Our Story Featured in USA Today!
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!
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.”
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.
- 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!