Friday, June 22, 2007

"Quackbusters" Have Giant Court Losses on Two Continents: Holland, Pennsylvania & California Courts Rule Against Them

by Ilena Rosenthal


Recent rulings in Amsterdam, Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court of California are heavy blows to the Quackwatch anti-chiropractic and anti-alternative medicine organizations.

After years of being labeled a"quack," and defamed and ridiculed professionally, Dr. Maria Sickesz won a great victory in Amsterdam, Holland early June 2007.

The Netherlands Appeals Court ordered the "Vereniging tegen de Kwalzalverij" (Association Against Quackery, which is the Dutch version of the so- called "Quackbusters" ) to cease and desist from using the demeaning, subjective and pejorative term "quack." This group is linked extensively on their website with the American "quackwatch" headed by Stephen Barrett, who also has suffered several legal defeats recently.

The Justices recognized that this group's affinity for giving demeaning labels to doctors with whose practices they disagreed was a way of shutting down emerging science.

They were also ordered to publish a public retraction in two widely circulated newspapers. It has been estimated this will cost them around thirty thousand euros (~US$40,350) and has been written that this will bankrupt this highly controversial association whose work is attempting to destroy alternative practioners in Holland.

Dr. Sickesz developed a kind of healing called orthomanual therapy which integrates chiropractic practices. For several decades the quackbuster organizations around the world have waged legal and public relations wars against chiropractors and other non traditional practitioners, demonizing them with their biased campaigns.

In June, for the second time, Barrett lost a case in a Pennsylvania Appeals Court against a local and respected chiropractor in his hometown of Allentown, PA.

Suing Dr. Tedd Koren has definitely backfired on the longtime head of the quackwatch empire. During this case, Barrett had to reveal that he had failed his psychiatric medical board tests and was never board certified for the decades he practiced.Board certification protects patients. Shortly thereafter, Barrett made a public announcement that after 40 years, he was leaving Allentown.

Barrett Vs Rosenthal was decided in November, 2006 against Barrett and his co-plaintiffs, Terry Polevoy and Christopher Grell. Though Barrett had claimed he was defamed and libeled, the Supreme Court Justice's final words in the decision were, "As the lower courts correctly concluded, however, none of the hostile comments against Dr. Barrett alleged in the complaint are defamatory."

In May, 2007, Barrett and Polevoy were ordered to post bonds of over $433,000 in this case.

In an earlier court loss, Barrett and fellow "National Council Against Health Fraud" member, Wallace Sampson, were ruled to be biased and unworthy of credibility in a case they lost against King Bio, a homeopathic remedy company.

In 2003, they also lost to Botanical Laboratories, and were ordered to pay a significant judgment. The Judges understood the NCAHF mission and wrote: Appellant (NCAHF) believes that no one should be allowed to market homeopathic remedies.

Soon thereafter, NCAHF's California license was suspended for nearly 4 years, until early, 2007.

Dutch Newspaper Report

Barrett Vs Rosenthal - Links to court documents & history of case

NCAHF Vs King Bio Documents

Court Victory for Chiropractors Against Quackbusters

Ilena Rosenthal Blog