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Judge upholds order banning B.C. naturopath from making fecal transplants for autistic kids

اخبارالعرب 24-كندا:الثلاثاء 6 ديسمبر 2022 12:31 مساءً A B.C. Supreme Court judge has upheld a ban meant to prevent a Fraser Valley naturopath from manufacturing, advertising and selling pills and enemas made from human feces for use on autistic children.

Jason Klop is the subject of an August 2021 "extraordinary action" from the College of Naturopathic Physicians of B.C. that prohibits him from producing and marketing fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) while he is under investigation because of a number of complaints about his business.

He turned to the courts in an attempt to quash the investigations and lift the ban, but last week Justice Jacqueline Hughes dismissed both petitions. She said the college did not err in taking interim action against Klop, and it would be premature to interfere with its ongoing investigations.

Hughes said the evidence in front of the college was enough to suggest Klop's business could present "a real risk of harm to the public" and that he may have committed professional misconduct and unprofessional conduct.

As CBC first reported in January 2020, Klop has been charging parents about $15,000 US for autistic children as young as two years old to receive FMT, mainly at a clinic in the Mexican oceanside city of Rosarito. He has since expanded to offer his services in Hungary, Australia and Panama.

FMT treatments involve taking bacteria and other microbes from the poop of a healthy person and transferring them to a patient either anally or orally, with the goal of restoring a normal environment inside the gut.

Although it is currently the subject of research for a wide array of potential uses, FMT is only approved in Canada and the U.S. for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection that hasn't responded to other therapies.

An illustration shows how fecal microbiota transplants are produced. (Vancouver Island Health Authority)

Doctors and scientists have warned that any other use of this emerging therapy is experimental and carries serious risk of infection, while people with autism have denounced Klop's procedure as an unproven treatment that puts vulnerable children in danger.

According to Hughes' judgment, the college has been looking into Klop's business since July 2019, with assistance from private investigators with Paladin Risk Solutions.

The investigation has expanded a number of times over the years and includes allegations that he's violating federal policies, making false claims about the efficacy of FMT, working outside the scope of practice for naturopaths, practising in a jurisdiction where he's not licensed, engaging in improper business relationships, describing himself as a "doctor" in marketing material without specifying that he's a naturopath and breaking college rules on advertising.

'Manifest' risk of harm to autistic children

The ban on producing and selling FMT products stems from an April 2021 complaint filed by a former employee of Klop's business, who alleged he was producing these pills and enemas in a basement apartment in Abbotsford using his nephews' feces without any quality control or proper screening.

Klop has argued that he now works in a lab in Chilliwack where his manufacturing and quality control standards meet all Health Canada requirements.

But, Hughes wrote, "the record appears to be devoid of evidence as to whether the petitioner's operating procedures or testing regime complies with Health Canada or any other recognized industry standards — or that such standards even exist for FMT materials."

Some of Klop's other arguments have included allegations that the college doesn't have the power to investigate him for activities outside B.C. or for possible violations of federal policies on FMT and that it hasn't proven there's a real risk to the public.

Hughes rejected all of those claims.

In particular, she pointed to Health Canada's guidance on FMT and said  it shows "the potential risk of harm arising from the use of FMT for treatment of children with autism is manifest."

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B.C. naturopath Jason Klop claims he can treat autism spectrum disorder in children with fecal microbiota transplants. (Novel Biome)

The guidance outlines a long list of potential infections and diseases someone could contract from fecal transplants, the judge noted.

"That list includes, by way of example: HIV-1/2; Hepatitis B and C; syphilis; Salmonella species; various Multi-drug Resistant Organisms, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; listeria; norovirus; rotavirus; adenovirus; parasites; malaria; gonorrhea, Chlamydia; and cancer," Hughes wrote.

The judgment says the college offered Klop a deal in July 2020 wherein he could voluntarily renounce his licence for at least three years if he wanted to end disciplinary proceedings against him. 

Klop refused. 

Health Canada has also investigated Klop's business, and as a result, he has agreed not to advertise his products to Canadian families. Klop claimed in court that the federal regulator has ended all of its investigations into his work, but Hughes said she saw no evidence on the record supporting that claim.

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