Is there something wrong with
(revised July 2003)
(If you didn't just come from that essay, you can read a summary
on the use of this agent in bipolar disorder).
First, a press release regarding the July 2003 interruption of company
operation by Health Canada. Then, two letters which preceded that event.
July 15, 2003. Health
Canada investigators arrived at the Raymond Alberta headquarters of Truehope
and Synergy with a search warrant listing
the following charges:
1) Importation of a drug in violation of
the Food and Drug Regulations
2) Sale of a drug that is misleading, deceptive, fraudulent
3) Sale of a drug in Contravention of Schedule A
4) Sale of a drug without a Drug Identification Number
5) Sale of a drug without a Notice of Compliance
The first is from Mr. Marvin Ross, a journalist, is in reply to my
request for more information on why he's pursued this topic with such
The second is a letter I received from Dan Stephan of TrueHope after posting
Mr. Ross's letter. Both of these letters will give you a sense of how
intense and emotional this debate has become, and how we seem to be moving away
from evidence toward personal attacks and defenses.
As I've told both parties, I'm trying to keep an open mind and wait for more
evidence. I wish readers good luck in trying to evaluate what's really
going on here. Remember that old phrase about "follow the
money?" The problem is, there seem to be money trails on each side,
possibly? Here you go: please read Mr. Stephan's letter as well as
Mr. Ross, responding to my email request for his point of view:
Dear Dr. Phelps:
Thank you for responding to my e-mail. I would like
to give you the long and the short answers to your question and to comment
upon a couple of things that you said.
Long Answer: this can be found in our book which is
250 pages, has 9 appendices and numerous links to websites and documents that
you can access if you read the book on-line.
Short answer: I personally find it reprehensible
and unethical for anyone to actively encourage people with severe psychiatric
disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to go off proven medications
and to suggest that they replace them with unproven compounds made of
a mix of vitamins and minerals. This is happening and our book outlines many
problems that have resulted from this.
I can even put you in touch with a family
whose son with schizophrenia deteriorated into psychosis when he followed
this regimine, who has been hospitalized a couple of times, stabilized with
proper meds each and every time and who has had his Truehope sales person
bring his vitamins to him in hospital. I may even be able to arrange for you
to talk to his psychiatrist.
As another example, a physician just recently informed
us that one of his bipolar patients was told by Truehope that lithium is far
more addictive than either morphone or valium.
My involvement with all this began when, as a
journalist and a member of the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, I
learned that a young man with schizophrenia had attempted suicide by following
the Truehope regimen. Dr. Kaplan, who I interviewed shortly after this, was
aware of that case. Journalists ask questions and if we are not
satisfied by the answers then we ask more and keep digging. At each stage, the
questions led to more confusion and interest.
I have presented our findings to staff at three
hospitals/programs - The Hamilton Program for Schizophrenia early on in the
research and then at the end of this past March to staff at the Royal Ottawa
Hospital and by video link to staff at the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital and
to the psychiatric staff at the Ottawa General Hospital.
Staff at those institutions were not impressed with
the Truehope program. I have also consulted with a number of senior
psychiatrists with extensive research and clinical expertise on the research
protocols used by Dr. Kaplan and they had concerns.
The pills themselves were analyzed and, in the
batch that we sent to the lab, 16 of the 23 ingredients that could be
found by the lab varied by between -30% and +70% of what is stated on the
The product that is being sold today by the Alberta
people is not the same as was used in the research by Kaplan et al nor is it
made by the same lab (to the best of our knowledge at the moment).
Sorry that the short answer was longer than the
long answer. I would also like to make a couple of observations on what
You state that we are responsible for bringing this
research to a halt. [Note
in my email below that I wondered about motive, but not responsibility – JP]
We do not have that influence. The research was halted by
scientists with the Health Protection Branch of Health Canada who found that
what was going on at Calgary by Kaplan violated at least 11 sections of the
Food and Drug Act of Canada.
We did not write the act nor did we make those
interpretations. In fact, Health Canada first began investigating all this on
June 6, 2000 according to the documents that we got under Freedom of
Information. We did not know about this research until all the media hype
which was in October 2000. We hve full documentation on all of this.
We also did not make the determination by the
Office for Human Research Protection in Washington about the Kaplan research
that was done at Utah. They investigated and found that the Utah ethics board
had turned down Dr. Ferre a number of times (which he freely disclosed to me
when I interviewed him) because the research risks to the children outweighed
any benefits to either those children in the study or to society as a whole.
They also found that the informed consents did not adequately warn the
participants of the potential dangers. Despite those rulings by the
university, the research was done anyway.
You mention that money is probably motivating
Truehope and wonder about Kaplan and me and my colleagues. I have no idea what
Kaplan's motivation is but while money is and always has been a great
motivator, it is not the only motivator. I very much doubt if you spend all
the time on the internet that you do providing people with good information
about psychiatric disorders simply for the revenue that it might bring to you.
I hope this answers your doubts and that it
motivates you to read what we have written. I am more than happy to talk to
you and to provide you with whatever information you need to make an informed
decision about all this.
I do think you should read what we had to say and
if you are not convinced then I would be more than happy to hear your
(Here is my email which prompted the above reply, followed by Dan Stephan's
response to Marvin)
your message. I confess the energy y’all have devoted to this raises
my ears regarding “why so much energy devoted to this?”, just as much as
the TrueHope people’s rhetoric does. Feel free to comment on what
has made you and the team so inclined to bring a halt to the investigation
of this compound, it’s origin and promotion notwithstanding. As an
outsider to all this, for the most part, I’m still baffled by the energy
on both sides (less about their side mind you, as in that case there’s money
to explain it, except for Kaplan and company – where so far I don’t see
what they have to gain from making the compound into something it isn’t.
Enlighten me there if you’re able).
Stephan wrote, in April 2003:
Dear Dr Phelps,
have read with interest, some questions and concerns that were directed to
Marvin Ross ( pigpills.com) regarding Truehope whom he knows very little
actual truth about. I don't normally respond to these kinds of questions
however I will to simply clarify some issues. Marvin claims that he nor his
group( pigpills.com) have not influenced or had anything to do with any
research being shut down at the University of Calgary. This is absolutely
false! Marvin Mentions the ATI or or Freedom of Information file that he
received from Health Canada with TRUEHOPE permission. Well over 100 pages of
this file are missing with the explanation from Health Canada that these pages
are classified, etc.
page 000453 of the ATI ( Access to Information) file that Marvin speaks of you
will see an email from a top Health Canada Compliance officer/Investigator
regarding Marvin Ross and his TRUE involvement and influence on Health Canada
to shut down studies at Universities.
(Please note that
this is a quote and not the entire email)
This email was
dated 10/15/01 - 12:35 pm
From Joan Korol
Health Canada Officials)
Synergy for follow up
may have to deal with other Canadian Studies from other universities if they
are ongoing. Should we follow up with MARVIN ROSS on the information he may
have regarding possible other clinical studies? Each study should have
previously been approved by HC and none have been to date. If the studies are
American, then follow up with the FDA could be pursued."
The next quote is
of a particular interest, as it proves that Health Canada acknowledges that EM
Power plus is helping patients.
we should request a look out to see if product is coming to other
universities. We don't necessarily want to the product stopped at customs(
patients would need their medication) but it might be good to know where/(if)
the product is coming into. What do you think?"
presentation was given by Marvin Ross held on March/ 26/ 2003 at the
local Ottawa Chapter of The Schizophrenic Society of Ontario (SSO). Marvin was
introduced to the 150 person crowd The following companies were thanked
for providing all expenses and the trip for Marvin to come and present a 100%
anti-Truehope PowerPoint presentation . This was the sole purpose of this
trip. These were the companies involved..... Jansen/Lilly ( Jansen
Pharmaceuticals/ Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals). My question is..... Why is PHARMA
paying for Marvin to come and put on anti Truehope presentations that
have Very little if any actual fact behind them? Why is Marvin mentioned in
the above email as a person to contact for Truehope investigational
purposes? What is Marvin's Real agenda and is anyone or any groups
motivating Marvin to do this Full time? I thought Marvin was a
journalist. Is this not biased info?
Why have Marvin
and Dr Terry POLEVOY from Pigpills.com and health watcher.net contacted EVERY
and I mean EVERY Government agency, media outlet, university researchers
involved, Ethics committees, mental health groups showing interest in
Truehope to defame/slander and even scare them from doing research or
Why did Marvin
tell the University of Calgary that he was going to do EVERYTHING IN HIS POWER
to shut down this research?
Marvin completely against empower plus being researched at all?
Why and how does
Marvin Ross and the Pigpills.com team afford and find the time to come all the
way down to Southern Alberta and take pictures of the Truehope support center
which can be seen on the front page of Pigpills.com?
Why have they
done complete background checks on the founders of Truehope? This stuff costs
Where did they
find the time and money to produce a huge whopping 252 page book with very
little truth once again on Truehope?
Is Marvin insured
sufficiently to handle a major suit from various credible sources and
institutions that he has defamed, slandered, belittled and insinuated
towards in his book?
We at Truehope
admit that our company and things that have been said have not always been
perfect. We also admit that we could do better in some areas and we continue
to restructure our group to get to that point, but why should EM Power
plus not have a shot at research just like all the other drugs out there? Why
will Health Canada refuse to provide any negative grounds for continuing
research? Why does Health Canada
refuse to talk with Truehope Officials? What's going on here?
I'm sure you will
make your own conclusion to this info.
If you would like
some intelligent answers with backing, please feel free to call and discuss
with us or the researchers involved.
A. Daniel Stephan
Executive Assistant - Anthony Stephan (Co -