NCAHF Posts Names of 2,500 Physicians on Quack List

Originally published July 1997

Lyn Behrens, PhD
President, Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, California 92350

Dear President Behrens:

This letter responds to yours of April 22 in which you responded to a written complaint I submitted concerning facts and circumstances surrounding acts of suppression of speech at a public forum held at Loma Linda University. As you know, the forum was under the control of Loma Linda University professor William Jarvis, PhD. The lecture entitled 'Cancer Quackery: What You Should Know!' was open to the public and held at the University's Wong Kerlee Conference Center in the Cancer Research Pavilion. Fliers announcing the event invited members of the public to attend without charge. Microphones were available for members of the public who wished to express a view or ask a question.

When I and three others who shared a similar viewpoint rose to correct inaccuracies and defamatory remarks made by Dr. Jarvis against Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, Dr. Jarvis refused to permit us to express these views and ordered University security police to escort three of us from the lecture hall.

Your letter explains that the matter is under investigation. In that regard, I wish to supplement the record with additional information. As I pointed out in my original complaint Dr. William Jarvis is the President of an entity known as the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF). The University's address property, and stationery have been by Dr. Jarvis in the performance of hi duties for NCAHF. Records of the NCAHF are housed at his university office. Dr. Jarvis holds NCAHF events at the University. He makes frequent reference to his University affiliation while performing duties for his NCAHF.

Dr. Jarvis' NCAHF is a controversial organization whose members crusade across the nation against specific, named practitioners whom they condemn as 'quacks' or 'frauds' in public forum, in print, on the air, and in judicial and administrative proceedings. Indeed, Dr. Jarvis used the facilities of Loma Linda University and its lecture hall to do precisely that at the recent Loma Linda event. He defamed Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski by implying that he was a quack and a fraud.

Loma Linda should be deeply concerned that one of its professors has elected to use its property, its name, and his University affiliation to propagate rank character assassination and defamation against health care practitioners.

Unfortunately, the NCAHF's anti quackery crusade is subjective and results in defamation only. Dr. Jarvis and other NCAHF members usually attack the character of their opponents, rather than the merits of their views. Characteristically, as was Dr. Jarvis' attack on Dr. Burzynski, NCAHF members harbor ignorance of key facts and frequently lack a professional understanding of the science of the matter.

At the Loma Linda event, Dr. Jarvis identified Dr. Burzynski as a typical example of a medical quack and fraud, but failed to mention that after a two month trial Dr. Burzynski was acquitted of all fraud charges, and not a single witness brought forth by the government to testify against Dr. Burzynski questioned Dr. Burzynski's motives, character or integrity. He also failed to mention that for almost six months Dr. Burzynski's antineoplaston therapy has been undergoing study in several dozen FDA-approved clinical trials, with Dr. Burzynski as the principal investigator.

Dr. Jarvis chose to attack the honesty, character, integrity, and personal characteristics of Dr. Burzynski. Such rank character assassination is not only unbecoming of a professional but also antithetical to educational dialogue at a University. Dr. Jarvis has brought disrepute upon Loma Linda. His crusade seeks not only to stifle opposing views but also to label those who express them as frauds or quacks - the very antithesis of higher education. His efforts convey the impression that Loma Linda University is not a place where academic exchange of ideas and information is encouraged but one where obvious overt bias and intolerance for dissenting views predominate.

Unfortunately, the recent incident involving defamation against Dr. Burzynski is not an isolated event. I offer four items for your investigation that characterize the intent, actions, and consequences of the NCAHF.

Item 1 - Deposition of Stephen Barrett, MD

The NCAHF recently attacked Dr. Shari Lieberman, RD, PhD, a nutritionist and exercise physiologist in New York. Two of Dr. Jarvis' fellow NCAHF board members defamed Dr. Lieberman, again without the benefit of sound science or material facts.

Those NCAHF board members, Dr. Stephen Barrett and Ira Milner, RD, testified against Dr. Lieberman at a hearing they themselves instigated before the American Dietetic Association (ADA) which resulted in the ADA publicly stripping Dr. Lieberman of her registered dietitian (RD) credential. As you would imagine, this caused her loss of prestige and credibility, hurt her financially, and caused her public humiliation. In their testimony to the ADA, the two represented themselves to be knowledgeable about several specific aspects of nutrition science, yet neither had academic training nor publication in those specific areas.

In the end, after the falsity of their charges came to light, the ADA reinstated Dr. Leiberman's RD credential and published a statement noting same in the ADA's Journal and Courier.

As the attached transcript from the Barrett deposition indicates, NCAHF is a loose cannon that poses distinct liability risks for the University. Under cross examination, Dr. Barrett admitted that he was not in fact, an expert in nutrition science, describing himself instead as an expert in 'consumer strategy' and a "journalist.' This deposition clearly showed that Dr. Barrett did not have a thorough grounding in the scientific research relevant to the serious charges he made against Dr. Lieberman that caused her substantial harm.

Item 2 - Findings of Fact, and Opinion, and Final Adjudication of the Regents of the University of the State of New York

Victor Herbert, MD, a long-time board member of NCAHF, apparently implemented judicial proceedings against Warren Levin, MD, in New York State. The proceedings were initially opened in 1980, apparently due to a complaint by Dr. Herbert against Dr. Levin. The case was finally adjudicated in Dr. Levin's favor, 14 years later in November 1994. Dr. Levin was forced to declare personal and professional bankruptcy as a result of the legal costs, but he remained in medical practice the entire time, and is in full-time medical practice at this time.

Dr. Herbert apparently was the only one who complained about Dr. Levin. There were no patient complaints. As President of Loma Linda University, you should have particular interest in the findings of fact, opinions, and adjudication of the Regents of the University of the State of New York. Their harsh assessment of Dr. Victor Herbert should cause you considerable concern, as it did me.

Dr. Herbert, long-term NCAHF Board member, was virtually uncontrollable in a court of law. The Regents noted that "Dr. V.H. many times in his testimony used inflammatory language, volunteered characterizations and editorials, offered information which was beyond and not responsive to the questions posed, subjected respondent and his attorney to ad hominem attacks, and utilized other tactics to show that respondent was guilty by association with others.' In spite of numerous sustained objections from Dr. Levin's attorney, Victor Herbert repeatedly and inappropriately used slanderous terms such as 'liar," 'quack,' 'obnoxious,' "vicious,' and "scumbag." He frequently used the term "fraud,' according to the Regents, 'regardless of whether he was answering a question posed by the respondent's attorney, petitioner's attorney, or the hearing committee or whether it was responsive to the question posed.' As the Regents pointed out, these "personal attacks on respondent and characterizations [while] testifying to the ultimate issue in dispute were improper.' That these proceedings were allowed to continue in this vein should concern anyone who values the basic tenets of a free society.

I received an amusing letter from Richard Hart, MD, Dean of the School of Public Health that concluded that armed security police were necessary because I was "rather disruptive and forceful in trying to obtain control of the microphone....'

Nothing could be further from the truth. Offering an informed opinion through an open mike is certainly not disruptive. An open lecture that invites public comments cannot lawfully deny contrary views under California's constitution. I suspect that Dr. Hart's finding of fact and opinion would be difficult to sustain under judicial scrutiny. Please inform Dr. Hart that he is to preserve all documents, recordings, and other materials that he used to come to his conclusion, and that their loss would be neither appropriate nor helpful.

You might wish to send Dr. Hart the Regents of the University of the State of New York's assessment of Victor Herbert, Board Member of the NCAHF, to broaden his (Dr. Hart's) under-standing of the word "disruptive.'

Item 3 - Persons on the Quack List Data Base

I have also enclosed a list of 2,551 names, with a computer-generated numerical ID, compiled by Dr. John Renner, board member of the NCAHF, and titled "Persons on the Quack List Data Base.' There is evidence that the NCAHF has disseminated this list, or perhaps even sold it to medical insurance companies for the purpose of interfering with the payments for medical services provided by those on the list. There is good evidence that it is sent to state medical boards and other entities in an effort to harm professionally those on the list. Persons so listed are never informed that they are listed, nor informed as to who receives this list or why.

Obviously, considering the number of physicians listed, the only criteria for being added to this defamatory list would be the 'opinions' of those within the NCAHF. Please note that the list includes 1,137 MDs, 167 PhDs, 236 DOs, 79 DDSS, 228 DCs, and 441 others (BS, RN, ND, HMD, CSW, MSN). There are 52 double doctorates on the list, with two or more of the following degrees, MD, PhD, DO, DDS, DVM, DMD. Many have university affiliation, have published in the peer-review literature, and are respected authors of books or even textbooks.

Please note that this 'quack' list includes Linus Pauling, PhD.

Linus Pauling is the only individual to have won two unshared Nobel Prizes, and virtually every other award for scientific achievement, both national and international. In the 1970s the editors of the British New Scientist listed Dr. Pauling as one of the top 20 scientists of all time. Albert Einstein was the only other scientist in the 20th century listed along with Aristotle, Gallileo, Isaac Newton, and Michael Faraday.

In the recently published book, Scientific Genius, The 20 Greatest Minds of All Time, by Jim Glenn (Crescent Books, 1996). Linus Pauling is again listed along with Archimedes, Gregor Mendel, William Harvey, Charles Darwin, and Rend Descartes. Linus Pauling's achievements should be lauded, not besmirched with this outrageously inexcusable label of quack. As President of Loma Linda University, does it concern you that Dr. Jarvis' NCAHF, a small group of about four men of no significant distinction in ,the scientific arena, would 'secretly' list Dr. Pauling as a 'quack,' and would actually send or sell this list to others in the scientific or health field? Does it concern you that the NCAHF is housed on the Loma Linda campus and by implication, this clandestine and highly defamatory practice is condoned by the University?

I will be communicating with each individual on this list, informing them that this list or data similar to it is maintained and updated by John Renner, MD, board member of NCAHF, and that the offices of NCAHF are housed-on the campus of Loma Linda University. I will be instructing each person contacted to address any questions or concerns they may have concerning their defamatory labeling to you, the President of Loma Linda University. I have already contacted the Linus Pauling Institute and the Pauling family.

Item 4 - Quacks Condensed List

Benjamin R. Wilson, MD, working with John H. Renner, MD, compiled a list of 1,500 which he called the 'Condensed Quack List.' After the practitioner's degree, or degrees, Dr. Wilson lists two indices called the NI and DDL. NI stands for 'Notoriety Index' which is a function of the number of 'quack' organizations or academic groups the individual has joined. Thus "guilt by association' is elevated to new heights in that it is now numerically quantified and recorded. The DDI is the Ding Dong Index' - a score reflecting the most nonsensical or dangerous dubious procedures and/or illnesses they treat.

Please note that one way to get on the quack list is to simply join or donate to any group or organization that the NCAHF deems to be quack. Of course, the legality and charter of the group is irrelevant to the NCAHF. The fact that the group may be for professionals only and puts on regular scientific sessions that are approved for CME educational credit for MDs and DOs is irrelevant to those marching with the NCAHF.

Incredibly, Dr. Wilson will put you on the 'quack list' if you are listed as a donor to the National Health Federation, a chartered and legal organization. This qualifies 'the quack' for the highest Notoriety Index: a 10. Whereas the donor list of the NHF is public, the 'quack list' with its additional indices is clandestine, and is meant to cause harm.

Your letter stated that you were going to investigate this matter. I believe that it is inappropriate to look upon the action of Dr. Jarvis as an isolated incident. I believe that the action of Dr. Jarvis is typical of the NCAHF. I trust that this material will enhance your understanding of the NCAHF and their potential liability for the University.

I am requesting two things from Loma Linda University.

First, an Opportunity for Counterspeech.

Under California constitutional law, a private establishment that opens a forum to the public may not engage in viewpoint discrimination. Loma Linda (through the agency of Dr. Jarvis) violated the rights of those who wished to express a viewpoint contrary to Dr. Jarvis when Dr. Jarvis refused to permit such views during the question-and answer segment of the lecture. I respectfully request that the University correct this injustice by holding another forum to permit each of those ejected from the lecture hall to express their contrary viewpoints.

The forum should be held at the same time, for the same length as the original one, and at the same location (a larger room will likely be necessary). It should again be open to the public, and it should be promoted and advertised in the same manner as the first, inviting members of the public to attend and hear a rebuttal.

Secondly, A letter of clarification. I respectfully request a letter from you, - President of Loma Linda University, clarifying the status of the NCAHF at the University. Please be specific in answering the following questions. Does the University authorize the. use of its property, stationery, name and reputation by the NCAHF and by Dr. Jarvis in connection with and in support of the NCAHF's activities? Does the University condone Dr. Jarvis' use of his University office to house files and property to traffic in lists of "quacks' substantiated by no objective evidence other than the .opinions' of those aligned with NCAHF?

Does the University agree that it was appropriate to give Linus Pauling, PhD, this pejorative label, and that such files defaming Dr. Pauling and others could possibly be kept by Dr. Jarvis at the University, or flow through his hands, in his University office? Does the University condone Dr. Jarvis' reliance on the University reputation to promote the NCAHF, an organization that is essentially run by four irrational zealots whose obvious agenda is to cleanse the medical profession of 'undesirables' and to purge society of all other healing arts?

Please respond to these queries at your earliest convenience. Please be assured that I hold the University responsible for the actions of NCAHF both past and present.

Julian M. Whitaker, MD
The Whitaker Wellness Institute
4321 Birch, Suite 100
Newport Beach, California 92660 USA
Fax 714-955-3005