“Christian Wellness” for cancer treatment draws federal scrutiny

I don’t even know where to begin with this beautifully-crafted but very sad article in today’s Wall Street Journal (sub req’d..sorry) by Suzanne Sataline.
This has all the features that are sure to send PZ Myers and Orac convulsing in a corner somewhere. As detailed in FDA allegations from an ongoing investigation as reported by Sataline:

A Pentacostal minister physician touting cancer cure rates of 60% or better, without chemotherapy
The sale/promotion of dietary supplements and herbal formulas, sometimes along with diets inspired by Biblical descriptions, at hundreds to thousands of dollars at a clip
Promotions on the “Praise the Lord” program on Trinity Broadcasting Network

The allegations, from an FDA affidavit, describe what seems to be an increasingly frightening practice by licensed medical doctors who stray well beyond the constraints of professional latitude:

Former patients and the affidavit say Dr. Daniel sold at least six different liquid formulas. FDA analysis found some of the formulas contained various herbal compounds, as well as protein powder, vitamins, alcohol, and beef extract. Some patients said they paid as much as $6,000 weekly for care at Dr. Daniel’s wellness clinic, while others report paying a similar amount for a monthly supply of her mixtures. For some patients, office visits were covered by their medical insurance.
The FDA is looking into allegations that Dr. Daniel violated federal law by introducing an unapproved drug into the market, misbranding a drug, and committing mail and wire fraud, the affidavit says. Prosecutors filed the affidavit under seal in U.S. District Court Los Angeles in January 2006 to obtain a search warrant of Dr. Daniel’s home and office.

The real problem here boils down to one issue, once again:

“There is nothing wrong with a medical doctor claiming that they can cure someone,” said lead prosecutor Joseph O. Johns, an assistant U.S. attorney. “What is illegal is selling an unapproved new drug and claiming that it can cure cancer.”

These WSJ articles often pop up in secondary publications after a few days, so I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more open-access accounts of this story.


7 thoughts on ““Christian Wellness” for cancer treatment draws federal scrutiny

  1. faith can be a very important thinig in helping illness recovery do the the hope it can bring a patient
    Why- because in the bible it says that your faith can make you well???? I call bullsh*t!!!
    I remember well being told by “experts” who believed in a multidisciplinary approach to chronic illness that the mind could cure one of cancer and warts. That was what made me a skeptic. That one experience a few years ago got me on the internet looking up their psychobabble claims. Guess what? They are unproven, and serve only to blame the patient.
    How on earth anyone can say HOPE and FAITH have any therapeutic value is absolutely mind boggling. To tell a patient that they are unwell because they are not paying attention to their spiritual needs is just plain silly. I have no respect for it at all.
    Yet this crap is sold and purveyed in all sorts of respected centres, as well as by obvious quacks. Patients are completely unaware of it, often times, because it is presented skillfully as a fact, and not allowed to be questioned. There is absolutely no WAY to quantify faith and hope in a person- NONE, let alone its ability to affect a disease process.

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