Here we go again. Another purveyor of a questionable medical therapy, when criticized, rather than refute the criticisms with evidence, attempts to silence its critic with legal action. Via Orac, read how Doctor’s Data ignored Stephen Barrett’s explanation of How the "Urine Toxic Metals" Test Is Used to Defraud Patients, and is suing him to have the criticisms removed.
Doctor’s Data’s test, aims to show that a patient has elevated levels of mercury that need to be lowered with chelation. Chelation that is then provided by the practitioner who ordered the test. Unfortunately, the test itself involves first giving the patient a chelating agent that provokes an increased mercury reading. Since this chelating agent is designed to bind with mercury and excrete it in the urine, it is hardly surprising that urine, tested after administering the chelating agent, has higher than normal levels of mercury. As Barrett pointed out, the reference range that is used to show mercury levels are too high, is based on non-provoked tests.
Of course, Doctor’s Data’s lawsuit is just an attempt at intimidation. We know that because Barrett replied to Doctor’s Data, asking them to identify exactly what Barrett got wrong in his write up, with explanations as to why he had been wrong. Doctor’s Data’s lawyers ignored this request and instead replied only with more threatening bluster. On June 18, Doctor's Data filed suit against Barrett and his related websites, claiming $10 million in damages. They’re also asking the court to instruct Barrett to remove immediately all criticism of Doctor’s Data pending the completion of their lawsuit (which could take years). As Barrett writes:
Very few people provide the type of information I do. One reason for this is the fear of being sued. Knowledgeable observers believe that Doctor's Data is trying to intimidate me and perhaps to discourage others from making similar criticisms. However, I have a right to express well-reasoned opinions and will continue to do so. If you would like to help with the cost of my defense, please follow the instructions on our donations page.
Barrett’s Quackwatch is a valuable source of information about dubious medical practices. He doesn’t deserve this sleazy treatment from Doctor’s Data. If you are able, please consider donating to Dr. Barrett’s expenses.