HOUSTON (CN) - An elderly cancer patient claims a doctor used his clinics and pharmacy to bilk her of nearly $100,000 by persuading her to undergo a proprietary cancer treatment that "was actually a clinical trial," and charging her $500 per pill for drugs she could buy elsewhere for a fraction of that price.
Lola Quinlan sued Houston-based Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and his companies, The Burzynski Clinic, the Burzynski Research Institute and Southern Family Pharmacy, in Harris County Court.
"Ms. Quinlan is an elderly, stage IV cancer patient living in Florida who defendants swindled out of nearly $100,000.00 by using false and misleading tactics," the complaint states. "Defendants convinced Ms. Quinlan to under a proprietary cancer 'treatment' in Houston, Texas in lieu of traditional chemotherapy and radiation. Specifically, defendants failed to disclose information about the drugs used during the proprietary cancer 'treatment' with the intent to induce Ms. Quinlan into purchasing the drugs at a highly overinflated price."
She claims Burzynski also "provided false and misleading information about 'gene therapy' which allegedly lacked the negative side effects associated with traditional cancer treatments. In reality, the treatments were wholly ineffective and caused even more damage to Ms. Quinlan's body."
She claims that Burzynski and his companies "coerced Ms. Quinlan to purchase certain prescription from Southern Family Pharmacy Inc. at outrageous prices. She was not allowed to fill the prescriptions at any other pharmacy. Southern Family Pharmacy is owned by Stanislaw Burzynski, a fact also not disclosed to Ms. Quinlan."
Quinlan claims the pharmacy charged her $500 per pill, though she did not discover that until her "treatment" ended, and that the pharmacy charged it to her credit card without her knowledge.
The litany of complaints goes on: "The Burzynski defendants pushed a noninvasive yet effective cancer 'treatment' with antineoplastons that would last two to three weeks. The 'treatment' was actually a clinical trial, a fact never disclosed to Ms. Quinlan. The Burzynski defendants billed Ms. Quinlan's insurance carrier for some of the 'treatments,' but never told her a majority of the costs would not be covered by insurance.
"Treatment of cancer with antineoplastons has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In fact, leading cancer researchers have not found any beneficial effects of antineoplastons on cancer patients."
Quinlan says the treatments gave her a host of nasty side effects including "weakness, infections, vomiting, fatigue, mouth sores, dizziness, affected taste buds, joint pain and skin sores."
The complaint continues: "After 'treatment' with defendants with no sign of improvement, Ms. Quinlan sought reputable cancer treatment from M.D. Anderson. She was informed by M.D. Anderson doctors that defendants' 'treatment' prevented them from diagnosing Ms. Quinlan's cancer because defendants' procedures and drugs damaged too much of her internal tissue."
Quinlan seeks punitive damages for negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, deceptive trade and conspiracy.
"All defendants conspired to defraud their customers, with an emphasis on defrauding the elderly and cancer patients," the complaint states.
Quinlan is represented by Jason Gibson of Houston.