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).

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I never said I could cure cancer, says 'therapist'

I never said I could cure cancer, says 'therapist'

Jul 19 2005
Robin Turner, Western Mail

A SELF-STYLED "detoxification therapist" accused of falsely claiming he could cure cancer walked free from court yesterday after the case against him collapsed.

Roy McKinnon, 62, a former Royal Bank of Scotland official, had been treating ill people including cancer patients with a battery powered "zapper" which he said could alter their DNA.

He also offered herbal remedies and his practices made him and another therapist the subject of an investigative programme by BBC Wales's Week In Week Out team.

The programme involved input from Malcolm Mason, professor of oncology at the University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, who said a cure for cancer "did not exist".

Working from his semi-detached home in Garden Crescent, Gorseinon, Swansea, Mr McKinnon based some of his therapies on work by Hulda Regehr Clark, a doctor in Tijuana, Mexico, who claims in a book to have discovered "the cure for all cancers".

But at Swansea Crown Court yesterday, Judge David Hale said there was no evidence that Mr Mackinnon had ever claimed that he could cure cancer.

He said the complainant in the case, Janet Evans, did not specify in her evidence that Mackinnon told her he could cure cancer.

Mackinnon, charged under the 1968 Trade Descriptions Act with "recklessly making a statement he could cure the condition known as cancer", was preparing for trial having entered a not guilty plea.

Crown prosecutor Frances Jones attempted at the last minute to change the wording of the charge, inserting the word "halt" instead of "cure".

But eventually the prosecutor agreed to offer no evidence and Mackinnon was declared not guilty before a jury was sworn in.

Afterwards he said, "It's a relief because this has been hanging over me for two years. This has been a waste of taxpayers' money.

"After finishing my life as a banker I started to learn about alternative medicine. Now I regard myself as a teacher who can help others to understand their medical problems. I never said I could cure cancer."

He added that he believed the battery-powered zapper could help to alter people's DNA and help clear the body of toxins.

Asked if he would now continue treating people following his acquittal, he said, "I don't know. I'm no spring chicken now."

As Mackinnon left court yesterday, he clutched a book written by Hulda Clark, entitled The Cure for All Cancers.

She claims that all cancers and many other diseases are caused by "parasites, toxins, and pollutants" and can be cured within a few days by administering a low-voltage electric current, herbs and other non-standard treatments.

Mackinnon added yesterday, "As the judge said, I did not say I had the cure but I have helped people. I specialise in detoxification therapy and have been doing this now for around 20 years."

A spokesman for Week In Week Out said, "It would not be advisable to comment at this stage."

Researchers from Exeter University have warned that some websites on alternative or complementary medicine have been discouraging patients from using conventional cancer therapies.

One website was criticised for false claims about chemotherapy, key to treating many cancers. It suggested "women with breast cancer are likely to die faster with chemotherapy than without".

Professor Edzard Ernst who headed the study said, "Cancer patients get confused in the maze of claims and counter-claims and often turn to the internet for information which can give advice that has led to real harm and even death in some cases."