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Dr. Krop Loses, Environmental Medicine Wins

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Dr. Krop's case has brought about a revolution in the highercourt of public opinion, which demands safe medicine and a return tounpolluted planetary life-support systems.The 13-year trial of Dr. Jozef Krop may be over, but its impact on thefuture of environmental medicine in Canada will be lasting.

Dr. Krop's case has brought about a revolution in the highercourt of public opinion, which demands safe medicine and a return to unpolluted planetary life-support systems.

The 13-year trial of Dr. Jozef Krop may be over, but its impact on the future of environmental medicine in Canada will be lasting. In 1990, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) laid charges against Dr. Krop for practising environmental medicine more specifically, electrodermal testing, oral immunotherapy, vaccine therapy, detoxification therapy, hair analysis and intravenous vitamin and mineral therapy. The trial, which ran from 1994 to 1999, resulted in a formal reprimand. His first appeals to provincial courts were denied because: 1) he did not lose his licence, but was reprimanded; and 2) courts cannot review medical evidence but may consider only procedural matters, in this case as interpreted by the CPSO. As Dr. Krop's recent appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was also rejected, the CPSO reprimand is now effective, and he has to pay court costs to the college of at least $30,000.

One positive development was the formation of a team of medical associations and patient groups that published the Glasnost Report in 2001 detailing the CPSO's abuses of power, patient rights and medical science. This caused the Ontario Ministry of Health to invite the Glasnost team to join in the current effort to reform legislation governing medicine. (collegeofphysicianswatchdog.com)

Another was the federal government's May 2000 report on pesticides and sustainable development, which explicitly recognized multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and other environmentally mediated illnesses, recommended coverage by Medicare and promoted prevention. (Some of its experts had been part of Dr. Krop's defence team.)

And from April 16th through June 25, 2002, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published an excellent six-part series on environmental medicine designed to educate doctors about the emerging field. (Its research sources are the very ones the CPSO had judged to be "lacking the authority of acceptable scientific evidence.")

Looking Back...

The case began with the deputy registrar, Dr. John Carlisle, recommending that Dr. Krop be disciplined: "This will be a costly and lengthy process but may be the only way of finally, once and for all, dealing with those clinical ecologists" (i.e. environmental medicine practitioners). The
CPSO which had often succeeded in intimidating or removing the licences of doctors practising this type of medicine was so determined to use Dr. Krop "to send a strong message to alternative practitioners," it disregarded its own lawyer's advice not to proceed. Discrediting him was important because:

  • In 1985, Dr. Krop's practice had served for the Ontario government's Thomson Report on environmentally mediated illness, which prompted the mighty FDA in the US to step up its studies into the health effects of toxins in air and food, and especially into MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity).
  • In 1987, Dr. Krop was asked to address the United Nation's Brundtland Commission on health and environment.
  • In 1991, Dr. Krop addressed a committee of the Ontario legislature and urged the incorporation of the health freedom clause from the Helsinki Accord on Human Rights into the provincial Medicine Act. This led Liberal MPP Monte Kwinter to champion Bill 2, which gained enormous public support and became law in 2000.
  • Also, Dr. Krop often testified on behalf of patients poisoned by industrial solvents and pesticides in workers' compensation cases, most of whose medical officers were (and still are) linked to the CPSO.

Not based on patient complaints or medical errors, Dr. Krop's trial proceeded as a mediaeval doctrinal dispute. The CPSO, a body that licenses 40 percent of Canada's doctors, asserted that its scientific views take precedence over other medical opinion.

To the CPSO's surprise, Dr. Krop mounted a determined and well-organized defence backed by public, media and finally political support (at a cost far exceeding $1 million most from public donations, much from alive readers). While the CPSO failed to introduce any supportive scientific studies, Dr. Krop's defence provided 123 peer-reviewed publications, mostly controlled
studies. His defence experts came from prominent medical centres in North America. The college did not produce a single witness with expertise in environmental medicine; all were shown to have ties to drug companies. The prosecution even used an opinion piece by a lobby group for the pharmaceutical and pesticide industry, the "Quackbusters," as a "scientific" study, and rejected Dr. Krop's defence as "lacking scientific authority."

Ultimately, the CPSO was forced to drop the original charge, "incompetence," and proceed only with a formal reprimand for "falling below the standard of practice." Ironically, the CPSO conceded in its penalty that Dr. Krop may continue to use all those very same therapies and diagnoses its 1999 decision so elaborately condemned as unscientific!

However, the penalty also requires that Dr. Krop adhere to the CPSO's policy on complementary medicine, which demands making "conventional diagnoses first," never mind patient choice, patient outcome and newly emerging illnesses such as MCS and fibromyalgia. With paternalistic arrogance, the penalty states: "The public, without the knowledge and skill to determine the scientific credibility of a given practitioner, must be protected from practitioners who lack that credibility." This mixed message for both doctors and patients prompted Dr. Krop to appeal the 1999 64-page decision that systematically condemned environmental medicine as a whole.

Ironically, the CPSO's policy on complementary medicine is now up for internal review. Two Ontario Medical Association sections and various patient groups have already informed the CPSO that this policy must be changed drastically "to reflect current thinking."

While Dr. Krop rejoices in the awareness his trial has brought to natural health and environmental issues, he stresses there is much yet to be done. Legislation governing medicine throughout Canada lacks proper checks and balances. Public policy still does not focus on environmental clean-up and nontoxic, low-tech treatments. As he stated before the Brundtland Commission in 1987, doctors and patients must continue to hammer home the truth that the exploitation of our environment for short-term profit and the enslavement of patients through lucrative symptom control will cause humans to be included in the current extinction race.

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