Friday, January 20, 2012

Dr. Burzynski, supplier of outrageously overpriced medications?

Reposted from Orac at Respectful Insolence:
It turns out that Quinlan is suing Burzynski for negligent misrepresentation, fraud, conspiracy, and violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Here are the allegations contained in the lawsuit:
  • Dr. Burzynski convinced Ms. Quinlan to undergo a proprietary cancer treatment in lieu of chemotherapy and radiation and that the defendants failed to disclose information about the drugs used in this treatment with the intent to induce Ms. Quinlan into purchasing the drugs at a highly inflated price. 
  • … 
  • Dr. Burzynski pitched his antineoplastons to Ms. Quinlan but never disclosed that the treatment was part of a clinical trial. To add the proverbial insult to injury, he never told her that medical insurance wouldn't pay for the therapy
  • Dr. Burzynski's clinic coerced Ms. Quinlan into purchasing her prescription from Southern Family Pharmacy at "outrageous prices." She was not allowed to fill the prescriptions anywhere else. It turns out that Southern Family Pharmacy is owned by Stanislaw Burzynski, a fact that was not disclosed to Ms. Quinlan. The price for some medications was $500 per pill, and the pharmacy charged her credit card without her knowledge. Ms. Quinlan later learned that she could have purchased the same medications elsewhere at a fraction of the price.
Ms. Quinlan is demanding treble damages under the law because the defendants "acted knowingly and intentionally." As well she should, if even half of the allegations in her complaint are true. In fact, one of the things that stands out to me in particular is the claim that Burzynski pitched antineoplastons to her and didn't tell her that it would be part of a clinical trial. This is such an egregious and unforgivable breach of informed consent that, if the allegation is found to be true, the FDA should swoop in and shut the Burzynski Clinic down. No. Strike that. The FDA should investigate again based on this allegation. I've often said that I'd very much like to see a copy of the informed consent form that Burzynski requires patients to sign but never really expected to see one, at least not unless a former patient has second thoughts and is willing to send me a copy. Silly me! The reason I will never see such a document is because Burzynski apparently doesn't show it to patients. One wonders if the consent forms for Burzynski's "clinical trials' exist only for show. It's hard not to suspect that these forms are something Burzynski produces to placate the FDA and to trot out when his clinic is inspected.

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