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From: Jason Haap

Sent: Friday, April 16, 2010 10:15 AM

To: Neal Barnard MD <>
Cc: James Dustin Baker <>
Subject: media inquiry

Neal Barnard MD
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste. 400
Washington, DC 20016

Dear Dr. Barnard:

I'm reporting about your organization's relationship with Dr. Henry Heimlich. I'd appreciate your
answers to the questions below.

You sent the following e-mail to the Georgia Liberal blog in response to this June 8, 2010 item,
"PCRM Gives Award Named After Unethical Doctor", about your organization's "Henry J.
Heimlich Award for Innovative Medicine":

I read your post today criticizing Dr. Heimlich’s HIV research from many years back. I
think it would be fair to say that the advent of antiretroviral drugs has made some of the
more cumbersome approaches of the past no longer necessary.

There was a time when medications for HIV were either not yet developed or severely
restricted in certain areas. At that time, some researchers tested an approach that had
been used to treat syphilis before good drugs were available for treating its neurological
complications. The experimental approach - which sounds quite odd and old-fashioned
today - was to trigger a fever that would, it was hoped, disable the infective organisms
(syphilis or, more recently, HIV). The fever was induced using a bacterium that is a
cousin to the germ that causes a common form of malaria. The difference was that, apart
from causing fever, the bacterium used in the experiments did no harm and was easily
knocked out by antibiotics when the fever treatment was no longer needed. So the hope
had been that a course of fever would disable HIV. Some early observations suggested
that this approach might actually have a useful effect. But when good antiretroviral drugs
became widely available, there was no longer any reason to look for other ways to save
the lives of people with HIV.

My understanding is that, while Dr. Heimlich and many other researchers looked at these
alternative therapies many years ago, he and all the rest of us would of course
recommend the proper use of antiretrovirals today.

However, a June 8, 2007 ABC 20/20 report by Brian Ross, "Dr. Heimlich's New 'Maneuver': Cure
AIDS With Malaria," included this information:

In a study commissioned by Dr. Heimlich, eight human subjects have already been
injected with a form of malaria in China in the 1990s, and he is now involved with a
research project involving AIDS patients in Ethiopia who are initially left untreated for
malaria with available medicines.

According to this Radar Magazine article:

Mekbib Wondewossen is an Ethiopian immigrant who makes his living renting out cars in
the San Francisco area, but in his spare time he works for Dr. Heimlich, doing everything
from "recruiting the patients to working with the doctors here and there and everywhere,"
Wondewossen says. The two countries he names are Ethiopia and the small equatorial
nation of Gabon, on Africa's west coast.

"The Heimlich Institute is part of the work there - the main people, actually, in the
research," Wondewossen says. "They're the ones who consult with us on everything.
They tell us what to do."

Wondewossen says that the project does not involve syringes full of malaria parasites.
"We never induce the malaria," he says. "We go to an epidemic area where there is a lot
of malaria, and then we look for patients that have HIV too. We find commercial sex
workers or people who play around in that area." Such people are high-risk for HIV, and
numerous studies show the virus makes its victims more vulnerable to malaria.

A key to containing malaria is speedy treatment. In the most resource-poor areas,

clinicians who lack the equipment necessary for diagnosing malaria will engage in
presumptive treatment at the first signs of fever. This, says Wondewossen, runs contrary
to Heimlich's interests. What physicians in Africa usually do "is terminate the malaria
quickly when someone gets sick," he says. "But now we ask them to prolong it, and when
we ask them to do that, the difference is very, very big."

Untreated malaria is horrible and includes periods of 105-degree fever, excessive

sweating followed by chills and uncontrollable shivering, blinding headaches, vomiting,
body aches, anemia, and even dementia. Heimlich's malariotherapy literature
recommends the patient go two to four weeks without treatment. Delay in treatment,
warns the CDC, is a leading cause of death.

Wondewossen say that the researchers involved in the study are not doctors. He refuses
to name members of the research team, because he says it would get them into trouble
with the local authorities. "The government over there is a bad government," he says.
"They can make you disappear."

Wondewossen won't reveal the source of funding for this malariotherapy research.
"There are private funders," he says. But as to their identity? "I can't tell you that,
because that's the deal we make with them, you know?" He scoffs at the question of
whether his team got approval to conduct this research from a local ethics review board.
Bribery on that scale, he says, is much too expensive: "If you want the government to get
involved there, you have to give them a few million - and then they don't care what you

1) You appeared in the ABC 20/20 report so presumably you watched it and are aware that Dr.
Heimlich conducted experiments in Ethiopia as recently as 2007. Therefore, in your e-mail to
Georgia Liberal, why did you claim Dr. Heimlich's experiments took place "many years ago"?

2) During your remote video interview with Brian Ross, did he ask you about Dr. Heimlich's
"malariotherapy" experiments? If so, would you please describe the exchange you had with Mr.

3) According to this April 8, 2010 LA Weekly article, "In both its mission statement and its IRS
filings, the Washington, D.C.-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
says it is 'strongly opposed to unethical human research.' But the group is throwing a private
Hollywood Art of Compassion bash Sunday night to hand out a major award named after Dr.
Henry Heimlich, who has been condemned by mainstream medical organizations around the
world for his 20-year program of trying to cure cancer and AIDS by injecting people with malaria-
infected blood."

My understanding is that Dr. Heimlich has been a member of your organization's medical
advisory board since 1986. Since then, the Heimlich Institute has reportedly conducted
"malariotherapy" experiments in Mexico, Panama, China, Ethiopia, and Gabon. Therefore is it
accurate for me to report that your organization considers all of those experiments to be ethical?
If not, please clarify.

4) In this March 5, 2008 video interview, my colleague Justin Jeffre asked Dr. Heimlich about the
status of his "malariotherapy" experiments. Dr. Heimlich replied, "We just had an extensive
meeting. And it’s starting in a new country…we’re using it." Among other issues, this appears to
contradict your conclusion that "(Dr. Heimlich) would of course recommend the proper use of
antiretrovirals today. "

What is your organization's response to the Heimlich Institute experiments in Ethiopia and Dr.
Heimlich's ongoing efforts to arrange new "malariotherapy" research trials?

5) Your organization has promoted the use of the Heimlich maneuver for near-drowning rescue
and you endorsed the treatment in the ABC 20/20 report. Would you please provide me with the
names of any board-certified emergency medicine specialists and/or physicians who are
drowning experts that agree with you? Would you please cite articles in the literature that support
your conclusion?

Thanks for your consideration and I look forward to receiving your answers. I'd appreciate
receiving your reply by Tuesday. If you require more time, please let me know.


Jason A. Haap
The Cincinnati Beacon

cc: James Dustin Baker, Georgia Liberal

From: Jill Eckart <>

To: Jason Haap
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 09:35:09 -0400
Subject: RE: media inquiry

Dear Mr. Haap,

Dr. Barnard has been traveling extensively and asked me to forward a message along to you:

Sorry to be slow to get back to you. I have been on the road more or less nonstop.

The Henry Heimlich Award for Innovative Medicine recognizes the fact that Dr.
Heimlich has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. If you have additional
information you would like to bring to my attention, please feel free.

Neal D. Barnard, MD

Best wishes,

Jill Eckart
Assistant to Dr. Barnard

From: Jason Haap
To: Neal Barnard MD <>
Cc: Jill Eckart <>, James Dustin Baker <>
Date: Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 12:31 PM
Subject: RE: media inquiry

Neal Barnard MD
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste. 400
Washington, DC 20016

Dear Dr. Barnard:

Based on your reply today to my April 16 e-mail as well as other documentation, my

understanding is that the following information is accurate.

1) You do not intend to clarify why you apparently provided information you knew to be inaccurate
in your recent e-mail to the Georgia Liberal blog regarding Dr. Heimlich's "malariotherapy"

2) You do not intend to provide any information about your exchange with Brian Ross regarding
Dr. Heimlich's "malariotherapy" experiments during your interview for ABC 20/20.

3) Neither you as an individual nor your organization consider the Heimlich Institute's
"malariotherapy" experiments, past and present, to be unethical.

4) Your organization continues to recommend the use of the Heimlich maneuver (abdominal
thrusts) for near-drowning rescue; you are unable or unwilling to provide me with the names of
any board-certified emergency medicine specialists and/or physicians who are drowning experts
who agree with that treatment recommendation; you are unable or unwilling to provide me with
citations in the literature that support that treatment recommendation.

If any of the above is inaccurate, please advise. If I do not receive your response by Monday,
April 26, my understanding is that you consider the above information to be accurate. If you
require additional time to respond, please advise before that date.

Thank you for your continued attention.


Jason A. Haap
The Cincinnati Beacon

cc: James Dustin Baker, Georgia Liberal