This is not the post I promised you at the end of the last one. A sad news has changed my schedule.
I just learned that Dr. Horváth passed away on the 6th of May, age 80.
I meant this to be an open letter at the end of my series, not an obituary. A beginning of a conversation, not an end without a beginning. It is rather blunt, even by my own standards.
I could have changed it, but decided not to. This is how it was written. I wish we had a chance to have a conversation. As it is, all I can wish for him is to rest in peace and to posthumously find the recognition he richly deserved.
Dear Dr. Horváth,
Let me start with saying that I am a grateful subject of the treatment you invented.
I respect your expertise, your work, your discovery and your dedication to help as many people as possible. Although I do not possess your level of patriotism (I am an émigré after all), I most definitely appreciate yours. Thanks to your treatment (which I received in October-November 2017) I feel better than I ever remember feeling in the past twenty years. I even had some quite surprising and unexpected benefits: my digestion is much better (my heartburns are almost completely gone) and my knees are not crackling when I exercise. In many ways, I couldn’t be happier, but if this is all I would want to tell you, this would be a very short letter indeed. I am writing to you to voice my concerns.
My personal concerns.
The whole process of getting the treatment made me quite uncomfortable. It was a relative who called my attention to your work. I spent days watching your speeches and reading everything about you, your work and ordeal you were put through to defend yourself. What I found out of your work was all very persuasive. Finding a way to contact you was a little more difficult, but eventually I found access through a family friend.
I expected something different, something more professional. A doctor’s office. A nurse. Not the backroom of a crystal and aroma therapy shop.
I was also expecting something more. That someone will be interested who I am, what is my medical history, what is my condition, what is the present state of my cardio-health and – you know – some care.
I was also hoping for some follow up. That someone will keep track of the results. That someone will want to collect medical information or at least offer me the chance to provide it. I was missing professionalism. The process did not look or feel like either medicine or science. I could not even find a support group to share my experiences with. How can you expect to be taken seriously when everything around the process stink of back alley quackery?
My concerns about science
May I ask why don’t you have a web site to document your success? It would cost next to nothing and you could easily find an army of volunteers to help you. Even I would be happy to help.
Why don’t you collect information about the people who received your treatment? You claim to have saved the life of 25,000 people. That would be a serious cohort for research. Who are they? Where are they? Do you even know yourself? You definitely have no idea who I am and how to get in touch with me. Aren’t you curious? Don’t you want to know how well your treatment works? Don’t you want to have the evidence to show to the world? Don’t you want to know about the unexpected side effects? Don’t you want to find out what could have possibly caused them?
Increasingly, we are living in a world that is all about information, all about ‘big data’. As far as I know, you are not collecting ANY. You definitely did not get any from me. Where is your science?
I am a fan of the Reagan doctrine: “Trust, but verify.” I trusted you with my life, now I want the verification. I just signed the petition in support of starting a clinical trial of your invention. What I cannot understand is what kept you from running an informal trial? What legitimate reason can you possibly have for the lack of transparency? I can only suggest two: either you know that you are a fake and want to hide the fact or you don’t know and are afraid to find out. PLEASE, offer another explanation!
If you had scientific integrity, courage and faith in your invention, you would have a record of every person who received the treatment you profess to have absolute faith in.
If you actually cared about the people who received your treatment, you would have created a forum for them to share their experiences and you also would have shared all relevant information, good or bad, with them.
You say you want Hungary to benefit from the manufacturing and selling of your invention? How is it possible that you cannot find political support for that? According to some rumours I heard, half of the members of parliament got your treatment. If any of that is true, how is it possible that you still do not have official support?
In one of your interviews you said that you couldn’t patent your invention because you were unwilling to give up the details that were asked from you. You did not want them to ‘steal’ your invention.
Didn’t anybody tell you that this is the idea of a patent? That you have to provide ALL the information so that its ownership can be protected by law? That you cannot patent something based on your word?
“I know how to do it – Scout’s honour!” – is not a foundation for legal protection of your secret.
Can’t you see how your paranoid unwillingness to share your discovery puts your credibility in question?
Can’t you see how it makes you look like a greedy, grumpy old man?
I tried to explain away the lack of professionalism and scientific curiosity with the situation you are in.
I understand you position. I understand the odds you are fighting against. The medical establishment, the drug industry and the politicians influenced by them.
Those odds are definitely against you. If you sell your invention, chances are that the drug industry will buy it and burry it. If you give it out of your hand, you will lose control over its fate. I don’t think that you are underestimating the power of the interests you are facing. On the contrary. I don’t think you fully appreciate it. 20 billion dollars gross profit a year is very difficult to argue against. That money can buy a lot of influence. A lot of politicians and armies of lawyers. If they want to, they can burry you. The only reason you can still do what you do is that they do not consider you as a threat.
From the way you handle your business it is clear that you did not arrive yet into the 21st Century. The world is small. It did not take me long to discover how serious is the grassroot movement against what two books have defined as ‘Pharmocracy’, the powerful and corrupt industry that already hijacked medical education, scientific research and all relevant regulatory agencies including all the international ones. The opposition to the status quo is strong and it is growing. You could be their hero if you would just reach out. Supposing of course that you really have something to offer. If you really have an invention that you are really ready to PROVE to work.
In the end I have strongly conflicting feelings and arguments:
On the one hand I see something that makes a lot of sense, a treatment that worked for not only me but apparently for thousands of others as well, a wonderful possibility to do something great for your country, but….
On the other hand, I see an untrusting bitter old man who does not understand the world we are living in and the odds he is facing.
I don’t know how to resolve this conflict. You are definitely not helping.
The more I learn about you, the worse you look.
In the age of the Internet, your WEB presence is practically ZERO.
I could not find anything actually written by you. You do not have a web site, not even a page. There is a Wikipedia and a Wikivisually page about you. Both are full of holes. Claims without references, broken links, links to empty pages, links to dictionary definitions of the words highlighted and the likes. The Interlab site, where you claim to work, has no information about you. There is a profile page of you on the MTA members page that you did not even bother to properly complete.
The Facebook page created by your fans did not have updates for nearly three years by now.
Creating a web site these days should not be any more complicated than putting together the kind of presentations you are routinely delivering. What’s your excuse for not having one?
The only working information on those pages are the links to the media articles about the scandals surrounding you.
The only space where people can find information about you and your work is YouTube. There is a lot of information in those videos. Most of it is very convincing, they are just not convincing enough. Especially with interviews like this one. The one where you are brandishing some sort of an agreement for a 2.5 billion Euros investment in Fiji to manufacture your invention. Putting aside the question of how this should benefit Hungary, I must ask: do you have any idea how much money 2.5 billion Euro is?
Coming from an ‘Investor’ with a Spanish name, a non-existent web site, an Australian skype account and a fake Hotmail address????? ARE YOU SERIOUS? Didn’t you know that he is supposed to be Nigerian? And a prince at least? That is why they call it a Nigerian scam!
There could be only two explanations for this: it is either you, who is dangerously gullible or you think that your potential patients are. Neither possibility is a good news.
As I said at the beginning, I am a happy recipient of your treatment. I was definitely not harmed by it. I feel great. I am off statins. My lipid tests are improving consistently. I find the explanation of your treatment very convincing, but everything else about and around you just stinks to high heaven.
When I talked to the family friend cardiologist I mentioned, I asked him what he thinks will happen. He said you will just take it to your grave. Your invention will die with you. I most certainly hope that he is wrong. Still, you should take an honest appraisal of your options.
My friend’s suggestion: you will take your invention to your grave. With your greedy paranoia, the drug industry has no need to worry about you. Even if you have something real, eventually it will disappear with you.
You go to jail. Unfortunately, that is a very real possibility. You broke the law and you are still breaking it. The more successful you become, the more likely it is that this scenario will play out. If the Pharmaceutical industry ever sees you as a threat, you will end up in jail with all evidence of your treatment buried and destroyed.
A miracle will happen and some angel investor (not a Nigeran), a grateful patient, maybe even Viktor himself decides that he wants to help you, himself, Hungary and humanity by blindly believing everything you say without proof and back up that blind faith with hard cash. I may do it myself. Who knows? I may win the lottery this week. But so may you.
Even if you find such an investor, you just passed on your problem to somebody else. You will still have to go legal. Good luck with that. Bureaucracy and politics will burry you. You may have extended your life with your own invention, but not for long enough to beat the system. Not alone, not with your paranoid distrust.
Somebody will steal your formula. The worst thing about paranoia is that it is highly susceptible to become self-fulfilling prophecy. Suspicious and greedy people are the best targets of con-men.
There is a good chance that you will be conned out of your secret.
Eppur si muove. The world, scientific research and discovery did not stop with your invention. As far as I know, you still did not patent your discovery. There is a small army of medical researchers all over the world looking for the answer you claim to have found. Some may have been inspired by your discovery. Now they know what to look for. How long do you think it will take before somebody finds it? How long will it take before somebody patents it? I do not like the idea of PCSK9 inhibitors because they work on the same principle as statins (enzyme inhibition), but the jump from PCSK9 inhibitors to your idea may not be that big. The history of science is filled with parallel inventions and frustrated fortunes. Short of doing what I recommend in the 7th scenario, this one will be the most likely outcome.
You give it away. That is the only scenario that I can see as both workable and virtuous. We live in a blossoming economy of trust (and verification). The greatest stars of the new sharing/free/voluntary economy are ALL giving away their knowledge and talent for free trusting the people that they will reward them for it.
And they indeed do so handsomely. I could name dozens of internet millionaires who made their fortunes from the voluntary donations of their fans. If you have trust in your invention and the generosity of the people it may help, you should give it away for free. You could make a lot of money, you cold save millions of people, you would make a name for Hungary and yourself and you could become an instant celebrity. Doing so would disarm the pharmaceutical industry and would make you bulletproof.
If nobody owns it, nobody can sell it. If it is out in the open, nobody can burry it. If there are no intellectual property rights attached to it, everybody who needs it will be able to afford it.
Create a single page web-site, describe your discovery in all its technical details and make that page available to anyone who cares to look at it. Then ask anybody who benefited from it to donate to you or a foundation you may set up to continue your work. You will be surprised how much love, tangible gratitude and recognition you will get.
The life of Semmelweis should be a lesson to you in many ways. He died before his work got recognized, but eventually it was and the world is still grateful to him.
If you want respect, fame and fortune instead of petty bickering, paranoia and legal troubles, then do the right thing:
DONATE YOUR INVENTION TO HUMANITY!
Prove to the world that your invention is real and that you are a real benefactor of humanity.
You will most certainly earn my respect if you do so.
= = = = = = = = =
With the passing away of Dr. Horváth, all I can hope for is to find someone who holds this knowledge with this argument. The impetus to do the right thing is stronger than ever.
This post is part of a series about health care.
You can find the rest here:
A heartfelt story – the personal aspects of the story
Some heartfelt discoveries – what I learned once I looked into it
A hearty bibliography – A seemingly unending list of references to those discoveries
A heartfelt analysis – A critical exposé of the root causes of the problem
My heartfelt wishes – A libertarian answer to the problems
A heartfelt letter – A letter of frustration with a libertarian message
Healthy thoughts – Final thoughts and a the personal aspects of the story