Is Chelation Quackery?

This is the first of what I hope is many blogs I will write. I have put off writing my blogs mainly because I did not really think there was much for me to write about that would be important to others until recently when my wife read an article to me regarding a “quack buster” rant vilifying chelation therapy and called provoked heavy metal testing “defrauding patients of their money.” He went on to quote several litigations or law suits around the country pertaining to chelation and heavy metal testing. I was astonished to hear him completely disregard numerous if not hundreds of publications suggesting that low level exposures to heavy metals over accumulating in body tissues can be linked to chronic inflammation, cardiac disease and stroke just to name a few.

The Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) also showed the efficacy of chelation therapy for cardiovascular disease especially for those with diabetes and furthered the coversation of the role of heavy metals in cardiovascular disease. TACT also showed that chelation therapy can be administered very safely with little or no side effects or complications. And there certainly were no deaths associated with chelation therapy. Like I said I was astonished to read this garbage until I stumbled across a recent article in ACS Surgery News titled “Despite fines, clinical trials lax in reporting findings.”

In 2007 the FDA enacted a law that requires sponsors of most clinical trials to register and report their basic summary results within 1 year of either completing data collection for the primary outcome or of terminating. Failure to report study findings is punishable by sanctions including civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day and loss of funding. The law was passed because of public concern that sponsors and investigators were selectively publishing trials that favored interests of the sponsors, and that journals were selectively reporting positive findings. Five years after this law was enacted, out of over 13,000 eligible clinical trials only 13.4% of them reported their results within 1 year and only 38.3% reported their results at any time during the study period. And if you think this is mainly due to industry-sponsored trials think again! At 1 year, the rate of reporting was 17.0% for industry-sponsored trials, 8.1% for NIH-funded trials, and 5.7% for other government or academically funded trials. The corresponding rates of reporting at 5 years were only slightly better, at 41.5%, 38.9% and 27.7% respectively.
Considering that over ¼ of a million people die each year from adverse reactions to clinical proven and approved drugs along with another ¼ million people dying each year from adverse drug reactions due to improper administration, script mistakes etc. this is a very dangerous, multibillion dollar fraud! It also begs to question just how many of these “clinically proven drugs” actually were proven to be safe or even work at all. You cannot trust the trials.

So, the next time you read the garbage that “Dr. Quack buster” writes, ask yourself who he is looking out for. You, the patient/consumer? I doubt it.