THIS PAGE | E-MAIL THIS PAGE
Monday, May 19, 1997
Cancer doctor goes on trial again in federal
By JOAN THOMPSON / Associated Press Writer
HOUSTON (AP) - A cancer doctor accused of illegally marketing
an experimental drug to patients nationwide may face just a single
contempt charge at his retrial Monday.
Attorneys for Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski said prosecutors told
them they will drop 40 of 41 remaining counts. Those charge the
doctor with violating U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations
in dispensing an unapproved drug.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Clark refused to say at a pre-trial
hearing Friday whether prosecutors intend to only pursue a contempt-of-court
However, Clark acknowledged having private discussions with
the defense and told U.S. District Judge Sim Lake that he stood
by his commitments.
Jury selection from a pool of 49 potential jurors was to begin
Monday afternoon followed by opening statements.
The contempt count accuses Burzynski of ignoring a federal
judge's orders in 1983 and 1984 against introducing the drug,
called antineoplastons, into interstate commerce.
A conviction on that count has no set penalty. A sentence would
be up to the judge. The 40 FDA violations are punishable by up
to 120 years in prison.
"(Prosecutors) are telling us the only case they want
to try Dr. Burzynski on is the contempt case," defense attorney
Dan Cogdell told Lake at Friday's hearing.
Lake, saying he wanted to ensure a fair trial, issued a gag
order Friday that bars comment on the case from attorneys, Burzynski,
employees of his clinic, witnesses and potential witnesses.
He had declared a mistrial in March when a jury deadlocked
on 75 counts against the doctor. He then acquitted Burzynski on
34 counts of mail fraud, saying the government failed to prove
the doctor billed insurance companies for treatments he did not
The judge said Friday that he intended to get a verdict. He
said he quickly would seat a new jury if a decision is not reached
Prosecutors contend that for years Burzynski dodged FDA scrutiny
that would have proved or disproved his synthetic drug.
They say that by the time of his indictment in 1995 he had
only six patients in FDA-approved clinical trials.
The doctor, who now treats more than 300 patients in FDA-approved
programs, insists he broke no laws. He says his long-running battle
with the FDA is part of a vendetta against him.
Burzynski developed antineoplastons, which he discovered in
human urine, two decades ago and opened his Burzynski Research
Institute in 1983. He says antineoplastons "turn off"
cancer genes by interrupting signals for cells to multiply.
Since he had not gotten FDA approval for the drug, the agency
sought an injunction more than a decade ago to stop him from treating
Former U.S. District Judge Gabrielle McDonald denied that request
but issued the 1983 and 1984 court orders forbidding the doctor
from shipping the drug across state lines.
Defense attorneys say those orders do not prohibit Burzynski
from treating patients who come from other states. Send
a Letter to the Editor about This Story | Start or Join A Discussion about This Story
Abilene Reporter-News / Texnews / E.W. Scripps Publications
Send the URL (Address) of This Story
to A Friend:
the URL (Address) of This Story to A Friend: