a real attorney.

    Good job reading up on US libel law. As I recall, the three hurdles that must be cleared by the plaintiff are;

    1) The assertions must be untrue,

    2) The writer must be shown to be aware that the assertions are untrue,

    and 3) There must be a conscious effort by the writer to harm the plaintiff (this is the “malice” mentioned in the post).

    It’s a pretty high legal barrier. Anyone here in the US would have thrown out that threat with the trash.

  71. I would consider sending a copy of the threats to the Texas Bar association as its obvious by the wording that this Marc Stevens is at the very least implying he is a lawyer… I suspect they may want to investigate this Mr. Stevens…

    As for the last note where he sends google street view pics of your house, that is a very thinly veiled threat… Being a minor you can’t be sure of his intentions and you should consider filing a complaint with the appropriate police forces…

    If I were your parent, I would certainly be concerned if some Internet weirdo was sending my kid threats and pictures of our house…

    1. Totally agree here. In the United States, it can be illegal to impersonate an attorney, even if you are not doing any actual legal work. Sending a letter that implies he is an attorney could be close enough for the Bar Association to take a serious look at the wording and possibly pursue legal action. Package all of this up in a nice, neat package and send it on to them — this clinic might have more trouble than they dreamed they would get when they tried to intimidate you!

      You can also sue for harrassment if it comes to that. Sending you pictures of your house means they did some serious, stalker-ish research into you. That kind of research — into the life of a minor, no less — is creepy at best. This kind of thing is taken very seriously, especially if you have a trail to prove the escalation, as you certainly do.

      If this continues, I think you should go get ‘em. Legally. They won’t know what hit them.

  72. Yet more praise. I look forward to hearing your praises sung on the skeptical podcasts I listen to, and maybe one will get you on for an interview as I’d certainly love to hear you talk about this.

  73. Congratulations, Rhys, for being tough and standing up for your rights to speak your opinions, and standing up to these thugs. Good luck with all of this legal garbage.
    Perhaps, the viral spread of these blog posts worldwide will result in this quack being unable to exploit desperate, terminally ill people any longer, thanks to you and your bravery and willingness to stand up for what’s right.

  74. Well done and keep the good work kid. As several others have pointed out I do believe you should take legal action against this gentleman. There are lines that legal representatives cannot cross in pursuing their duties, this man has clearly crossed them.

  75. I am in total support of you here! As a cancer researcher, I cringe when I see Netflix showing his documentary, which only prays on people’s fear and sorrow, manipulating them into treatments more likely to worsen theirs or their loved one’s condition. I will to everything I can to promote this post and get the word out about all of this.

  76. Rhys, while this Stephens character is most likely none other than a jerkoff playing a silly but dangerous game, please do seek counsel from an attorney, do inform your parents what is going on (you should not do any thing alone or on your own, you’re still legally a minor with RIGHTS), and be sure to make and keep copies of everything that transpires with this (including your original post on your webserver – save everything on your own pc, and all that relates to it, for your own protection should you need it later). You have been uneccesarily and blatantly harassed, and you and your parents don’t have to put up with that.

    Most of all, know that the scientific blog community is behind you every step of the way, as referenced by the streisand effect, the joke is on both this Stephens character as well as the fraudster Burzynski whom you diligently exposed! (as well, may be a very expensive joke on them in the end).

  77. Thank you for making sure the clinic’s strategy backfired. I’ll try and spread the word to bring more negative press to those vultures that prey on the families of sick children.

  78. Here are the guy’s vital signs:

    DOZIER INTERNET LAW, P.C.
    a Virginia corporation

    By

    John W. Dozier, Jr., Esq.

    Counsel for Plaintiff

    John W. Dozier, Jr., Esq.
    Virginia Bar # 20559
    Dozier Internet Law, P.C.
    11520 Nuckols Road, Suite 101
    Glen Allen, VA 23059
    Telephone: (804) 346-9770
    Facsimile: (804) 346-0800
    Email: jwd@cybertriallawyer

      1. Good get (it’s http://www.CyberTrialLawyer-SUCKS.com, BTW, not “traillawyer-SUCKS”). I had already gone to Dozier’s website, noticed its unprofessional look (for someone who holds himself out to be a “top rated Internet law firm,” you’d think he’d be savvy enough to hire a better web designer), and decided to see how many attorneys there were at this “firm.”

        How many? One. Dozier himself, along with “E-Commerce specialists” and trained paralegals working under his supervision.

        So he hires himself out to people like Burzynksi and files SLAPP suits (basically lawsuits against people whose opinions his clients don’t like) and intimidates the defendants into paying up to avoid the costs of hiring GOOD attorneys to defend them through what can be years of civil litigation. (Winning is nice, but the cost of winning can render said victory Pyrrhic.) Nice work if you can get it.

        Ethical? I don’t think so, but he’s still working, so there haven’t been enough founded complaints against him to stop him.

        Good luck, Rhys.

  79. Rhys, you make an old man proud. It is incredibly reassuring to know that there are young men and women who can take knowledge and use it PROPERLY.

    Don’t let the bastards get you down, Rhys. Fight on.

    Oh, and Marc? You write like a drunken lolcat. On crack. After a 5-day LSD trip. Seriously. Have you considered rehab?

  80. I am trying to keep an open mind to alternative medicine and all that, only to be consistently disappointed by both the results and the quality of the people involved. And when they bring lawyers into the mix, you just know they are quacks. No self respecting scientist could find the time to consider legal action in all the research that is required to bring forth something new and accepted by the community.

    Anyway, what is weird is that Burzynski didn’t actually do anything, it’s this Marc Stephens guy, who appears to be an online bully with dubious connections to anyone of importance. Check out this link http://anaximperator.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/is-marc-stephens-really-a-representative-of-burzynski/. Is this a real guy after all, or just another flamer?

  81. Well done on many counts: not just for having the gumption and intelligence to stand your ground, but for the very fair-minded way in which you’ve presented the situation.

  82. It’s good to know the skeptic force for good is strong in you, Rhys :)

    That wasn’t what I intended to say, but words just flowed. Anyway, it is good to know that there are young intelligent educated skeptics like you in the world. You’re clearly not alone in this particular battle for truth.

    Thomas.

  83. A lot of people already said it, but hell, why not, you deserve it: you’re awesome. And I say it as both a cancer patient and cancer researcher.

  84. Well it seems a Mr Stephen Fry liked your story. I can certainly see why. Most people cave with the mere mention of legal action, well done you for actually standing your ground. I doubt I would have done the same thing.

  85. I hope this quack gets the shame he deserves. Wish I could do more to help!
    I’m guessing that newspapers have been contacted?

    1. Well met, young fellow ! I’m glad to see you’re not running scared.
      Is there any basis where you could have you antagonist charged with a threat or stalking ? While easy to source, a google picture of anyone’s house is not relevant to the subject !

  86. Rhys, keep up the good work. Nobody who is ill should ever be exploited, good job exposing these frauds.

    My most sincere support from Belgium.

    Also, it was a nice read

  87. Hi Rhys,

    Well done. Keep at these charlatans and mountebanks, liars and thieves, bullies and money grabbers, vultures and hyenas, the dregs of society who bleed the unwary and the desperate of their money and their lives, and try to silence those who speak the truth.

    I think the BBC’s Watch Dog should take this up. It’s more important than double glazing and payment protection insurance.

  88. A superb account, congratulations and well done. You replied correctly: firmly without being combatative – part of the strategy of these “legal” attack dogs is to wind you up as well as threaten you,.You may be entertained by Dr Touretsky’s excellent reply to Scientolofy legal threats at: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/NOTs/

  89. Excellent work. From his poor English he’s obviously not a lawyer and shouldn’t be pretending to be one. Sending a schoolboy pictures of his house is disgustingly creepy. I’m a physics teacher and I would be so proud of you.

  90. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write about this issue in the first place, and for standing up to the legal threats you received with dignity. The bullying, condescending, unprofessional nature of Marc Stephens’ correspondence with you is shocking.

  91. Well done Rhys! Is your future in Law or Science? Either way, you are highly likely to succeed in a huge way.

    Regarding Stephenson’s continued threats and use of the image of your home on Google Earth, I think that would be seen as the work of a stalker.

    Keep up the good work!

  92. As a breast cancer survivor who’s husband died of lung cancer, I sincerely appreciate your postings. It’s terrible that people like this so called doctor play on the emotions of cancer patients, who many times grasp at any straw to affect healing. Thank you Rhys!!

  93. As a doctor, I read the second sentence and exclaimed “bullshit!” I have not done any research into this “therapy”, but I can conclude by the name alone that it’s a pile of crap. I can’t believe that guy who thinks he’s a lawyer is acting like such an idiot – if there was any actual proof behind the “treatment” the clinic offers then I am sure he would have directed you towards it. Good on you for standing up for science.

  94. I’ve never seen anyone find an actual Internet lawyer before.

    I think Stephens et al. are hoping your youth and, um, Cambritude translate into complete ignorance of U.S. and Texan law, and you surprised them with Sullivan.

  95. I now see why these people buy into the “big pharma and governments are conspiring against us!” mindset so easily, since threats to try to shut someone up is their primary reaction to criticism.

    Keep up the good fight, Rhys!

  96. Rhys, kudos!! I know what it is to lose a loved one unnecessarily (to faith healing, not “alternative medicine”). I hope you never stop fighting charlatans like these.

    P.S. Looks like Marc Stephens graduated from Hollywood Upstairs Law School.

  97. I was linked here by Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy.

    Don’t give up. They’re clearly trying to intimidate you because they know they don’t have a leg to stand on, else they would have cited specific passages from your blog they deemed libelous. Good for you for standing up to them!

    1. I also came here via Bad Astronomy. Keep up the good work, Rhys. These people are clearly trying to intimidate you and you should be commended for standing up to their bully tactics.

  98. Burzynski, in 30 years did not produce any evidence for the effectiveness of his cancer treatment. But all other PHD cancer researchers did not come up with a cancer cure in the last 100 years.
    However I agree with George Inglis;

    George Inglis November 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Hi Rhys,

    Well done. Keep at these charlatans and mountebanks, liars and thieves, bullies and money grabbers, vultures and hyenas, the dregs of society who bleed the unwary and the desperate of their money and their lives, and try to silence those who speak the truth.

    And I m sure. that you are sure, that all this would only apply to Burzynski. but not to all other cancer businesses.

    1. Maria,

      Not sure where you’re going with this, but it seems to me you’re making these comments in the entirely wrong place.

      For Starters, cancer survival rates are way up from where they were 50 years ago. Cancer is a term used to describe a huge group of illnesses, so coming up with a blanket “Cure for Cancer” would be like coming up with a “Cure for Viruses”.

      So your dead wrong, there have been many cures for types of cancers. If you weren’t living under a rock intellectually, you’d have never made such a pathetically ignorant statement.

      And if you want to come up with another example of a person who is making millions of dollars selling a cure that is proven to be ineffective, skirts the boundaries of scientific methods, and threatens anyone who publically questions their credibility, let us know and we’ll go after them too. Name someone else. You must have someone in mind to make this claim of yours.

      If not, keep your ignorant comments to yourself under your massive rock.

        1. Although he stated it bluntly, Charlie is correct. There have been multiple developments in cancer research that have vastly improved survival rates. Cancer is a term for many different diseases, a blanket “cure” would be incredibly improbable as it would have to take into account so many different variables.
          Any “cancer business” who claimed to be able to cure all cancers would be likely lying. If they claimed to do this but refused all attempts to provide proof and responded to criticism or skepiticism with pretend lawyers, well, then they would definitely be lying.
          (And if they actually gave some of their patients actual chemo medicines along with their pet idea, and then pointed to those patients as evidence, then they are either outright immoral scammers or deluded)

  99. Pretending to be a lawyer, pretending to cure cancer… there’s a theme here.

    Any organisation which sends threatening letters to a child, complete with an “I know where you live” picture of the child’s house (!), is absolutely BEYOND CONTEMPT.

    Burzynski and friends are frauds, charlatans and bullies. (Go on, sue me!)

    And don’t worry about the world’s Doziest “law firm”. Nobody else does: http://www.cybertriallawyer-sucks.com/

  100. Nice work! As someone who has been through a spurious lawsuit, it gives me great pleasure to see you stand up to these abusive lawyers. You are performing a valuable service to humanity through your exposure of the parasitic charlatans at Burzynski. Keep fighting and don’t let the bastards grind you down!

    1. I’m off to costa rica for an MS therapy myself.

      Thank god some countries can turn medicine and therapies into profitable and effective business.

  101. You know, things are getting more and more interesting for the good doctor Burzynski…

    Mr. Bowditch of http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/burzynski.htm was also threatened by this whack-a-loon Mr. Stephens (and has some nice replies to him!) for requesting scientific accountability.

    Consequently he has been doing a bit of digging on the doctor and found interesting things, and I quote:

    “You will notice that Dr Burzynski gained a PhD in a single year while being employed full-time at the Medical University of Lublin in Poland. This university does not have a doctoral program, so I wondered where Dr Burzynski did his studying, thesis research and writing, and his dissertation.”

    Check out Mr.Bowditch’s page, it’s certainly interesting reading.

    While I certainly do not claim that the good doctors credentials are doubtful, I think that many people would be quite interested in reading his dissertation.

  102. Hang Tough Rhys! You’re my new hero. This Marc Stephens character is nothing but a bully and an idiot. The people he claims to represent are nothing but frauds and moneygrubbing scam artists.

    Rhys you’re the BEST!

  103. You are awesome! Way not to be intimidated! I hope that because of your ordeal, the Burzynski Clinic will be exposed to the wrath of the internet. I also hope that little girl can get proper treatment – it kills me to see quacks take advantage of desperate families.

  104. Rhys, Saw this on Bad Astronomy. I must echo the other posts. I am blown away by your incredibly wise responses to Burzynski’s cartoony.

    I would offer a cautionary note based on merit less (dare I say bogus?) lawsuits I’ve observed when individuals and non-profit organizations got in the way of spammers.

    Bogus suits have been filed and then after much legal maneuvering, withdrawn. Defendants can get stuck with huge legal bills. http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1033390/anti-spam-activists-lose-by-winning

    In another case, a US based spammer, e360 Insite, sued UK based Spamhaus.org in the US court system. A series of early legal missteps resulted in a 11.7 million dollar default judgement against Spamhaus. Years of legal wrangling got the judgement reduced to $3. This one is noteworthy because of the international juristriction issues.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spamhaus_Project#e360_Lawsuit

    So be careful. The combination of buisness scumbags & (real) lawers can be very dangerous to individuals and organizations, even when they are in the right. Make sure you get good legal advice.

  105. You should be aware that NY Times v Sullivan is not applicable. That decision applies to libel suits by public officials (government employees). It was later expanded to public figures, but that would probably not apply here, unless Burzynski is a regular on talk shows or is often going out of his way to present himself to the media.

    Also, the term “actual malice” does not mean maliciousness or intent to harm. It means either actual knowledge of the falsehood (or reckless disregard for not trying to determine if it’s false). However, that standard doesn’t apply to private defamation cases.

    1. I thought about that. I’m not sure Burzynski is exactly eager to take the stand and deny being a public figure.

  106. Well done Rhys, you are a credit to sceptical thinking. We need more of your ilk for the hope of a better tomorrow.

  107. Like many others, I’m giving you a standing ovation Rhys. I’ve been singing your praises to the blogosphere — the wisdom, courage, and maturity you’ve shown throughout this adventure has been truly remarkable. Your brush with the sinister underworld of Dr Buzynski reveals yet another level of his hypocrisy; while he pretends to be a devoted healer of children, he shows his true colors in public by dealing so viciously with a young man who merely had the courage to stand up for his well-founded convictions.

    I have noticed a steady decline in the quality of Dr. B’s countermeasures to criticism. I’ve witnessed the exact same downward-spiral pattern repeated by other snakeoil/quackery ventures during their descent into infamy. It’s fascinating (in a creepy sort of way) to see how when they are hit with the light of science, these cockroaches scatter to the darkest fringes of irrationality (i.e., conspiracy theories, outright deception, frothing spite, and litigiousness).

    They begin by touting “science”, but when the science gets easily debunked by people who actually understand it, the quacks are quick to distract with a combination of defensive conspiracy theories and vague, unverifiable (i.e. utterly useless) supportive testimonials

    When these limp tactics predictably fail to placate rational critics, the quacks resort to astroturfing (which, in Dr. B’s case, one can find widespread evidence of in the blogosphere). In the book Blind Allegiance, an insider’s account of Sarah Palin’s political career, her former campaign manager Frank Bailey describes how Palin’s senior staff worked practically full-time on her behalf doing damage control, astroturfing, and attempting to vilify and punish critics. Oftentimes, editorials dripping with praise for Palin and condemnation of her critics would be written by her and her staff and given to friendly outsiders to submit to newspapers so as to disguise the true source. It’s a cowardly, conniving tactic, and one that seems to be widely used by charlatans and their unscrupulous PR people.

    The last stage in the charlatan’s fall from grace is either prosecution or, if they’re lucky enough to stay ahead of the Feds, a move to Mexico and the transfer of assets to offshore banks (case in point — Myron Wentz of the vitamin company USANA, who transferred his assets to Lichtenstein and set up a quacky cancer clinic called Sanoviv in Mexico).

    This is the plot arc that seems to be unfolding with Burzynski. To gain insight into Burzynski’s mind, I can think of no better source to consult than the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders vol. 4 (aka the DSM-IV) under the entry on narcissistic personality disorder. Let’s see how Dr. B stacks up against the criteria for a diagnosis of NPD:

    “A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

    1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements) [CLEARLY YES]
    2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love [YES, JUDGING BY HIS DELUSIONAL BELIEF THAT HE UNDERSTANDS EXACTLY WHAT CAUSES ALL CANCERS AND KNOWS HOW TO CURE THEM]
    3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions) [YES, OBVIOUSLY]
    4. Requires excessive admiration [APPARENTLY YES, JUDGING BY THE PAEANS OF ADORATION HE POSTS ABOUT HIMSELF ON HIS OWN WEBSITE AND THAT HE SEEMS TO SURROUND HIMSELF WITH LEGIONS OF ARDENT WORSHIPERS]
    5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations [OH HELL YES]
    6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends [YES SQUARED]
    7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others [YES; THOSE “OTHERS” INCLUDE FEDERAL AGENCIES AND ABSOULTELY ALL WHO DARE TO CRITICIZE HIM]
    8. Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her [YES TO THE NTH DEGREE]
    9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes [YUP]

    Buzynski easily meets 5 of the criteria for NPD. The most insightful reporting on Burzynski that I know of was a 2008 Houston Press article written by Craig Malisow. The article contained some interview excerpts that provide a very revealing glimpse into Burzynski’s narcissistic mind.
    http://www.houstonpress.com/2009-01-01/news/cancer-doctor-stanislaw-burzynski-sees-himself-as-a-crusading-researcher-not-a-quack/5/

    “It’s best not to push the subject. In speaking with Burzynski, you need to understand some basics: If you in any way question his methods, remark on his affiliation with dubious doctors or try to understand why, after 30 years, antineoplastons are not accepted by mainstream medicine, you’re in for trouble…When asked if showing three-dimensional topographies of crow’s-feet in places like Dubai took time away from that whole cancer thing, Burzynski bristles at what he considers to be an irrelevant question, responding in somewhat broken English:

    ‘I have the right to do whatever research I want, okay?’ he says, followed closely by, ‘I spent 42 years practicing medicine, doing research, and you are little man for asking such question, okay? Maybe in three years I get Nobel Prize, and you’ll look like a shit, okay, asking me such stupid questions, okay?’

    The Press explains that the reasoning behind the questions is this: Is Burzynski convinced that he’s done everything possible to get antineoplastons federally approved, and thus covered by insurance, thus giving a chance to those dying children whose parents can’t afford the steep payments? But when pressed as to why — even after the prolonged litigation with the FDA — he still hasn’t been able to prove his treatment’s efficacy, he is equally offended:

    ‘You know why?’ he says.’Because I came to this country with $15 in my pocket, okay? Because I didn’t speak English when I came to this country. I learned it by myself. And in order for me to do what I am doing now, I needed to establish a pharmaceutical company. I needed to establish the research institute, okay, from the scratch, okay? And I need to do all of this from my own money, which I am, okay? How many years it would take for you to do it if you come to the country [from] like, say, Afghanistan?’

    The Press also asks why, if one of the biggest barriers to sharing a promising cancer treatment with the rest of the world is his language skills, he hasn’t enlisted the help of English-speaking scientists. Burzynski laughs that one off:

    ‘Listen your little brain to this thing: I came to this country with $15, okay? How can you enlist somebody, paying him $5 [out of] $15, okay?'”

    Chilling stuff!

  108. Rhys, I take my hat off fo you!!! Not just for exposing the Burzynski clinic, but also for coping with Crohn’s. I hope you are still feeling OK. I also hope your depression is under control. You are a remarkable guy and I wish you all possible success in the future.

    Best wishes from Karin in Sweden.

  109. Outstanding work Rhys! Keep fighting and I wish you all success. The key to curing cancer is what you quoted from Chiropractic Association v Singh [2011]
    “………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…..”

  110. What a priceless chance to “refer [Mr. Stephens] to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram.”
    Seriously, though, well done and heartiest best wishes, from Austin, Texas.

    1. Actually, I decided to read it. There is fine line between freedom of speech and libel.

      If what your saying is true, then you need to back it up with proof. Just take the stuff down, or if you want to fight it, don’t do for self righteous causes, back it up with proof.

      There is nothing illegal about telling the truth. But… the truth needs proof.

      1. The only other loophole I can think of, is to declare yourself a comedian. A disclaimer of sorts stating that the material is a joke and not based on any factual research, but is instead meant to be humorous material.

        Hope that helps. Don’t listen to the mob, they aren’t going to court with you.

      2. Here’s the thing – I did back it up with proof. Go and click through the links if you don’t believe me.
        Specifically, go to the end of the the last post to see the biggest bit of evidence I provided – a court document from 1994 that has, from extensive research, not been repealed.

    1. The biggest problem is that, in the opinion of an observer in the USA, Britain’s laws regarding Libel are far more friendly to the plaintiff than they are in the US.

      “Libel Tourism” is indeed a real thing, and the UK is a favorite destination for it.

  111. Rhys keep up the amazing work, the brilliant rational mind and the inspirational motivation! Stay healthy and happy and I really hope that you’re running the country one day!

  112. Congratulations on your extremely sane and effective response to this pernicious nonsense. I am a lawyer in the UK, and the way in which you handled to this would be a credit to many qualified solicitors. A good deed in an often bad world.

  113. Tweeted, facebooked and will put a link on my blog later this week. I loath bullies. LV tried that with Nadia Plesner. It takes courage to fight corporate bullies, and you are to be applauded, not only for your courage but your ability to approach it with such dignified reasoning.

  114. Just have to join in and try to make the comments up to 80,000 soon. These people should be stopped in their tracks – too much to hope they would have to pay back the money they have taken from desperate people. But clearly Rhys is the guy to do the job. Great use of your skills, Ryys – more power to you.

  115. Thank you for standing up against attempts to obfuscate science and for your legal rights. And congratulations on your thoughtful and articulate responses throughout this series of exchanges. Your mature tone is head and shoulders above that of the lawyer in question, and so is your grasp of English grammar.

  116. Hello Rhys – and congrats on your success :-)

    In the press release from the Burzynski Clinic it says:” We understand that Marc Stephens sent a google map picture of a blogger’s house to the blogger….” As if they didn’t know about that until now.

    But in the E-mail with the Google image, you got from Stephens he said:”I’ve attached Azad Rastegar, and Renee Trimble from the Burzynski Clinic for your confirmation.”

    Does that mean that he CC’ed the E-mail to those Burzynski employees, or did he attach some kind of document they had signed?

  117. How utterly ludicrous. I read in Martin Robbin’s blog that the *actual* Burzynski lawyer has confirmed that Stephens was acting in accordance with the desires of the clinic supposedly to “stop the dissemination of false and misleading information”. However, the fact that Stephens pointedly did not respond to multiple queries about what in Rys’s blog was in error, shows that his intention was not to correct erroneous information but to simply remove any negative comments regarding the clinic. Sorry, but negative comments don’t constitute libel in any legal form.

    Bad form to have a PR person making legal threats when he has no clue about the law. I can only foresee bad things for Burzynski and his clinic as he appears to have absolutely no grounds on which to base the claims of libel. Though, on the plus side, all this negative attention may finally wake folks up to what a quack he really is…..

  118. Well done! Thanks for standing up to the hooligans who think they can silence critical speech through intimidation.

    As far as the documentary depicting Burzynski as a man fighting the entrenched interests of the FDA and Big Pharma… if the man had a real breakthrough on his hands, Pfizer, Merck and the rest would be trying to convince him to sell or license his treatment to them. A more effective cancer treatment would be worth billions of dollars. Whatever money he is making at his treatment center is a drop in the buck compared to what he would make if he brought the drug to market.

    If money is not a motivating factor to Burzynski, certainly the possibility of saving many more lives ought to be. The fact that his treatment remains a private ‘trial’ treatment after all these years suggests that he is well aware that his results would not pass a real clinical trial.

  119. It’s awesome to see a bully like Stephens so thoroughly pwned! For an ego like that to be utterly devastated by a teenager (no offense, I wish I had half your intellect and eloquence when I was your age) is a level of awesomeness I have not seen in a very long time. My hat is off to you sir! Keep on blogging! I’m posting a link to your article on my blog today.

  120. Greetings from /. and Phoenix, Arizona. As has been said already, keep fighting the good fight, and keep on rocking.

    Ever thought of what you want to do after highschool? Maybe a career in law might be appealing… :-P The world could use more people like you.

  121. You go Rhys ! This is YOUR generation now & time to be politically active. I am so proud of you. I have a nephew your age & he is also outspoken. I think you kids have great power to change the World for the better. Glad to see you using it ! Keep up the good work !

  122. Beautiful! I learned about your blog through Discover Magazine, and just read this post along with your original blog. As Phil Plait, of Bad Astronomy instructed, I thought I’d send you a little verbal love. I think it’s absolutely great how you schooled that “lawyer” did you ever hear back from him with which bar he’s part of?

  123. […]extorting money from cancer patients is not cool[…]

    Article reposted in case it disappears here – let me know if you’d rather I didn’t repost it.

  124. Where to start with these charlatans…

    My dad has brain cancer (GBM). Sugery done a year ago, so beating the odds in terms of survival so far. And doing reasonably good, even getting some hair back (chemo for brain cancers is not as aggressive to general tissue as, say, for breast cancer).

    Understandably, my family is pretty desperate about this, and we were considering some other therapies. Dad has enough money to pay for some of them, and the BS clinic in Houston was considered.

    Then I did some research (I am an engineer and consider myself a skeptic) – no results available, no double-blind studies, no FDA approval, no citations and debates in reputable journals. Eff no, Dad. Please don’t go there.

    As heartbraking as this is, I felt responsible to let my family know this was quackery. If there was a simple solution for Cancer, we’d have found it already. I’m all in favour of research, and even told my dad that he should just instead participate in a proper clinical trial – at least some useful knowledge is generated that way so future patients can benefit (even if it is that XYZ therapy does NOT work).

    Cheers, and keep up the good work.

    Rod

    1. From what I understand, the Cancer Treatment Center for America is a place that might be more reputable. I don’t know myself, and I’ve fortunately had no need to check myself.

      Just putting that out there for you to consider and look into.

  125. Well said and done. My father had stage 4 double-breast cancer, and our family well understands the emotional toll it takes on everyone. There is a special place in hell for people that pray on families in distress.

    Keep the faith and stand by your convictions.

  126. Boy, it really irks me to see young people who are so much more mature than I am.

    But only for a second. Thanks, Rhys, for setting such a good example for this 45-year-old.

  127. Bravo and well done Rhys. I have also started a blog like your’s to expose such non-sense. But being a new blogger I am starting first with superstitions and urban legends before finally targeting unscientific businesses or fake peoples. Needless to say your posts and legal research have given me a lot of courage to go bold online. My blog will see a change after that. I’ll mention you in my blog as well. Long live SKEPTICS and long live SKEPTICISM !

  128. As someone about your age, you make a great representative of our generation. If more people took up the fight against injustice like you have, we’d have less injustice in the world. I applaud you for keeping your cool, taking the high road, and not backing down. Keep it up!

  129. Sigh … the youth of today …. BRILLIANT!!

    Imitating a lawyer and issuing legal threats might be illegal … but I’m sure you’ve thought of that already. Watching with interest. This story is everywhere!

  130. Saw the link on techrights.org

    Wait, Marc Stephens douchebag-for-hire sent a GOOGLE MAP OF WHERE A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT LIVES?

    I guess then its ok for someone to send him a picture of his car or house and say “Nice car/house, you have there buddy, it would be a shame if something were to happen to it”.
    Maybe some mafioso he works for work this way but go to the police and see wht happens when someone says, ‘I know where you live.’

    I hope Marc Stephens ends up in a cell where they put pedophiles because intimidation is a serious offence but intimdation of a minor puts Stephens in the Jerry Sandusky category.

    utmost respect for you kid, for what you wrote, for how you behaved and for being an example.
    im sure your parents dont need the stress but tell your dad that he should be proud of his son because he will be grow up to be an outstanding man WITH principles and courage.

    that said, your english laws seem totally insane to us (that Giggs superinjunction opened the eyes of many outside england) and make sure you do whats right for you first and foremost and not play up to the blogoshpere.

  131. My Aunt died of breast cancer at least 15 years ago. Most of her “treatments” she subjected herself to were alternative medicine, which meant legitimate treatment was delayed or pushed to the side. While no guarantee, there is a VERY good chance she would still be with us today had she went with more tried-and-true cancer treatments instead of the experimental stuff.

    This is why reading about things like this angers me so much. These people, so desperate for a cure, are being seduced by this clinic which employs an unproven, untested (well, 15 years of testing with NO concrete repeatable results) and are very likely DYING because they’re choosing this over a legitimate treatment. They are playing with people’s LIVES. Forget the financial cost of this scam; the potential cost of life is far more important.

    I hope word of this continues to spread. This is not only unethical, it’s monstrous. If he wants that badly to help people, he would follow proper testing before going to the public, and if it doesn’t work (which it doesn’t seem to) he would choose another method.

    1. “tried and true?” From whence comes the blind belief in the legitimacy of the mainstream cancer treatment industry, or the FDA for that matter? I find it very interesting that the cure rates for the most of the cancers Dr Burzynski treats are next tto nil. He has been repeatedly harassed by the FDA, who have never once questioned the efficacy of his treatment, but rather sought to shut him down simply because his medications are produced by a small pharmaceutical company rather than a large well-funded one. We know what that is about, don’t we?

      Also, Burzynski cannot get permission to set up proper testing, also because of lack of support by government authorities. I wonder why the FDA has no case against him. It’s fun to harass the underdog, and if his response is a bit pathetic or maybe desperate, and perhaps with good reason, to harass him even further. I hope you are proud of yourself. Try sometime investigating FDA approved chemotherapy and radiation and see what you find there. Oh, ou mean the US government is so far beyond reproach that there is no fun in it? I think they are pretty untouchable, but it’s still amazing that no one questions them or their stats, and there is every possibility that Burzynski is the real thing doing the best he can to deal with daily threats from kids who should be killing the baddies in their videogames instead of learning how to play verbal killing games so that they may be advanced sadists when they are of age.

      Don’t you know the FDA is owned by the pharmaceutical industry? Why don’t you go after them for a change of pace, while you’re having such a good time.Does your father spank you? Do you know cofporal punishment is against the law?

      1. @psychomouse – That has to be the most ill-informed and ridiculous nonsense I have ever read. No one, least of all the FDA, cares about small or big pharma companies. Why? Because if Burzynski genuinely had a cure for aggressive cancers (which, on current evidence he does not) then his small company would almost overnight become a massive company, so if the FDA were only interested in large pharma companies then why would they stop that? And don’t trot out the ‘big pharma would crush Burzynski/steal his lunch money/etc’ argument. Pharma companies come out with big deals all the time and do you know what? They don’t crush each other or steal ideas because it’s not worth it. They license them or they work on their own version. If antineoplastons were so good, and proven to be so, then the rest of the pharma industry would be over them like a rash conducting their own trials to see if they can make something that is just different enough to not breach patent and IP laws. Or they’d be knocking on Burzynski’s door with cheque books in hand willing to hand over vast sums to license the treatments.

        All this conspiracy theory codswallop is the product of an ill-educated mind incapcable of applying rational, logical thought or argument to a proposition because it’s easier to believe that ‘the man’ is out to get everyone. Enjoy your life of wearing tinfoil hats and running away from the black helicopters if you ever venture outside. You have my pity.

      2. @psychomouse – Can’t get permission to do proper testing? He’s currently applying this therapy under clinical trials and charging patients out the wazoo to do it. How much more testing do you need.
        Even if I were to accept the premise that the FDA was in the back pocket of the pharmaceutical industry (there are numerous corporations with a great deal of pull on the FDA, I’m under no illusions that this is a squeaky clean organization that doesn’t let lobbyists sway their decisions), and that there was a grand conspiracy to block the cure for cancer, I would still question the science. The FDA isn’t suppressing peer-reviewed articles from Dr. Burzynski, nor could they prevent him from releasing data to the masses that shows the efficacy of his treatment. Burzynski released a list of alleged studies and articles supporting his work after firing Marc Stephens and the entire list was bunk.
        Let’s do the math shall we:

        amazing claim + missing science + conspiracy theory = pseudoscience.

        The FDA SHOULD be harassing Dr. Burzynski because he’s been in clinical trials for DECADES! At some point the FDA has to make a ruling on the treatment and with Burzynski charging ridiculous sums of money for a trial product it makes the FDA look bad NOT to do anything.
        And what is up with “Does your father spank you?” Where did that come from and what does that have to do with anything? Did you somehow think that was a witty insult? What an idiot!

        1. first before condemning DR. Burzynski as a a quack, know the facts, start with the book “cancer industry” by former sloan kettering hospital pr man by ralph moss, second read ” the burzynski breakthrough” by thomas elias, third watch the “burzynski movie” with dr. julian whittacre.
          dr. burzynski’s treatment is a real and effective treatment of solid tumor cancers, and has proven to be in all clinical trials done according to protocols. is it expensive, yes does it cure everyone? no is it toxic ? no

          1. Michael, you know what I would rather read?

            A peer review of a single one of this quack’s studies. I’m not gonna hold my breath.

            Con men rarely let people see the secret workings of their grift.

  132. Mr. Morgan, you rock. As an attorney licensed in California, I applaud you sticking to your guns. You have certainly received good advice from the people at Bryan Cave (a firm I have dealt with in the past on transactional matters) and I wish you well going forward.

  133. They have no legal case because you are telling the truth and they think threats will shut people up — not. Can you imagine the bad press they would get if they actually pursued charges against a high school student. This would make a good news story.

  134. What’s so upsetting is the poor, poor parents of little Billie and others like her have literally mortgaged their houses – and had to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds in a desperate attempt to save their daughters life…and given it to a man who is peddling a “cure” with no convincing evidence it works at all and who is arguably using lax US law to treat under the name of “clinical trials”. Having your child die is a tragedy. Losing everything you own as well is too cruel for words. I understand why they would do this. I don’t understand why this man would take their cash.

  135. @psychomouse – Can’t get permission to do proper testing? He’s currently applying this therapy under clinical trials and charging patients out the wazoo to do it. How much more testing do you need.

    Even if I were to accept the premise that the FDA was in the back pocket of the pharmaceutical industry (there are numerous corporations with a great deal of pull on the FDA, I’m under no illusions that this is a squeaky clean organization that doesn’t let lobbyists sway their decisions), and that there was a grand conspiracy to block the cure for cancer, I would still question the science. The FDA isn’t suppressing peer-reviewed articles from Dr. Burzynski, nor could they prevent him from releasing data to the masses that shows the efficacy of his treatment. Burzynski released a list of alleged studies and articles supporting his work after firing Marc Stephens and the entire list was bunk.

    Let’s do the math shall we:

    amazing claim + missing science + conspiracy theory = pseudoscience.

    The FDA SHOULD be harassing Dr. Burzynski because he’s been in clinical trials for DECADES! At some point the FDA has to make a ruling on the treatment and with Burzynski charging ridiculous sums of money for a trial product it makes the FDA look bad NOT to do anything.

    And what is up with “Does your father spank you?” Where did that come from and what does that have to do with anything? Did you somehow think that was a witty insult? What an idiot!

    1. if I may add, my sister is being treated by this guy, under the guise of a clincial trial. I work in clinical research and this is NOT being conducted appropriately in terms of protecting patient safety. My sister has seen him ONCE in the past year, has had to pay $6,000 per month for the “equipment” needed to administer the treatment, and has suffered seizures, bleeding on the brain, cellulitis, blood clots, is no longer able to walk, control her bladder and barely to talk. If he is not reporting these severe adverse events to the FDA, I will. Burznyski tells her to “up the dose” saying that these symptoms are normal before the tumor dies and she’s cured. How is this guy able to continue this scam?

      1. Please please place a complaint with the Texas Board of Medical Examiners. Anyone, not just the patient, can lodge a complaint. You can do so by e-mail, phone, or mail. Making or letting a patient administer their own meds like that is very sketchy. I don’t think it is legal when the meds are experimental. Please submit a complaint. I know lots of complaints originate from family members concerned for their loved ones.

    2. you are blind if you wish to believe in a government that throws away trillions trillions and trillions of dollars in military spending’s in the middle east for the sake of oil… what else would the government not do for money …. the government has no interest in health family or well being ….. in fact with all the money the government has invested in securing oil investments for the sake of the dollar … all that money wasted in military spending could have been used to give every single human being in the united states an electric car … that’s one way of solving our problem with the need for so much oil .. .knock the true evil .. not a man who’s interest is in to curing cancer

  136. Good on you kid! Don’t be intimidated by these shysters. I’m an RN working in Liverpool in the UK and have seen at first hand the devastation wrought by cancer.
    You’re doing a public service (not to mention international) by allowing the cold light of clinical efficacy to shine on these ‘treatments’

    Well done! Keep up the great work.

    DS

  137. Marc Stephens may be in more trouble than losing his employment with the Burzynski clinic …
    http://www.popehat.com/2011/12/06/junk-science-and-marketeers-and-legal-threats-oh-my/
    “…I submit that any reasonable person reading those communications would conclude that you’re fraudulently posing as a lawyer. Guess what, Marc. That’s illegal. It’s a crime in California,…”
    ..
    “I’ve taken the liberty of dropping a note to the DA about you, Marc. I encourage everyone who has gotten a legal threat from you to do the same”.

  138. Rhys, I know nothing about cancer treatment or this clinic but I read Popehat. You have become famous across the world due to your stance here.

    Rock on!

  139. Genius skills! You are a fantastic role model for, well, everyone! Best of luck with your continuing crusades for the truth and with however you choose to utilise your impressive intelligence!

  140. America, and increasingly Britain has become a country of quackjob miracle “cures”, a plague of clinics opening up promoting their latest scam. We in the first world constantly mock other countries’ for using fake medicines to scam the vulnerable who know no better, yet this is exactly what these clinics, in developed first world nations, supposedly the shining example of the world, are doing.

  141. Dear Rhys,

    u have done a wonderful job in favour of people caught by serious diseases.
    In INDIA there are a countless clinics like Burzynski Clinic.
    And they are exploiting the surviving people.
    Can u help themselvs also.
    Plz reply

  142. This is really, really impressive. It’s great to be able to just read the emails and see quite how much of a moron this ‘lawyer’ has been.

    I got to your site via the article about you on The Guardian which included a brief bio of you, I’m a fellow crohn’s sufferer and it is inspiring to see someone with the disease who is this savvy and doing so much good (especially as you’re only 17, apologies if that sounds in any way patronising as I really don’t mean for it to). Accept your place on the pantheon, you are now a role model!

    1. He’s just a smart ass seventeen year old kid… thinks hes smart anyway…him and his lawyers have nothing else better to do but show off …. scumbags should die of cancer themselves

  143. One might think that somebody who has managed to fleece so many desperate people out of their savings would also be able to afford a PA who is able to use grammar correctly. Perhaps he really is feeding these funds back into his (forever) ongoing research? Who knows, he may emerge in a few years time, wielding a rigorously tested, ground-breaking treatment. Perhaps we should give this truly altruistic gentleman the benefit of the doubt. And more money.

    *Sarcasm is hard to convey in writing, so for anyone who’s in doubt: yes, I’m being sarcastic.
    ** I’m aware sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but a person who exploits vulnerable people is one of the lowest forms of human being, so I feel it is appropriate.

  144. This is probably barratry, and if your state has a SLAPP law, and they do file something, they’re in legal trouble. That said, I would also contact the ACLU (your state chapter, preferably). I would do so yesterday.

  145. Wow – I had to deal with similar threats from someone I criticised on the net, but didn’t take it half as well as you at twice the age. You are one well-informed and eloquent kid.

  146. Just because the lawyer threatened you over your opinions, which may or may not have been malicious and were based solely on internet research, shouldn’t take away from the fact that the treatment has worked and has saved some lives, even some that were untreatable through conventional and accepted treatment practices, nor should it reflect poorly on Bursynski as a doctor. He is not out to swindle people out of their money but rather is in a constant process to better the treatment for individuals, and yes, the amount for treatment is expensive because something needs to pay for the research. Unfortunately, to state the obvious, there is no 100% success rate for his treatment, nor for the any other treatment in existence. Something like this takes time and he is on a good track for finding an alternative to the poisonous and carcinogenic chemo therapy. You can be skeptical all you want, as you should be, as everyone should be, but you can’t ignore the facts, and the facts are that he has saved lives that would have otherwise perished. He makes no claims that he can cure everybody with cancer, but he gives them a chance. So what’s really your problem with him?

    1. To start with, you thundering moron, Marc isn’t a lawyer. That you think he is was part of the problem.

      Second, if this quack isn’t out to swindle people, he’d release ALL of his “studies” so that everyone can check them and compare them to actual treatments.

      If he was “on a good track”, he’d have FDA approval by now, since he’s been doing this for years.

    2. Evan: How do you know Burzynski saved lives? It could well have been the case that the people “saved” would have also survived had they been referred to other medical therapies. They might well have survived had they received no treatment at all. You are simply using confirmation bias to prop up your opinion and this is a major part of the reason people accept Burzynski’s nonsense.

      1. I have cancer. How can you say that looking at the percentages verses those untreated? In this field people die when they are as advanced as the cases he presented. When treated in his published trials three times as many survive as those left to other treatments or who are untreated. That data alone should acquire your support. What is it you fear might happen? That someone might get hope? Would that be so bad? If you are told you will die soon, and that all conventional treatments will only prolong your life by a few years at best as I have, would you not want to give this treatment a chance? My 1 1/2 years of chemo and radiation have left me tired week and barely able to function physically. My kidneys and liver can barely handle the beating they are taking from the pose boys chemo drugs. This alternative therapy has no record of any side effects even close. Why would you write against the consideration of these treatments? What are you afraid of?

        1. Can you provide references for these published trials? I’d like to read them. If they’re all you say, then there shouldn’t be any reason to doubt this treatment.

        2. Twenty years ago we lost my 7yr old grandson to neuroblastoma, he survived only 8mths. We could not afford Burzynski. Would Joshua still be here? We will never know. Now my son, (37yrs old with 4 kids and a mortgage), Josh’s dad, has just been diagnosed with very rare, extremely aggressive squamous cell in his stomach, stage 4. Twenty some years ago Burzynski was using an aerophobe. Now it has recognition as CAM treatment.
          If the establishment had worked with Burzynski, my son would have a greatly increased chance of survival. After all, when you are told you might have 18mths to live, you feel a little desperate.
          The establishment will never work with these practitioners. Natural substances cannot be patented. Money rules everything. Why work on something that is not absurdly profitable.

      2. My father is dying of cancer. I’m thing i would rather see the purity of truth every sensitive plug in information stumbled upon the internet regarding a life in critical condition in need of help .. .therefore a person interfaring with the hopes of those who are seaking need of help in all means should not interfare with hopes of those in need help for the sake of their own egotistical charictor smearing or varing people in need ….. bow down and hold your toung before you slander the hopes of someones life in danger … shame on the mess… you may be responsible for someones life … dont preach negitivity without fact for the sake of facts not presented to you personally .. do your own research and shut your mouth or face god in the end for your stupidity

        1. I too can speak freely …. but it does not mean i can stab someone in the heart just cause I’m free to do so…. just cause you think its okay to speak on the internet does not mean your not killing someone in need … the slightest bit of doubt is enough to push the button and end the world ….putting doubt in peoples last hopes can be fatal for those in need… you might just kill someone because of you child like attitude toward giving someone hope with the benefit of the doubt … give the doctor a break … hes dealing with enough legal matters with the government trying to stop his good doings

    3. Evan,

      It’s the lack of facts is actually the problem. You state: ” the facts are that he has saved lives that would have otherwise perished.” That is your opinion, not a fact. The fact is: some of Dr. Burzynski’s patients experienced remission of their cancer. In any treatment for almost anything, some people heal all by themselves. In cancer this is called “spontaneous remission.” Because Dr. Burzynski refuses to publish his research, we cannot compare how many of his patients experienced remission, how many did not, and then compare it to the known rates of spontaneous remission for the various cancers those patients suffered from. Without the data to back it up, the statement “Dr. Burzynski saved lives” is an opinion.

      My problem with the dear doctor is that he refuses to publish any of his research, refuses to provide proof or even show a likelihood his treatment works. I also question the credibility of someone who tries to stifle any negative opinions of his treatment. Oh, and one more thing: The Texas Medical Board disciplined him for telling his patients his treatment is a cure, when that is not proven. They also disciplined him because his treatment injured his patients. He should have known and accounted for what harmed them, but he didn’t.

      1. There is a video called “Burzynski” I suggest that everyone watch it if they have questions. It is a good starting point to do research. He provides plausible explanations and facts as to what is really going on. This movie addresses many of the questions and assumptions provided in this blog. Basically you have to put yourself in the other person shoes to understand what motivates people to do what they do. Burzynski’s work, from the evidence I have seen, seems to be legitimate. What throws people off is why isnt the FDA backing him 100%? Very good question. Is the FDA really out for our good or is money the motivator? Remember, the FDA is people and just who are these people and what are they really doing? I am not a conspiracy theorist mind you, but I don’t believe I should believe everything I am fed to me, so to speak. It is also all about large pharmaceutical companies wanting to hold the patents and control the money and distribution of the progress being made to confront cancer. You think for one moment if a cure for cancer was actually found ( I am not suggesting Burzynski has found it, but his work is very promising ) that the pharmaceutical companies would abandon their cash cow chemo therapy of how they treat cancer?

        At any rate, Burzynski seems to be forthcoming on all his data. Do the research and decide for yourself. Anyone who is approaching an understanding of Burzynski’s practice from a pre-concieved opinion on him will result in prejudice which in turn will cloud any real truth trying to come to the surface.

        I have to ask you Rhys, If you were in Burzynski’s shoes and received the treatment he has, wouldn’t you too be as defensive? I read your email train and conclude you may be in the wrong here. Granted they did not handle the situation in a way that would not put you also on the defensive. Your blog does indeed show that. And yes they could have shown you what it was that was libel and they did not do that. They should have and could have. That is my opinion. Go back and review what you post and do the research to see if you are correct. It takes a strong character in a person to admit when they are wrong coupled with a situation where they also look bad in if they do admit it.. I suggest you consider as objectively as you can what is really happening here. People get pushy sometimes when they are right and it is hard to back down because of pride if you are wrong in that situation. I hope this helps.

  147. These guys are all backing someone trying to suppress a potential cure for cancer. Why? What threatens you about a doctor attempting to help people? Do you have money in the companies trying to steal the patents? The same people trying to shut him down? Strange how you equate it to free speech. This is a thick plot for a high school kid to attack out of boredom apparently without much compassion for hose facing these horrible diseases.
    If you really think people with these forms of brain cancer just would have gotten better on there own. Think again. Look at the data for these cases from those institutions you refer to as reputable. They die. Almost all of them. This is better than that and that’s a start. I’m dying according to them. Have some compassion for me, looking for people go say I might be able to live.
    Love
    Jake

  148. Many have called Dr. O. Carl Simonton, an internationally acclaimed oncologist, author, and speaker who is best known for his pioneering insights and research in the field of “psychosocial oncology” a QUACK. I would be “very interested” in Rhys Morgan’s interest in pursuing this doctor’s approach to giving terminal cancer patients HOPE. What say Mr Morgan? In your totally unfounded attack against Dr Burzynski, why would you not go after others of the same mold who profess to use a non- conventional method for curing cancer? Or, have you decided that your attempt to obtain a cult following of backers to support your “childish pursuit” should focus only on one man who has devoted his life to helping others. What you are doing is nothing short of EVIL? Get a real life Mr Morgan and grow up!

    1. A shame that you can’t actually cure cancer – or anything else for that matter – with HOPE.

      You cure it with SCIENCE, something this raging quack has yet to prove he’s using.

      You morons talking about his “published studies” are such useful idiots – nothing that Burzynski has published have been either peer reviewed or even verified. For all we know, he is making it ALL up. We have no way to know, because he won’t perform a REAL study.

      1. He has agreed to studies, and provided researchers with protocols based on his 20 yrs. of research. Research by the FDA/NCI changed protocols even though Burzynski demanded they not do so, which lead to failure.

        If you feel so negative about this please watch the ‘Burzynski’ documentary/movie- they created a website that provides all the
        documents used throughout the documentary, really interesting.

        all the best

  149. Dr. Oz recommends The Burzynski Movie. See it for yourself. Also Dr. Burzynski is not the only one who has been able to cure people with terminal cancer. He and others have been squelched because ANY cure, or potential cure for cancer is a major threat to the powerful multi-billion dollar cancer industry. No one ever said they could cure all cancers. But the cure rate would be FAR higher today if Dr. Burzynski, Dr. Max Gerson, Dr. Royal Rife, and Nobel Prize recipient Otto Warburg were helped instead of hindered (or stopped altogether) from progressing with their cancer cure discoveries. Meanwhile, the powerful cancer industry’s outdated method of chemo/radiation is ironically a potent carcinogen itself.

    1. absolutely agree with you Sara! Unfortunately, many who do not see the big picture ( who responded supporting Rhys) are simply blind ducks. I do have faith that the corrupted will fail and the doc will prove himself… given the chance. Once that happens, I hope Rhys will get the courage to return to this blog and admit to learning her life lesson; don’t use your free speech right until you have fully covered all basis of your topic. Don’t fall victim to the propaganda and corruption of this country.

      1. Absolutely! If you can’t trust a commercial, who can you trust. Rhys should learn from you that every person who offers miracles for a fee must be trusted absolutely. To do otherwise is to miss the big picture.

  150. I cannot understand how people who have lost relatives to cancer can defend and support any quack that comes along trying to profit from their suffering. I too have lost people I love to cancer, and I am afraid that if I ever came across Dr Burzynski or any other similar swindler, I would end up punching them.

    They don’t give hope. They sell it for a substantial profit, knowing that there is nothing to substantiate it.

  151. Yes, be glad for your free speech rights little girl! We are given the opportunity to say what we want, when we want and thats what you get in this country along with major corruption which caused the doc to loose funding and millions defending his right to practice. The doc is a genius and just because he is collecting money from cancer victims to treat them, doesn’t mean he offers false hope…just the opposite. Don’t expect him to cure everyone or to fight the beast and win. It’s a shame you all concentrate on the “ahh they threatened me” bullshit. Grow up little girl, finish HS and when your brain develops and you get some knowledge about who Dr. Burzuński really is and what he has accomplished despite all the obstacles, you can then return to this page and apologize for your little girl free speech efforts, that only proved to be “dumb speech”!!!!!

    1. What a deluded and offensive little ocelot you are kashkash.
      Fact: Dr. B makes unsubstantiated claims
      Fact: he charges a phenomenal amount of money for an unproven treatment still in its trial phase

      Now either the treatment works and he is not sharing its arcane secrets, or it doesnt and he is making money on a snake oil scam
      Either way he is doing exactly what you accuse “big pharma” of doing, but somehow its ok for him to do it

      Incidentaly, Rhys is a dude. I’m guessing you actually thought he was a girl, because, well, you wouldn’t be calling someone a girl to imply they are less intelligent? Would you?

    2. “just because he is collecting money from cancer victims to treat them, doesn’t mean he offers false hope…just the opposite”

      What? Collecting money from cancer victims so they can particpate in what he claims to be clinical trials simply means he is collecting money from cancer victims so they can particpate in what he claims to be clinical trials.

      Taking money from people certainly does not prove you’re not offering them false hope. Ever heard of conmen? Fraud?

      “It’s a shame you all concentrate on the “ahh they threatened me” bullshit”
      Nope, we – hundreds of us – have concentrated on the facts, especially as pertains to evidence of effectiveness of these “antineoplastons”. Or rather, the lack of any evidence of their benefit, with some clear evidence for their toxicity.

    3. kashkash,

      Although I admit it’s the topic of this particular post, those criticising the Burzynski clinic (including Rhys) have discussed much more than the hysterical libel threats.

      Further issues include:

      – A startling lack of evidence of efficacy of antineoplastons as an effective treatment for any form of cancer (or any other condition Burzynski has claimed they can treat – such as AIDS and Alzheimers). This is despite over 35 years of ‘research’. For this reason, any hope invested in this treatment is likely to be false hope. If Dr Burzynski is a genius, as you claim, and if he is sometimes able to cure cancer, as you claim, then (as Rhys has written in another post), it is morally reprehensible of Dr Burzynski to fail to share his data.

      – Serious side effects of antineoplastons – which are described as ‘nontoxic’ by supporters of the clinic (including the Burzynski Patient Group).

      – Various examples of bending and breaking laws – which could ultimately result in loss of Burzynski’s licence to practise.

      -Using patients and their families to promote the clinic (via public fundraising campaigns reported in national media) while also charging them hundreds of thousands of pounds/dollars. There are several examples of patients *still* (effectively) promoting the Burzynski clinic after they have died (on the Burzynski Patient Group and Setting Them Free websites).

      -Several examples of patients being given unrealistically optimistic advice in contrast to advice from other clinics. For example, misreading MRI scans.

      I could elaborate and I could list yet more problems but I only have limited time.

      There’s much more here: http://josephinejones.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/burzynski-blogs-my-master-list/

  152. oh my gosh.. I am so amazed at the dumbness of the blogger and the commenters.. get a clue!
    the kid is seventeen years old! he has never been treated at the clinic – he doesn’t even have cancer! the kid was offered quack treatment for a condition unrelated to this clinic in Texas, so his reasoning is that every alternative non-governmental approved treatment is administered by quacks..
    blogger – go to school, study the conditions, research the treatment, get cancer and get treated, whatever.. did you know there are people who have been cured from receiving this treatment? did you know also that cancer is different for every individual that has it and there is no ‘miracle cure’ some people die and some people recover and everyone is going to react differently to different chemicals!
    get a clue and get your hair cut!
    as for the commenters – it is not approved treatment by government for monetary reasoning.. did you know they also mix Mars and M&Ms to cattle feed and infect us all with genetically modified foodstuffs? or is that just quackery too? stop reading the Daily Mail!!!!!!

  153. Keep up the great work! Thank you for acting on your instincts and showing such courage and integrity! As a mother of (almost) 8-year old twin girls, your actions give me hope in this crazy world.

    I stumbled upon your story via a commentary promoting MMS on a TEDtalk (recorded 2009), then looked up chlorine dioxide on wikipedia, then read some of your blog. I am rather fuddy-duddy technologically (the Apple IIe, or Macintosh computers, even Pac-Man were cutting edge when I was in high school in USA), so I don’t do facebook, twitter, etc. But I could not agree more with your perceptions in this case, your healthy skepticism, your tenacity, and your kind concern for the wellbeing of fellow human beings, who all-too-often fall prey to the greed of pretenders.

    From one atheist humanist to another: Thank you for posting and being a force of reason and good!

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