Burzynski Scam

Our Story Featured in USA Today!

Our story has been featured in the November 15-17, 2013 weekend edition of USA Today. Check out the full article here. The Detroit Free Press has also picked up the USA Today story.

The following are excerpts from the story.

“When you want so hard to believe something, you end up listening to your heart and not your head,” says Lisa Merritt of Armuchee, Ga., whose husband, Wayne, was treated briefly by Burzynski in 2009. The couple say that Burzynski misled them about the type of treatment that would be offered, as well as the cost. Burzynski, she says, is “the worst kind of predator.”

“Wayne Merritt, a farmer from Armuchee, Ga., went to see Burzynski in 2009 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He had hoped to receive antineoplastons, an unapproved drug that Burzynski legally prescribes through an FDA-approved clinical trial. Merritt didn’t qualify for the trial, and was disappointed to realize that the drugs he had been prescribed were conventional chemotherapy. Merritt abandoned the treatments after only a few weeks after learning that they would cost $30,000 a month.”

“Wayne Merritt and his wife, Lisa, say they got a “high-pressure sales pitch” from the Burzynski Clinic. “We felt like he was out to get every penny he could get from us in a short amount of time,” said Lisa Merritt, from Armuchee, Ga. The Merritts, who tell their story at burzynskiscam.com, said one of Burzynski’s employees, Marc Stephens, called them in 2011 to say that they could face legal action if they did not take down the site. The couple refused, said Lisa Merritt, also a cancer survivor. “I said, ‘I have had breast cancer and faced death. My husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and he’s facing death,’ ” Lisa Merritt told Burzynski’s representative at the time. “What do you think you can threaten us with that is going to scare me after this?’”

Don’t Make the Same Mistake We Did

Ok, I know people don’t like to waste a lot of time reading about people’s complaints BUT, if you or a loved one has received the diagnosis of cancer, PLEASE take the time to read this about our experience with the Burzynski Clinic in Houston Texas! We feel we were scammed and would like to save others from experiencing the same!

The Beginning

My husband was diagnosed with stage IV Pancreatic/Liver Cancer in September 2009. This sent us on a frantic search to find a suitable treatment. I had just finished up treatment for Breast Cancer and he had watched me go through chemo and radiation. So, to say the least, he was not thrilled with the idea of having to do the same, especially when the prognosis for pancreatic cancer is very grim in itself (virtually no hope of survival according to the medical community). We were told he had less than 6 months with conventional treatment and 6-12 months with treatment. We felt we had to try something that would – at the very least – give us hope.

Stanislaw Burzynski: Our Godsend?

In came The Burzynski Clinic in Houston TX. They claimed to have had success with Pancreatic/Liver Cancer patients! Up to 5 years of survival, we were told. Wow! 5 years sounds like an eternity when you’ve been given only 6 months!!!! They sent us all the paperwork, we sent them all the medical records, and plans were made to become a patient. We were told that insurance would cover, not all, but some of the treatment. We knew there would be some out of pocket expense, due to his treatment protocol being somewhat out of the norm from the rest of the medical community. We travelled to Houston expecting an initial, upfront cost for consultation with Dr. Burzynski and staff, and an overall checkup.

We were a little taken aback when we arrived and the “clinic” was a “suite” on the second floor of a 3 story building. Hmmmm…I tried to pass it off. When you want so hard to believe something, sometimes you end up listening to your heart and not your head. Next came our meeting with the doctors…it went well. Dr. Burzynski personally assured us that he had had success with this particular type of cancer. “Two months” he said, “and we’ll see a difference.”

boingboing

Then it was time to go see the Insurance Coordinator. Whoa! Granted, the first visit wasn’t that bad. She asked for the initial upfront money we knew we were going to need to pay. However, from that day forward, this was our life:

  • Office Visit
  • Simple checkup by the nurse, using what we considered to be sub-standard equipment
  • Doctor visit (not Burzynski, never saw him again)
  • Addition of medication
  • VISIT TO THE INSURANCE COORDINATOR TO HEAR HOW MUCH WE WOULD BE CHARGED FOR THE ADDITIONAL MEDICATION. We were told over and over again “this is upfront, out of pocket, but I’m trying to get the insurance company to pay on it.” We have good insurance, one of the best.

These meds did not cost hundreds of dollars, but thousands!

I’ll spare the gory details, but when all was said and done:

  • We were out almost $20,000 to the clinic
  • We were out money for accommodations since the Burzynski Clinic is an outpatient facility
  • We were out money for travel expenses
  • AND, after we got home and started figuring up all the medications they had put him on and how much it would cost us to keep him on them, we nearly choked on our tongues when it added up to almost $30,000.00 per month!

You would think that is as bad as it could get…but NO!!! After we decided there was no possible way we could afford to do this we called the clinic to see how we might start weaning him off the medicine prescribed by Burzynski Clinic. WE WERE NOT TRANSFERRED TO A NURSE OR DOCTOR, BUT TO THE INSURANCE COORDINATOR!!! We never received any information from them with instructions on how to come off the meds. We ended up calling our local pharmacist and he was able to help us out.

Conclusion

  • Along with the long list of other meds that were supposed to work in conjunction with each other, the Burzynski Clinic gave my husband standard chemotherapy medications. We were never told that two of the medications were conventional chemo medications. We discovered from our local pharmacy that one medication the Burzynski Clinic had charged us over $2300.00 for could have been purchased from the pharmacy for around $170.00.
  • After we stopped with their treatment, we were told that he WOULD NOT BE able to take part in any first round clinical trials because he had taken chemo medications – no matter how small the dose, or how short the duration. WE WERE NOT TOLD THIS UP FRONT.
  • We contacted several facilities, including The University of Texas and MD Anderson Cancer Clinic, none of which will see him because of the treatment he received at the Burzynski Clinic.
  • His only option now is conventional chemo treatment, which is what we were trying so hard to avoid in the first place!

PLEASE, IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING GOING TO OR TAKING A LOVED ONE TO BURZYNSKI CLINIC, BE CAREFUL! DO YOUR HOMEWORK! THEY WILL TRY TO DRAG YOU IN A BIT HERE AND A BIT THERE AND BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, YOU MAY BE LIKE US…LEFT WITH NO PLACE TO TURN AND $20,000 POORER!

AND we only received treatment for less than a month!

As for the people they had helped with pancreatic/liver cancer; they gave us a list of contacts. The sheet contained 4 names of pancreatic patients. 1 would not allow you to contact them and, out of the other 3, the earliest diagnosis was in March of 2009! Where are the people that have survived for 3 years, 4 years, 5 years!!!!???? Heck, even 1 year would have been nice!

In our opinion, the Burzynski Clinic is selling false hope at a price no common person can afford!

Comments From Others

Health Care Specialist says:

October 8, 2013 at 7:12 pm

As a health care specialist, this story literally makes me ill!

I just watched Dr B’s film http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/11/burzynski-the-movie.aspx and he has clearly helped many people.

As a health care specialist I can tell you first hand I have not seen one person survive stage IV cancer who have had heavy doses of chemotherapy.

I know of a well known surgeon who had breast cancer herself, refused chemo when she was diagnosed with breast cancer because of all of the deaths she had seen.

Conventional chemotherapy is more often then not a death sentence unless… you are one of the very few who has an immune system that survive that horrific poison!

My father has stage IV lung cancer. It grew from a quarter to a lemon size within 5 months. The surgeons told him he must get chemo. He was in the hospital and nearly died. My mom took him home and put him on an alternative treatment. It has been one year 6 months. He has gained all of his weight back, got off of oxygen, is even now growing hair. Had he tried conventional chemo, I am certain my father would not be here today!

And now for my own story. I had skin cancer. The surgeons removed it twice, telling me the edges “were clear” it came back a third time. I used a natural salve on it, recommended by a little patient of mine who recommended this product from a company the FDA raided at gun point. The owner went to prison and people suffered from the shut down. This salve has kept me from getting another surgery. No more signs of cancer after 13 years! I emailed 30 people who sang the praises of the salve as well.
A doctor tied to pharmaceuticals calls this quack…hmmmmmm!!!

When you think the FDA is on your side…just watch how they are trying to shut down the use of Ecigs. devices that saving lives…are made from nicotine, flavor, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine and they are trying to get rid of them! Why? Pharmaceuticals are losing millions!!! If they really care about smokers, they would stop them from selling them! You will never convince me that cigarettes with 4,000 chemicals are more healthy than just four! I have seen patients get off of oxygen with ecigs!

It’s all about greed!!!

Whenever I hear the FDA says something is quack…it’s the thing that makes me wonder if it’s a hidden cure.

Why is Tylenol not quack??? I have elevated liver enzymes “unknown cause”. My mother gave this to me as a child for my frequent headaches.

New studies show that taking tylenol just four days can cause liver damage. Why didn’t the FDA rush to shut them down???

And the FDA is trying to shut down Dr. B who is saving more lives than chemo?

Nothing is 100% for sure, but if it cures more than it kills we should not try to discourage those who can be saved!

Whoever discourage those from seeking a real cure…carries the blood on their shoulders!

Reply

Pindy Alsaif says:

October 12, 2013 at 9:26 am

Dear Lisa

So sad to hear about your story.
I am personally very confused as before reading your story, I believed in the BC, now not so sure. What made me believe in him in the first place was that Suzanne Somers wrote about this courageous out of the box thinking doctor who had cured many. Surely Suzanne must have done her research, she is into natural healing after getting breast cancer.
Wish we knew for sure either way.
Pindy

Reply

Not lisa says:

October 15, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Lol at Lisa not responding back to the 95% of people on here with good results. Hmmm. Strong nit pick going after someone’s obviously not serious screen name lol. Instead of responding to her comments she talks about how anyone with the name Jane Doe is somehow a phony. Ok Lisa. Stay hot.

Reply

Long Time Ago says:

October 16, 2013 at 3:59 am

I watched the Dr. B movie while my own daughter (then 3y/o) was going through extremely toxic chemo, including 2 courses of high-dose chemo with autologous (self-generated)bone marrow rescue for neuroblastoma. We are lucky to have her with us today, let alone blessed that she is thriving. I choose not to think about the “what ifs” from the toxicities to which she was exposed. Watching the movie and seeing my daughter’s horrific suffering, I was angry that trials Dr. B started in the 1980′s for neuroblastoma were abruptly discontinued. (Why? the staging he was investigating is typically lethal for that cancer.) Perhaps those studies could have led to other investigations.

What stuck me about the Dr. B movie was the similarity of Dr. B’s experience with the FDA and law that occurred to someone I know very well. He had developed a food supplement that he marketed as a nutritional additive. It was based on excellent scientific research. Unfortunately, he spoke to the wrong person at a convention.

As he was awaiting his patent and FDA approval, there was delay after another after another. He never was awarded approval. Instead, the unthinkable happened – ridiculous and false accusations, break-ins into his records, business and supplies. The “stories” created and published on line and in print were nauseating, as those were completely filled with lies but written with such conviction. He then had to defend himself against falsities that others created in a horrific scam. This nightmare lasted through years of trials, defending himself against the FDA, while incurring astronomical attorney fees. It nearly broke him financially and emotionally. He was criminalized and slandered – and all he wanted to do was market what he created.

As luck would have it, big pharma happened to apply for a patent during the continuous delays of his patent (meaning, the date of application by big pharma was well after his application and submission of data). Big pharma is now making millions on the exact or extremely alike product for which he was criminalized and slandered. Very unfortunately, as I have spoken of his experience, I have heard other similar tales with a similar sequence of events and outcome. That’s a bit coincidental. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but hearing such consistencies across the years, it does raise my curiosity and concern.

Now, I am not defending or accusing Dr. B. I am simply making an observation of similarity of experiences as above and Dr. B’s story. My friend who lived through the scandal was also jarred by the coincidences and similarities presented in the movie. Dr. B may have some valuable approaches and contributions to make for some forms of cancer treatment. Finding less toxic – or non-toxic treatments would be amazing (and some have recently started to surface, such as Gleevec for CML which is $3000 – $3500/mo for the rest of one’s life). His costs are by no means out of the ballpark. If we hadn’t had insurance, we would have had to file bankruptcy for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that her treatment cost.

On a side note, we also pursued and paid out of pocket for alternative interventions during her treatment including cranial-sacral work. I am convinced of the synergistic effects with traditional, Western treatment. Our oncology and BMT teams could not believe her progress, since her prognosis was so abysmal at diagnosis.

We were and continue to be blessed in so many ways. I wish the same to all who suffer and those who care for the suffering.

Reply

Kekule Asgari, M.D. says:

October 17, 2013 at 3:44 pm

In reply to non-Buddhist,

Hello Dear non-Buddhist:

AKA Dr. Marquis, the psychopathic doctor with the Burzynski Clinic;

Your comments are truly showing your personality: A person without character and class.

We shall await the judgement of History.

The cure of cancer will be delivered by real doctors.

Best Wishes,
Dr. KA

Reply

Dennis says:

October 18, 2013 at 10:21 am

$20,000? Well you could’ve gone the typical route like both my parents did and spend more than $1 million. And that $1 million a cents we bought them six months they both passed away. I’m sure this doctor didn’t promise hundred percent miracle results. Vent your bitterness in a bereavement group like I did not on the website of somebody who’s a pioneer

Reply

Nancy says:

October 18, 2013 at 9:37 pm

I’m curious. Brian is still alive 4 years after a terminal diagnosis giving him between 6 months to a year left of life. Surviving pancreatic cancer is pretty much unheard of. I looked at your CaringBridge story and it talks of prayer and diet change (raw foods) as the reason behind his cure. But…you also did a month of the protocol. It’s clear that you feel he is a charlatan but is it possible that just one month of his therapy was a piece of Brian’s miraculous recovery?

Reply

amazed says:

October 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I am simply amazed that you have the funds to make this website but couldnt afford Burzynskis wonderful treatment…. I hope God will forgive you and your husband…

Reply

Will says:

October 27, 2013 at 7:23 am

Good on you Lisa for having the courage to post your story online. I am a PhD level biomedical researcher with no financial interests in big pharma and have been aware of Burzynski for a very long time. I do quite a bit of consumer advocacy writing and it never ceases to amaze me how many people are so desperate to be misled. When I try to debate contentious issues with my detractors, I find that their arguments are nothing more than emotion-filled rants with no substance. They just keep reverting back to the same old rehashed conspiracy theories and proclaiming their modern Galileo guru as persecuted and misunderstood. In short, most if not all your detractors cannot intelligently debate the Burzynski matter because they’re going to believe what they want to believe. If I was to turn to charlatanism tomorrow, I would tell your naysayers whatever they want to hear and would have them eating out of my hand in a week. I could easily decimate their savings and have them mortgaging their homes to pay for my false hope on offer. People are foolish and predictable, but I am glad in this case that you caught on early. Best of luck to you and your husband. Kind regards.

Reply

Dana Julien says:

October 28, 2013 at 10:59 am

$30,0000 a month is a little steep for your husband’s life……if you don’t like him much. Burzynski is out of control. The FDA must stop this man! Well, actually, they tried and tried for years to discredit him (unsuccessfully) until finally they went ahead and just blatantly tried to steal his patent. Whatever happened with that?

Reply

beeliver says:

October 28, 2013 at 1:11 pm

why you guys don’t learn about swiss secret- biological medicine institute of dr Rau contact email fpleus@hotmail.com it is reasonsble too

Reply

Nadine says:

October 29, 2013 at 12:16 am

After three years of conventional treatments for her breast cancer it was aggressively spreading fast; my daughter started looking for alternatives. No conventional treatment touched it. We found out later she was diagnosed with hormone sensitive but had a second type, Triple negative, this was what was spreading. I contacted Burzynski’s Clinic.
After sending all her information for review we got a call back to tell us she could come but she could not get the antineoplastin therapy but would have to go into their chemotherapy treatment. When we asked why we were told that the antineoplastin therapy is only allowed by the FDA if you meet certain criteria. She had already had numerous rounds of chemo and treated with radiation for her breast and jaw where it spread, had two surgeries; near two million dollars and the FDA said she had not had ENOUGH! This was over board. We refused to accept this, we wanted the antineoplastin because this is what Burzynski is known for.
We ended up going to another clinic, got treatment and it killed the cancer. No questions and the whole treatment was about 30000. Well worth it.
Our problem was that our FDA’s wonderful protocols have side effects and late effects, one is organ failure, often spontaneous. This is what happened.
If you want to read her full story you can read it on Jesicha’s Hope, just google it or paste jesichashope.org, you’ll find it.
I think if you want to cure cancer you cannot do it anywhere close to where the FDA operates.

Reply

Share Your Story

Many others have contacted us about their experiences with the Burzynski Clinic. We’ve added this discussion thread to enable those that wish to share their stories to do so. Your contact information (Email & Phone) will not be published unless you include it in the “Your Story / Comments” section.

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