Quack Doctor Treating Cancer With Baking Soda Sues Skeptic For Questioning Her Cancer Treatment Methods
from the playing-the-'batshit-crazy-German-law'-wildcard dept
Very little attracts legal threats faster than someone calling a quack a quack. If it energizes tap water like a duck and promotes off-label use of dangerous drugs like a duck, it’s probably a duck. The legal history of “alternative” medical practices is littered with cease-and-desist orders and failed lawsuits. The legal present is just as cluttered.
Blogger/skeptic Britt Hermes could have gone down the road to quack infamy. She was on the “naturopathic” career path when she came to the realization the whole things was horseshit. Rather than exploit the horseshit to make sick people sicker, Hermes decided to let the world know just how much horseshit her former colleagues were peddling.
One of her targets is Colleen Huber, an Arizona naturopath who is in the process of duping cancer patients out of their health, if not their lives. Here’s what Hermes has to say about Huber:
Colleen Huber does not use conventional chemotherapy or radiation. She treats cancer with intravenous baking soda, vitamin C, and other “natural” substances, while instructing patients to cut out sugar from their diets. She thinks sugar feeds cancer.
[Huber’s clinic] specifically states that they do not treat their patients with chemotherapy or radiation. Further, they appear to discourage standard treatment as evidenced by this statement on their website:
Your best opportunity is to begin the natural treatments before the conventional treatments (chemo, radiation, etc.) sicken and weaken you and ultimately strengthen the disease. Many of the patients who opted for only natural treatments never even got sick and saw no side effects.
So in their view chemotherapy strengthens the cancer. Meanwhile they recommend implausible treatments that are not evidence-based. David Gorski has already done an excellent job reviewing the literature on vitamin C and cancer – bottom line, it doesn’t work.
Huber likes to claim her research backs up her outlandish claims. But as Hermes has pointed out, there’s no way her research is ever going to be questioned, considering Huber’s position gives her the power to grade her own papers.
Nowhere in any of her “research” that I could find did she write that she obtained written, informed consent from her patients/research subjects. Nor did she write that her “research” was approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov. These are fundamental ethical requirements for research on human subjects.
But don’t worry, Colleen Huber is a founding member of a naturopathic Institutional Review Board that has apparently approved her research. The board, which also oversees several other naturopathic organizations, including the Naturopathic Oncology Research Institution (NORI), was established in 2010, and from what I can tell, was registered with the FDA in 2013. This registration is legally required in order to approve research on human subjects. According to the IRB’s meeting minutes from November 8, 2013, the first study approved was a study on an herbal gel for cold sores. But Huber says she started her research in 2006…before her IRB was formed.
What comes next is unsurprising. (You did read the headline, right?) Huber didn’t like having her horseshit exposed and sent a cease-and-desist to Hermes last fall. Hermes, secure in her conclusions and statements, ignored the C&D. Huber has now taken the next step and is suing Hermes for factually reporting on Huber’s dubious… everything.
Arizona naturopath Colleen Huber is suing me in Germany for defamation over my opinions about her so-called natural cancer treatments and research. The lawsuit was filed in Kiel, Germany (where I live) on September 17th, 2017. This legal action came four weeks after Huber’s lawyers sent me a cease and desist letter that demanded I remove a blog post about Huber and pay Huber’s legal fees. My lawyer responded that allegations laid out in the letter were not correct and therefore, I would not comply. I believe Huber is attempting to stifle my right to freedom of speech with this SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation).
The first sentence of Hermes’ post spells trouble for the naturopath-turned-skeptic: Germany is not a great place to defend critical speech. Defamation is a criminal offense in Germany, rather than a civil offense. A lawsuit can result in criminal charges, fines, and prison sentences. Truth is still a defense against defamation claims, but somehow the German government still manages to secure over 20,000 defamation convictions every year. And, of course, there’s no such thing as an anti-SLAPP law in Germany, meaning Hermes must foot the bill for legal fees defending herself from Huber’s transparent attempt to silence a noisy critic.
Fortunately, Hermes has secured one of the best for her legal representation. Dr. Daniel Kötz comes highly recommended by none other than Marc Randazza and is the only European member of the First Amendment Lawyers Association. She has also set up a crowdfunding page for her defense against Huber’s attempt to have “might” triumph over “right.” Hopefully, this will be dispensed of cheaply and quickly and Huber can go back to having her “medical” practice thoroughly and factually disparaged by actual medical professionals and well-qualified skeptics.