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Alternative Cancer Remedies - page 126 / 200





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Laetrile Therapy

The court order, allowing Americans to bring laetrile into the U.S. and even to have it mailed to them, was signed by Judge Luther Bohanon on April 8, 1977.

Lawyers for the FDA quickly asked Judge Bohanon to amend his court order, so that it would stipulate that American cancer patients could ob- tain laetrile only upon affidavits signed by their doctors saying that they were only a few weeks or a few months away from death. Judge Bohanon rejected the appeal.

The FDA then announced that it would con- tinue to oppose laetrile regardless of what hap- pened in its favor in the courts of the land or the state legislatures of the country.

By the end of 1977, more than a dozen state legislatures had legalized, within their borders, the administration and prescription of laetrile by physicians to their patients and the right of others to obtain it by mail from places selling it, so they could take it at home.

But certain federal agencies were unrelenting. Laetrile had become the hottest issue in terms of state’s rights since the Civil War—for threats had been made to send in federal agents to shut down laetrile production facilities and arrest anyone traf- ficking in laetrile in any way whatsoever.

The question becomes: If a state legislature cannot determine the laws applicable within its own borders, then what was the sense of having a state legislature in the first place?

Then in November 1977, the California Court of Appeals reversed the decision of a lower court, in the conviction of four people charged with conspiracy to sell laetrile and one physi- cian (James Privatera) who was charged with using the substance in the treatment of his can- cer patients.

Next, in 1978, a federal court ruled that “la- etrile (amygdalin) is exempt from the ‘new drug’ requirements” of the FDA; and that “the Secre- tary of Health, Education, and Welfare and his subordinates in the Food and Drug Administra- tion are hereby permanently enjoined and re- strained from interfering with the use of laetrile (amygdalin) for the care or treatment of cancer by a person who is, or believes he is, suffering from the disease.

The same order also prohibited interference with the importation and introduction into in- terstate commerce of laetrile on the basis of any alleged “new drug” status. The HEW and FDA were, finally, prohibited from interfering “with any licensed medical practitioner in ad- ministering laetrile (amygdalin) in the care or treatment of his cancer patients.”


An FDA appeal, to delay enforcement of this ruling until the case could be heard by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, was denied on December 24, 1978.

By the end of the 1970s, some 17 states had legalized the use of laetrile. A number of other states were considering the matter.

By 1978, it was estimated that 50,000-100,000 cancer patients were taking over 1 million grams of laetrile a month (Charles Moertel, A Trial of laetrile Now,” editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 26, 1978).

In June 1979, the Supreme Court handed down its decision. Prior to that decision, can- cer patients were able to receive laetrile legally from their physicians under an affidavit system set up by federal circuit judge, Luther Bohanon. The main practical effect of the decision, by the high court, was to remand the case to the Circuit Court of Appeals for review. Thus, the affidavit system still remained in effect.

As result of all the ongoing legal activity, phy- sicians, researchers, and common citizens were able to purchase, use, and ship laetrile. In addi- tion to the two clinics in Tijuana, Mexico, which treated cancer with laetrile (the Contreras Clinic and Clinica Cydel), there are two laetrile process- ing plants which purify and shipped out the sub- stances to those desiring it.

Between the 1970s and the mid-1990s, 70,000 people had used laetrile to treat cancer.

At the present time, about 21 states allow the use of laetrile in cancer treatment while other states have revoked medical licenses for doing so.

The McNaughton Foundation has published a Physician’s Handbook of Vitamin B17 Ther- apy, which summarizes the various methods of administering laetrile. Here they are:

  • Laetrile is available in tablet form, for

maintenance therapy.

  • Laetrile solutions have been used as night-

time retention enemas, and have been instilled directly into the intestines through an already existing colostomy.

  • Gauze-soaked solutions of laetrile (or a

water-soluble salve) have been placed on open skin lesions.

  • Injections are put directly into the tumors!

The tumor wall should not be penetrated. In- stead, the injections are placed into the artery above the tumor site. This provides maximum concentration of laetrile in the tumor. Intra-ar- terial injections should only be done in a hos- pital setting by qualified personnel!

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