Flying around the internet

Skeptical Humanities on the Observer on Burzynski:

Entire communities throw untold sums of money at the slimmest (nonexistent, really) hope that these patients will recover at the Burzynski Clinic, and the Observer finds this uplifting.

Uncritically giving a cancer quack uncritical press? How could we possibly have mistaken that for promotion? We should have just called it as it was: a shoddy, pathetic, and irresponsible attempt at journalism.

The Internet apologizes for not making this clearer.

Now do you f*cking job and protect Billie, her family, and your readers from this immense fraud.


Please consider donating to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. They turn nobody away, even if they can’t pay. Unlike Burzynski.

Quackometer on the Observer on Burzynski:

Written by Stephen Pritchard, the Readers’ Editor, the response attempts to justify its coverage and blames bloggers for “aggression, sanctimony and a disregard for the facts”. It is a disgraceful and self-serving response. Pritchard claimed their story was one of “courage and generosity”. No it was not. It was a story of exploitation of courage and generosity. The Observer still fails to understand this.

The response fails to address the serious concerns raised about the article, and instead appears to attack those concerned for insensitivity and a lack of understanding. This is incredible. I have found almost without exception, the dozens of blog posts written about this story to be compassionate, insightful and targeted at those who should have known better – not the families of cancer sufferers – but those promoting the clinic, raising money for untested treatments, and the clinic itself.

Pritchard justifies the approach by saying “the point that is being lost in the vitriol that is flying around the internet” is that the treatment provides some hope for the parents.” My original article suggested that it was cruel to raise false hope. The costs involved are not just financial, but carry pain and risks for those being treated. In any medical treatment decision, there are benefits and risks.

The “treatment” also provides a large lump of money for the clinic. Giving it to a church might also provide some hope for the parents, but would the Observer write a human-interest story about a campaign to raise £200,000 to pay the Catholic church to pray for a child with a brain tumor?



  1. Francisco Bacopa says

    Folks here in Texas have been trying to shut Burzynski down for twenty years now. He’s up for a review that just might do it. Dr. B knows his time is short and is trying to stir up as much trouble as possible before we finally take away his licence.

    Dr. B is a parasite on Houston’s reputation as home of the best cancer treatment hospitals in the world. MD Anderson Hospital has been a second home to The Hitch for about a year now. I hope his cancer abates enough that they can repair his esophagus so he can eat normally again. Hitchens has been eating through a GI button for the last several months. Imagine not being able to chew and swallow food. Horrible! Sure has taken the pounds off though.

  2. says

    Oh, that adds a new wrinkle; I didn’t know that about Houston. So Burzynski is doing a Templeton. Templeton is a parasite on the reputation of Cambridge.

  3. says

    The other reaction I had to the Observer’s piece is that if this is causing upset for the family, they only have Marc Stephens to blame. The original Quackometer post took exactly the compassionate tone that the Observer claims to be asking for, but it was the bizarre and ineffective thuggery of their now unemployed PR hack that brought the discussion a certain amount of vitriol.

    And yeah, it’s an evasion for all the other reasons too.

  4. Trebuchet says

    Sadly, there’s still a lot of woo on the “What we are doing now” page from

  5. says

    Trebuchet, The woo you refer to may be attributed to a desperate wife trying to do everything humanly possible to keep her husband alive and with her. Yes, I agree,… some may sound strange,…. however it’s hard to argue with the fact that “this is” what we’ve been doing AND my husband is still doing wonderful!!! September 29th, 2011 was 2 years! After being given approximately 2-4 months. Give us credit for “picking ourselves up after the Burzynski fiasco,… and trying something!” A lot would have went home to die and given up!!! Maybe faith and attitude has a lot more to do with it than treatment, diet, supplements, & juicing! And maybe all of it working together is the key. That is what we like to believe. Whichever it is,….. we are just sooooooo very thankful that we have been given the most wonderful gift; more time together!!!! Blessings to you!!! Lisa

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