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).

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Two caught selling fake cancer remedy

Two caught selling fake cancer remedy

Tara Brautigam

Canadian Press
Tuesday, August 02, 2005

TORONTO -- Two Canadians were charged Tuesday by the federal Competition Bureau for allegedly peddling the benefits of a phoney cancer therapy and bilking millions of dollars from patients worldwide.

Through seminars, brochures and telemarketing, the suspects told cancer victims and their families that their treatment -- known as cell-specific cancer therapy or zoetron therapy -- could selectively kill cancer cells without harming healthy ones, the bureau alleges.

The accused claimed to have treated 850 patients around the world, charging each of them as much as $20,000 US, said Mark Stainsby, acting assistant deputy commissioner with the Competition Bureau's Ontario branch.

Authorities estimate the patients were swindled out of $12.75 million from August 1996 to February 2003.

Stainsby said 37 of the victims of the alleged scam were Canadian.

"I don't believe that we have too many (victims) that would even be living at this point, if any," Stainsby said.

Under the banner of a now-defunct company called CSCT Inc., based in Kitchener, Ont., and Penticton, B.C., outpatient cancer clinics were run in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Switzerland and Spain.

The company's website, which has since been taken down, promoted the therapy as a way to treat cancer of the lung, breast, prostate, skin, colon and brain.

Patients lay on beds and went through machines similar to those used for MRIs. But their ailments did not improve, Stainsby said.

"We've had a number of experts look at the equipment, and ... that machine can't do any of those kinds of things that they've claimed," he said.

Michael Reynolds of Toronto and John Armstrong of Penticton, B.C., are each charged with 10 counts of knowingly or recklessly making representations to the public that were false or misleading.

They also each face one count of defrauding the public of more than $5,000.

Reynolds is expected to appear in a Toronto court Wednesday. Authorities were arranging for Armstrong to make a court appearance in Toronto on Thursday.

News of the allegations angered a national health-care watchdog group.

"To have somebody that is doing this at this time of people's lives, preying on them both financially and ... offering them false hope in this way, it's just unconscionable," said Joel Alleyne, executive director of the Canadian Health Care Anti-Fraud Association.

© Canadian Press 2005

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