If you haven’t heard of Quackbusters, count your blessings! But you probably have if you have done any kind of medical investigation on the internet.
Now before I run the risk of “throwing the baby out with the bath water” I will say that there are some valuable services their organization has provided. I personally believe that there needs to be caution when people venture away from conventional medicine. That being said, I do not like being talked down to (never have and I don’t think you do either.) OK, that is just my emotional opinion. Sorry, we can agree or agree to disagree.
Following is an excerpt from a press release sent by Betty Martini dated 23rd June 2007:
On June 11th, 2007, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a lower court dismissal of Barretts defamation suite against Dr. Koren. Barretts case was so lacking in merit that the judge blocked it from going to the jury. Barrett simply had no case against Dr. Koren.
This followed another stunning defeat last month in California. There an appeals court ordered Barrett and crony Terry Polevoy, MD to post bonds of more than $400,000.00 after they lost a defamation case against Illena Rosenthal virtually identical to the Koren case.
Perhaps the fact that lawyers and judges in Allentown are catching on to his intimidation schemes explains why Barrett is moving to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Barrett can run but he can’t hide. Chapel Hill collection attorneys are already being asked to locate his assets to pay his unmet legal obligations. Assets of other Quackwatch, Inc., principals might also be sought.
Who Is Steven Barrett, What Are Quackbusters?
Steven Barrett is an unlicensed Pennsylvania psychiatrist, who failed his psychiatric boards and has been criticized for his lack of expertise by several courts, still claims to often advise the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the FBI, State Attorneys General, HMOs, Consumer Reports, medical journals and state medical, chiropractic and dental boards.
The insurance industry cites Barretts highly opinionated Quackbuster attacks to deny paying claims for chiropractic and other natural healthcare.
Barrett and the Quackbusters, a vigilante group of self proclaimed skeptics of any medical or health modality that avoids drugs, surgery or radiation, attack almost all non-conventional healthcare practices as quackery. Ignoring all scientific research to the contrary, they dismiss Gulf War Syndrome, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Chemical Sensitivity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and dietary supplements as rubbish. Double Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling is on their quack hit list along with many well known and respected doctors and scientists, including Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, and dozens of others.
Barrett claims to give over 500 interviews a year to newspapers, magazines, and television shows, including CNN and the Today Show. He claims to have been a peer reviewer for seven medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, even though he had no license to practice medicine when he did the reviewing.
The Quackbusters run over 70 websites. Millions of people go to them every year.
Look up chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy or even vitamin C, as well as almost every other natural health topic, on the Internet and you (and the public) will be led to Quackbuster sites advising you of natural health dangers.
In all these forums Barrett and the Quackbusters relentlessly attack the consumer’s right to informed choice. These activities continue the AMAs anti-quackery activities that were struck down by federal courts as an illegal restraint of trade in a landmark lawsuit brought by Illinois chiropractor Chester Wilk. They also help insurance companies deny consumer reimbursement claims.
At the same time, Barrett promotes products like aspartame (NutraSweet), which is the subject of tens of thousands of consumer complaints.
Question (asked on Barretts web site): An email message is being circulated with many statements to the effect that aspartame is dangerous. How worried should I be? Answer (from Barrett): Not at all.
The message is pure rubbish.
Cancer researchers have determined that aspartame is carcinogenic – Did Mr. Barrett forget to read the paper the last couple of years?
What Did Dr. Koren Do to Provoke Barrett’s Shakedown?
Dr. Tedd Koren is a well-known chiropractor, researcher, writer and lecturer. Barrett sued Dr. Koren in 2003 for calling him a Quackpot, saying he was in big trouble because of a racketeering law suit brought against him, and attacking his lack of a medical license in his internet newsletter.
The trial judge and three appeals judges agreed unanimously that these statements were so far from defamation that no jury could be legally allowed to call them defamation. Dr. Koren also said Barrett was not licensed.
One of the three appeals court judges thought a jury might be able to find this to be defamation. However two appellate judges disagreed and jurors interviewed after the trial said they too saw through Barrett, and felt that he was a litigious, ungrounded and a biased manipulator of the truth.
In part jurors formed this view because Barrett testified with great self-satisfaction in the Koren case that he had sued many doctors-close to forty-in similar cases, demanding up to $100,000 if they wished to avoid a costly lawsuit. Some paid, although how many is yet to be discovered.
Drs. Koren and Rosenthal and a few others did not. Barrett has failed to win a single lawsuit in this particular shakedown scheme.
Dr. Korens Legal Team
Well known consumer advocate, James S. (Jim) Turner, general counsel to Koren Publications, who several years earlier had persuaded the FTC to drop an investigation against Dr. Koren (brought at a time when Barrett was a consultant to the FTC), organized and coordinated the legal team that represented Dr. Koren. Attorney Christopher Reid of Allentown, Pennsylvania acted as associate trial counsel and appellate counsel and California health freedom attorney Carlos Negrete acted as trial counsel.
Mr. Negrete said, “Fortunately for all of his colleagues, Dr. Koren decided not to back down and took the case to trial. Barrett is part of a group of intolerant individuals. I am not certain who the supporters of the so-called Quackbusters are, but they seem to me to be just skinheads with stethoscopes.”
During heated and often dramatic courtroom proceedings, Mr. Negrete pointed out many of the questionable statements Barrett includes on his websites attacking chiropractic, as well as facts about Barrett’s own credentials that shocked even his supporters.
Mr. Turner says, “It is important that a very responsible judge in Barrett’s hometown recognized that he was making false allegations and dismissed the case.”
In addition to the victims of Barrett’s hostilities, he has cost untoward numbers of consumers pain, anguish and probably serious harm by his misrepresentation of the facts about subjects ranging from acupuncture to zinc.
Mr. Turner, who among other campaigns led the team that got acupuncture needles approved as safe by FDA, worked with a Senate committee to abolish the dysfunctional vaccine regulatory agency, worked with whistle-blowers to stop the Swine Flu inoculation campaign, kept aspartame off the market for ten years, and played a key role in lobbying the Organic Food Production Act through Congress (all areas on which the Foundation for Health Choice focuses.)
Mr. Turner says, “Our objective is to end Barrett’s abuse of consumers by eliminating the false and misleading information from his website and his entire network of websites and replacing it with sound, useful information for consumers.”
But according to Dr. Koren, this is just the beginning. Just as the FTC battle was not about Tedd Koren alone but had ramifications for the entire chiropractic and natural health professions, so the Barrett v. Koren battle will have major ramifications for all.
“We’re going to give the Quackbuster’s a taste of their own medicine. They’ll learn how dangerous medicine can be. Our mission is not just about revealing the Quackbuster’s to be the unscientific bigots that they are. We are fighting for health care freedom. One of our goals is to permit parents to make sound decisions about vaccination for their children. There are too many sound health reasons for certain children to avoid vaccination and the government has recognized too many vaccine caused deaths and maiming (over $1.5 billion of compensation has been paid to bereaved families by the federal vaccine injury compensation system since 1988) to allow a non-vaccinated child to be refused day care, school, college, or employment.” says Dr. Koren.
Recently the Alliance for Natural Health posted the following related article in their blog called “Death in a White Coat”:
In the January 26, 2010, New York Times, two fourth-year Harvard Medical School students addressed “Patient Safety: Conversation to Curriculum,” stressing “a need to end the secrecy around medical errors and learn from our mistakes”.
Noting that findings by the Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report on medical errors have been “slow to trickle down to medical schools,” Daniel Blumenthal and Ishani Ganguli underscore the “pressing need for a cultural shift that dissolves the secrecy surrounding medical errors.” After all, Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
In his new book Death by Medicine, Dr. Gary Null — an award-winning journalist and one of this nation’s leading advocates of natural healing — confirms that the number of people who die each day because of medical errors (e.g., physician mistakes, hospital-related illness and reactions to FDA-approved medications) — is the equivalent of six jumbo jets falling out of the sky. Every year, the number of Americans dying at the hands of medicine exceeds the American casualties in the Civil War and World War I combined.
According to Null and his three co-authors, drug company representatives write about new medicines in glowing articles, which are then signed by physicians who are paid handsomely for their cooperation, although they may not know about the adverse side effects of the drugs they promote.
The most toxic substances are often approved first, while milder and more natural alternatives are ignored for commercial reasons. Adverse interactions between prescription drugs are largely untested, despite the fact that more and more Americans are taking multiple drug-combinations, often for medical conditions related to simple vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.
Fortunately, American healthcare consumers increasingly vote with their pocketbooks, seeking integrative healthcare when they are sick and allopathic medicine only in cases of emergency.
Kudos to practitioners-in-training Blumenthal and Ganguli, who echo the sentiments expressed by famed patient-safety researcher Dr. Lucian Leape, of Harvard’s School of Public Health: “When I go to a doctor, I should have somebody who I know is competent, who I know I can trust and who will put my interest first. Two of those three have nothing to do with science.”
Now what do the Quackbusters think about that?
Well, you can bet they deny any wrongful death suits that arise from following the prescribed guidelines that have been put together by a committee of doctors who are being paid by the pharmaceutical companies with grant money to produce vaccines before they even understand how diseases work. We all learned that the hard way with the IDSA guidelines causing most Lyme sufferers to have their treatment denied due to these guidelines that have been put together not by the researchers who have some idea of what actually kills the bacteria and stops the progress of the disease, but from doctors who want to be published and make money from drug deals that as we just read in the preceding article are many times causing people to die prematurely. These are the same doctors who have a strong lobby along with the pharmaceutical companies that are trying to get vitamin supplements taken off the market and given out by prescription only. Even though it is the prescription drugs NOT the supplements that are causing all he premature death across the country.
And finally, another issue that affects Lymies in a big way right now has to do with chelation due to the fact that mercury poisoning can be very similar to some Lyme symptoms. In another article by the Alliance For Natural Health, “Removing Heavy Metals from the Body Is Dangerous”; Posted on April 24, 2012:
Not only are doctors being advised to reject chelation therapy—they’re being asked to report on their colleagues who practice it.
The American College of Medical Toxicology held a conference at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this past February about the “use and misuse” of chelation therapy—a misleading title suggesting some semblance of scientific objectivity, which was nowhere in evidence. The conference was more like a Salem witch hunt in which chelators played the role of the accused witches and warlocks.
Why is chelation so threatening to mainstream medicine? There is no disputing that heavy metals are extremely toxic. The human body is engineered to remove small amounts daily, but not the large amounts we often pick up from modern sources.
One of those sources has of course been vaccines, which have used mercury as a preservative (it is still used in the US flu shot). Another source has been dental “silver” amalgam, which also contains mercury. This may be part of the reason for the hostility to chelation.
How does the therapy work? One method involves injecting into the patient’s bloodstream organic chemicals, which can bind and remove the heavy metals in the bloodstream (metals which are toxic to humans and interfere with various physiological functions). There are also oral or suppository supplements for chelation, and some foods are natural chelators (e.g., cilantro and chlorella).
Chelation therapy has been used by many physicians and administered to thousands of patients since 1952.
An informal survey of our readers  revealed that body detoxification—whether through chelation, or through sauna or special dietary methods—is among their top ten most popular integrative therapies.
The National Institutes of Health is currently studying EDTA chelation for cardiovascular disease  in the TACT trial. (EDTA is used for lead and other heavy metals but not for Mercury. Other chelators are used for that.)
Many people have doubted whether a US government agency could be expected to produce a fair evaluation. The jury is still out on that.
Doctors attending the conference received continuing education credits for attending and hearing all the chelation-bashing.
Various topics seemed designed to highlight the dangers of chelation—while attempting to dismiss the benefits.
A look at the PowerPoint slides (available as PDFs downloadable from the conference’s website ) reveal the following:
- No hard data was presented on the supposed public health dangers of chelation—only three anecdotal case studies. Hardly a “scientific” analysis.
- The speakers were biased—they made no attempt to represent or provide information from doctors who actually administer chelation therapy to their patients.
- Their main basis for dismissing chelation therapy is the way lab results are interpreted. This detail, however, does not address any of the effects of the therapy itself.
- The conference targets two “advocacy sites” for spreading “misinformation”: the American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM), and the American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine (A4M)—both of which are respected organizations that represent integrative doctors. ACAM offers training and certification in chelation therapy .
Equally revealing is who else was represented at the conference, either as attendees or as panelists: the FDA and the Federation of State Medical Boards!
In the FDA’s session (“Unapproved Chelation Products Available Over the Internet”), the agency tried to conflate unapproved chelation products with the supposed dangers of dietary supplements. But “unapproved” chelation products are already illegal, and FDA is already empowered to enforce against them. Moreover, these products have nothing to do with the regulatory status of dietary supplements.
The FDA has the power to regulate interstate commerce of drugs and devices, and has used that power to clamp down on the sale of chelation products. In 2008 the agency released a Public Health Advisory on EDTA —simply because inattentive hospital personnel mixed up the medications being administered! In 2010, the FDA ordered eight companies to stop marketing over-the-counter chelation products . Our sources told us FDA was aware that many integrative doctors were doing heart-related chelation, and hoped that by blocking one particular form of EDTA , these doctors might be put out of business.
The presence of the Federation of State Medical Boards (a private organization largely controlled by the AMA ) is especially troubling, as they could take this misinformation, adopt anti-chelation policies in each state, and target doctors who practice chelation therapy. In Kentucky, for example, doctors cannot discuss chelation therapy with their patients lest they face revocation of their license. Indeed, almost all Kentucky physicians who use alternative therapies have been either forced out of state or forced to desist from using alternative therapies, especially chelation therapy, because it “departs from prevailing practice in the State of Kentucky.” This is all too common, to one degree or another, in most states.
As the central federal agency for providing information on disease and public health issues, the CDC (which led a session as well as hosting the event) is in a key position to spread bias and misinformation on chelation.
We were also told that “Quackbuster” Stephen Barrett  was a key participant.
Unfortunately, integrative physicians who practice chelation therapy fear being vocal about it lest they be targeted by their state medical boards or the Quackbusters…”
Article printed from The Alliance for Natural Health USA: http://www.anh-usa.org
URL to article: http://www.anh-usa.org/removing-heavy-metals-like-mercury-from-the-body-is-dangerous/
 An informal survey of our readers: http://www.anh-usa.org../../../../../survey-results-supplements-diet-and-exercise-top-the-list-of-alternative-therapies/
 EDTA chelation for cardiovascular disease: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/chelation
 downloadable from the conference’s website: http://www.acmt.net/2012_Use_Misuse_of_Metal_Chelation_Therapy.html
 training and certification in chelation therapy: http://www.acamnet.org/site/c.ltJWJ4MPIwE/b.6805203/k.BD39/Detoxification__IV_Chelation.htm
 Public Health Advisory on EDTA: http://www.anh-usa.org../../../../../fda%E2%80%99s-stealth-attack-on-chelation-therapy-for-cardio-vascular-disease/
 stop marketing over-the-counter chelation products: http://www.anh-usa.org../../../../../fda-nixes-over-the-counter-chelation/
 by blocking one particular form of EDTA: http://www.anh-usa.org../../../../../tell-fda-hands-off-chelation/
 largely controlled by the AMA: http://www.anh-usa.org../../../../../readers-corner-can-doctor-get-into-trouble-offering-natural-treatments/
 Stephen Barrett: http://www.anh-europe.org/news/quackbuster-stephen-barrett-md-loses-appeal-and-leaves-ho