Dr Stephen Barrett runs Quackwatch, a much consulted website reporting on medical fraud. He is being sued by an organisation called Doctor’s Data, who are after US$10 million in damages and an injunction against further criticism.
The suit is primarily concerned about Barrett’s article, “How the urine toxic metals test is used to defraud patients,” which describes how chelationists mislead patients into believing that they need treatment for heavy metal toxicity. http://www.quackwatch.org/t
The heart of the deception is “provoked” testing, in which the practitioner administers a chelating agent before the urine specimen is obtained. This artificially raises the levels of lead, mercury, and/or other heavy metals in the urine. The test report states that its “reference values” are for non-provoked specimens. However, if a provoked test level exceeds the reference values-which it usually does-it is reported as “elevated,” even though it should not be considered significant. Dr. Barrett’s article also tabulates disciplinary actions, court decisions, and lawsuits related to provoked testing.
Doctor’s Data is asking for damages exceeding $10 million and a sweeping injunction against further criticism. Although it is unlikely to prevail, defending against the lawsuit could be costly. Contributions to Barrett’s defense fund can be made through the Quackwatch donations page: http://www.quackwatch.org/00AboutQuackwatch/donations.html