“Tennessee Medicine” – What Were You Thinking?…  An OPEN Letter to the Tennessee Medical Association

Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen


Someone forwarded to me an article coming up in your April 2005 issue of “Tennessee Medicine” called “The CAM Controversy: Should Tennessee Embrace Complementary and Alternative Medicine?”  On the whole the article wasn’t too bad, and it portrayed the controversy fairly well EXCEPT FOR your use, as a credible resource, of known crackpot, and failed MD, Stephen Barrett, and the defunct National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF).

What were you thinking?

Even a minor amount of research on the internet would have revealed Barrett for the nasty old crackpot, liar and deceiver, he actually is. You actually gave five paragraphs to this old fraud, and his poisonous spewing.  Shame on you for misinforming your 6,800 members like that.

I’ll give you six points YOU should easily have found on the internet, and evaluated, without ever leaving your chair  – before you used Barrett and the NCAHF as resources.

In your article, among other things, you said:

“Meanwhile, a national opponent describes Tennessee’s proposed amendment as “a bill to legalize quackery.”

 Stephen Barrett, MD, of Allentown, PA, is a retired psychiatrist and vice president of the National Council Against Health Fraud. Now an author, educator and consumer advocate known for his “quack-busting” books on the health food, diet and dental industries and his multiple editions of Consumer Health, he also operates Quackwatch.org and 18 other Web sites intended to help people judge what works and what does not. Dr. Barrett is an outspoken critic of most CAM therapies and supporters’ efforts to legitimize their methods.”

Here are the six points:

(1) There is plenty of information on the internet that shows that Barrett has been OFFICIALLY proclaimed, in a published Appeals Court Decision (NCAHF v. King Bio), as “biased, and unworthy of credibility.”   

(2)  It would have been easy to find that Barrett, quackwatch.com,  the NCAHF, and its president Robert S. Baratz MD, have been named as co-conspirators in a RICO (racketeering) action in a Federal Court (Cavitat v. Aetna).

(3)  Even a simple scan of Barrett’s history would have shown that Barrett couldn’t make it as a Psychiatrist.  He couldn’t pass the test for Board Certification, at all, and his so-called career in Psychiatry, according to his own resume, was limited to part-time employment, primarily at the Allentown, PA mental hospital, where evidence shows, his function was to give out band-aids in a ward.  He was terminated from that position in 1993.

(4)  Even a simple scan of Barrett’s history would have shown that Barrett couldn’t make it as a Medical Doctor.  Barrett had to give up his MD license in 1993, after his part-time employment terminated.  His testimony in Federal court shows he only had an average of nine private patients per year, for his last five years of practice.  Barrett couldn’t afford, according to his own testimony, the malpractice insurance premiums that Pennsylvania required.  Pennsylvania shows Barrett’s license as “Not in good standing.”

(5) Court records show that Barrett and Baratz used the NCAHF, without NCAHF Board permission, to sue over 40 victims in California using the State’s Business & Professions Code 17200 – to give themselves “expert witness” fees.  Their project failed, dramatically.  One of those cases resulted in Barrett being declared“biased, and unworthy of credibility.”   Another of those cases seriously backfired, and the Courts awarded over $100,000 in attorney fees to the victim – and the NCAHF can’t pay the money.  And, neither Barrett or Baratz have offered to pick up the tab…

(6)  The NCAHF you quoted has been belly-up since 2003. The self-styled National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), the “quackbuster’s” flagship, has sunk – it is financially insolvent, legally defunct (its corporate status has been suspended since 2003), and its members owe the homeopathic world over $100,000 in legal fees it can’t pay.  The NCAHF president, Bobbie Baratz, has been ripped apart in the Courtroom (Wisconsin v. Kadile)  and his “testifying” income has been curtailed.

I could go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on about Barrett and the NCAHF – but the fact is YOU should have done your research – and YOU didn’t.  Bad journalism.

Shame on you.

Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate