Man Says Doc’s Snake Oil Nearly Killed Him

     SEATTLE (CN) – A man claims a diet supplement nearly killed him by crippling his thyroid, and he sued the doctor who told him to take it.
     Curtis Farber claims the “Tri-Quench” iodide product gave him life-threatening” complications and he will have to take daily thyroid supplements for the rest of his life.
     He claims defendant Dr. Jonathan V. Wright pitched the stuff through his alternative medical clinics and online, saying it would prevent atherosclerosis and actually reverse it. Farber also sued Asclepius Inc. aka Tahoma Clinic, the Tahoma Clinic Dispensary, the Scientific Botanicals Co., and Wright’s wife.
     In the complaint in King County Court, Farber says Wright used the clinics to cross-promote “his alternative medical theories and products.”
     “As part of Wright’s scheme of cross-promotion, he holds himself out as an internationally acclaimed naturalist author, columnist, medical blogger, and lecturer, publishing articles, medical ‘self-help’ books, and lectures nationwide on topics including ‘the natural treatment of cardiovascular diseases,'” the complaint states. “Wright advertises himself as a ‘leader in the field of complimentary-medicine’ and assures the public he ‘applies his medical expertise in diagnosing and treating acute and chronic diseases’ by means, supplements, and other products he just happens to sell to the public for a profit.
     Wright promoted Tri-Quench as an iodide supplement that could cure “a number of ailments,” according to the complaint.
     “In an effort to sell Tri-Quench, Wright promoted an article he authored in books, on blogs, and other social outlets wherein Wright promoted the use of Saturated Solution of Potassium Iodide (‘SSKI’) to cure a number of ailments, including atherosclerosis, COPD [congestive obstructive pulmonary disease] and acne. Therein, Wright informs the reader that SSKI is available ‘on-line’ and through dispensary.
     “Wright asserted that iodide would make oils, fats, and waxes more soluble in water reasoning that cholesterol was actually a wax. Wright further represented to his readers this known action of iodide likely explains why SSKI can be useful in actually reversing atherosclerotic clogging of arteries. Wright supported his medical claims by pointing to studies by unnamed ophthalmologists and unidentified ‘published’ photographs.”
     Wright claimed that no follow-up studies have been done because iodide is not patentable, so corporations could not profit, according to the complaint. He sells the stuff for $28 for a 30 ml bottle.
     Farber says he believed it, so he bought Tri-Quench and took it and wasn’t warned about side effects.
     However, “At all times material, defendants knew or should have known that SSKI works by shrinking the size of the thyroid gland and decreasing the amount of thyroid hormones produced. That at the dosages recommended by Wright, the endocrinologic side effects included hydrothyroidism by inhibiting the release of a thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland. Curtis was not informed of this deadly side effect and attempts, if any, by defendants to warn the public of this deadly risk were intentionally minimized and generalized in a direct effort to advance their entrepreneurial interests,” according to the complaint.
     Farber claims he suffered “an almost virtual shutdown of typical metabolic functioning” from taking the supplement and almost died.
     “Curtis is required to take daily thyroid supplements to address the permanent damage caused to his thyroid by the Tri-Quench. This condition is likely life-long. Failure to take the daily medications subjects plaintiff to the risk of coma and/or brain damage,” the complaint states.
     Farber says he didn’t know that Wright and his clinic had been raided by the FDA.
     “Curtis was not informed by the marketing machine of defendants that Wright, clinic, and dispensary had a history of raids by the Food and Drug Administration for issues relating to labeling violations, issues relating to misleading consumers, dosage inaccuracies, and prescribing FDA banned substances to consumers,” the complaint states.
     Farber seeks past and future damages and special damages, and his wife seeks damages for loss of consortium. They are represented by R. Travis Jameson with Stritmatter Kessler Whelan & Coluccio.

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