Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ed Gochenour, or Why Many of Us Are Angry About the Burzynski Cancer Petition

Sadly, a child in Houston (who happens to be a member of an Orthodox Jewish family) has aggressive brain cancer. They have put a petition on the WeThePeople (the White House petition site) asking the FDA to allow a "compassionate use exemption" for something called "antineoplastin therapy" and the Burzynski Clinic in Houston, which was pulled from clinical trials in 2012. In fact, as a USA Today expose has made clear, there are very good reasons why they've pulled it; Burzynski is a snake oil salesman. Nevertheless, some people such as Rebbetzin Ariela Davis are pushing us all to sign this petition and doesn't seem to understand why we're so angry. I recently came across former State Senator Ed Gochenour, who I think exemplifies why a lot of us are so angry; along with anti-vaccine people/global warming deniers/etc., this is just one more instance of the government bureaucrats/scientists can do no right mentality that is becoming rampant in this country.

State Senator Ed Gochenour was a Republican who represented Macon, Georgia in the 1990s. There's a picture of him here speaking in front on microphones at a rally at a criminal trial for Burzynski back in 1997 (he beat the charges and was able to continue his practice), in front of a sign saying "Don't let the FDA stop access to Dr. Burzyski's life saving miracle drug." He was also diagnossed with brain cancer. After rejecting the advice of the "best neurosurgeon at Emory University," he then got "treated" by Dr. Burzynski starting in December 1996, claiming in 1998"I began treatment in the middle of December and three weeks later 50% of the tumor was gone. After five months the cancerous part of the tumor was completely gone. I have to remain on the IV part of the treatment until the end of this year and then will take the antineoplastons for several years by capsule." He died of brain cancer at age 46 in November 1999.

Before he died, though, he gave some anti-FDA testimony in February 1998 to the U.S. House of Representative Government Oversight and Reform Committee which primarily demonstrates his lack of understanding of the scientific process and controlling variables:

After learning of alternative treatments and the problems they were having with the FDA, this past January during the Georgia General Assembly I introduced and was successful in getting passed an Access to Medical Treatment Act. The citizens of Georgia believe that patients ought to have the access to the treatment of their choice when their lives are threatened. Because I am a State Senator my name has been in many stories nationwide associated with Dr. Burzynski. This has led many potential patients to call and ask me about the treatment and for help getting into a protocol.

The most disheartening thing about the whole ordeal with the FDA is that while the FDA is allowing the antineoplastons to go through clinical trials to test their efficacy, they are making patients take treatments they do not want to take before they can become a part of a clinical trial. One reason we choose Dr. Burzynski is that his medicine is nontoxic. For the FDA to make a patient take radiation before they can become part of a clinical trial for antineoplastons is unreal.

The FDA will not allow patients that don't fit the protocols to take the antineoplastons without a fight. One gentleman from Texas had high blood pressure and because the medicine is a sodium based medicine taking the normal dose the way the protocol requires would have caused him more problems. This gentleman needed a special treatment unique to him. It took six weeks of fighting with the FDA and getting his Congressman involved before he could take the treatment.

When the FDA was created it was with good intent. The citizens of this country needed help with determining whether drugs were safe or not. But if I allowed my two boys to grow up without supervision they would become something different than they are now. They would be arrogant, belligerent, undisciplined and uncaring much like the FDA has become. I believe it is time that Congress steps in and brings some discipline to this department and restore some integrity.