The lawyer for a Fraser Valley naturopath facing investigation for his business selling fecal microbiota transplants to families of autistic children argued in a B.C. courtroom Tuesday that his client isn't obligated to follow scientific evidence.
Naturopath Jason Klop was in B.C. Supreme Court petitioning for a judge to order the College of Naturopathic Physicians to end its investigations into his business and lift his ban on manufacturing, advertising and selling pills and enemas made from human feces.
Gratl suggested a lack of scientific evidence for the use of fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) to treat autism isn't necessarily relevant in this case.
In explaining the ban, the college has said Klop may be engaged in conduct unbecoming of a naturopathic physician, but lawyer Jason Gratl argued that's difficult to prove in a field with somewhat nebulous boundaries and relatively few restrictions.
"In certain respects, naturopaths may rely on science, but they are not bound by science," Gratl said.
He explained that naturopathic practices can instead be based on anecdotes or historical knowledge, and later pointed out that the field includes homeopathy, "which some say involves magical thinking [and is] certainly non-scientific at its core."
Right now, FMT is only approved in Canada and the U.S. for treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection that hasn't responded to other therapies, but research is underway into a wide range of other possible applications.
Doctors and scientists have warned that, at the moment, 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.