The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which instigated four grand juries and two trials during its 12-year campaign to put Stanislaw Burzynski in prison, said it did not matter whether the Texas physician’s unconventional cancer treatments saved people’s lives. The point was that he had failed to get the FDA’s permission first.
But according to Eric Morola’s 2010 documentary Burzynski, which compellingly chronicles the doctor’s long-running battles with state and federal regulators, the Phase II clinical trials that the FDA approved in 1996 under congressional pressure have supported what the teary testimonials of patients and their families suggested: Although Burzynski’s antineoplastons are far from a cure-all, they seem to be more effective, and are certainly much less devastating in their side effects, than radiation and chemotherapy for certain deadly, intractable cancers. In 2009, a dozen years after Burzynski was acquitted of the last remaining criminal charge against him, the FDA gave him the go-ahead for Phase III clinical trials. —Jacob Sullum