Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Terry Polevoy's complaint to the Canadian Business Press

Jan. 18, 2005

Philip J. Boyd , President
Canadian Business Press
4195 Dundas Street West
Suite 346
Toronto, ON M8X 1Y4
P: 416-239-1022 F: 416-239-1076

Dear Mr. Boyd:

An article written by Barbara Kermode-Scott's appeared in the November 2, 2004 edition of the Medical Post, and was subsequently removed because of threats to sue them. Those threats have absolutely no basis in fact.

The decision was made to yank the article by their senior editor Rick Campbell. He claims in e-mail communications that lawyers for Rogers advised him to remove the full-text article from their web site.

The theme of the article was a profile of my fight, as a medical doctor, against quackery and fraud in Canada.

The purpose of this complaint is to stop the “libel chill” that has apparently threatened the freedom of press in this country. At a time when more information about health and medical quackery is really needed in Canada, Rogers takes a giant step backwards.

Here is a link to the blank page where the original articles called "Challenging Quacks and Frauds" first appeared:

Here is a link to a web site that maintains the article (sans pictures).

I have been Canada’s leader in the battle against medical and health quackery and have been the subject of numerous articles, radio and television shows over the last few years. The complete story with links about myself and my work are available here:

Here is a link to the story about the "libel chill" on our own web site for your review:

I am not a stranger to defamation. I am presently involved as a plaintiff in a major lawsuit for defamation that is now in the Supreme Court in California.

As a result of the publicity after Medical Post's "libel chill", I am being personally defamed and attacked on the internet by the anonymous posters, cancer quacks and their supporters.

Here are just a few examples on several new Google Groups since in the last few weeks:

1. Why the Medical Post Nuked the November Article about Terry Polevoy

Description: Recently, a Rogers media subsidiary, The Medical Post allowed a advertisement for the hate and misinformation of WingNut Terry Polevoy, disguised as an article about NutJob, to sneak past the editorial staff.

2. Why Terry Polevoy is Being Invetsigated by the CPSO

Description: Terry Polevoy is currently under investigation by the College of Physicians and Surgeons for the Province of Ontario. This group is dedicated to publishing all the facts as they become available.

This was only the beginning of these attacks against me by anonymous posters on Usenet. I can tell you from the experience I have had over the last seven years, trying to help educate the public about quackery, that this won't be the end.

As a direct result of the libel chill launched by Rick Campbell, the editor of the Medical Post, the opportunity to continue these defamatory attacks has once again been brought to the surface.

Definition: Libel chill is a classic tactic undertaken by an organization that wishes to silence its enemies. It consists of threatening to file libel actions that would be expensive to defend, not in order to win damages, but to prevent some truth from being revealed.

When the Medical Post reported to me that their lawyers felt threatened by someone who has been charged by the Federal government for violating the laws and regulations aimed to protect the health of Canadians, they took unilateral actions that will most likely have much wider effect on the freedom of speech.

I can assure you that being the target of the swipes and defamation by wackos and anonymous charlatans can be more hurtful than you can imagine. I suppose if Rick Campbell was in my shoes he might feel a lot differently. As a person who is responsible for editing Canada's leading medical news vehicle, it is never an easy job.

But, to censor criticism of medical quackery and the marketing and promotion of unapproved drugs is not his job. It is the job of the readers throughout the world to judge if the story should run on the internet. If the readers of the Medical Post felt that the article was biased, or one-sided then they can complain. The article was about me, and my life and battles.

The people who, according to Mr. Campbell, filed the complaint have threatened to file numerous lawsuits against a lot of people, and they have never followed up successfully. In fact, the three authors of the book called "Pig Pills, Inc. - The anatomy of an academic and alternative health fraud" have only been threatened over the telephone, and have never once been approached by any attorney about the book that we wrote nearly two years ago.

Rogers Communications has a responsibility to the public and in order to gain a wider acceptance in the alternative medical community they may be, as part or a larger organization, biased in favour of alternative medicine. Over the years, Rogers-owned radio and TV outlets have supported in one way or another, a wide variety of programs that contain unproved treatments, and they still sell airtime to many people who represent the very worst example of quackery.

The bottom line is that the Medical Post has taken away the rights of millions of people around the world to read the story about my battle against quackery and health fraud. Rogers Communications must take steps to insure that their bias is not repeated.

Your comments and discussion with Rogers and the Medical Post are appreciated.


Terry Polevoy, MD


Terry has posted it to his website: