Naturopathic Diaries: a resource for students, patients, and lawmakers

Britt Marie Hermes
I may look like one, but I am not a doctor. (Deegan is my maiden name.) Photo by Micah Dahlberg.

Updates to Naturopathic Diaries

The new look and organization of Naturopathic Diaries provides users with accessible information pertaining to naturopathic medicine in North America.

Students currently enrolled in accredited naturopathic programs and prospective naturopathic students will find detailed information about the ND degree, naturopathic career options, and the training of licensed naturopaths in the Student’s Guide.

The Patient’s Guide provides a list of questionable diagnoses, exams, and treatments commonly used in naturopathic practice. Here, patients can find stories by former patients who were harmed by well-meaning, but ill-equipped licensed naturopaths.

An interactive map and legislative summary is presented in the Legislative Guide. I’ve compiled information about the regulation of naturopathic medicine for all U.S. states and territories and Canadian provinces. The page for each jurisdiction includes information on scope of practice, continuing education requirements, history, critical media coverage, and instructions on filing complaints against naturopaths. It is my hope that lawmakers and concerned citizens will reference this guide as an accurate and up-to-date resource about naturopathic medicine.

Naturopathic Diaries also serves as a platform for others to broadcast their experiences in alternative medicine.  Another former naturopath has written about the emotional manipulation she endured in the profession. A former acupuncturist has written about how she became pinned down in the field and desired to escape. A London-based chef has posted about his efforts to combat the rampant pseudoscience in the food industry. Other compelling stories can found on the Essays and Stories page.

A brief history

In February 2015, I started Naturopathic Diaries: Confessions of a naturopathic doctor and became the only American whistle-blower of naturopathic medicine.

This was an unexpected change of course.

The previous spring, I had the unpleasant and life-changing realization that I was a quack. This discovery was devastating. My former boss, naturopath Michael Uzick, had been importing and administering a non-FDA approved drug, called Ukrain, to cancer patients. Under his orders, I helped give Ukrain. Patients were charged thousands of dollars for treatments.

Despite attempts by the manufacturer to receive approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency denied Ukrain due to concerns about safety and quality assurance. This was a wise-decision. Ukrain’s manufacturer has a scandalous history.

In 2012, Vasyl Novytskyi, the drug’s manufacturer, and several of his employees were arrested in Vienna for distributing an unauthorized drug. Then in 2015, Vasyl Novytskyi (also reported Wassil Nowicky), was charged with commercial fraud for relabeling and selling expired drug vials. Novytskyi was found guilty of fraud in a Viennese court, but he has appealed the decision. Legal proceedings are still underway.

In the United States, it is a federal crime to import and administer an unapproved medication, unless that drug is part of an approved clinical trial. There was no drug trial underway at my former practice. Yet, for his deliberate choice to break the law and put his patients at risk of serious side effects from Ukrain, including liver failure and death, Uzick received a nominal punishment from the Arizona Board of Naturopathic Physicians. The board issued Uzick a letter of reprimand which inaccurately implied that Uzick had voluntarily stopped administering Ukrain prior to my complaint to the board. The truth is that Uzick stopped treating patients with Ukrain because the packages of the illicit drug stopped arriving from Austria.

After reporting Uzick to the state attorney’s office and the Arizona medical board, I quit my job as a naturopath. I permanently retired when I realized that practices like these define the profession of licensed naturopaths in North America.

My early posts in Naturopathic Diaries shared my metamorphosis from a practitioner of “natural medicine” to a biomedical scientist and critical thinker. I described the fear and grief of examining my deeply held beliefs and rejecting them in the face of evidence and reason.

As I have grown, so has Naturopathic Diaries. Recent posts focus on how naturopathic practitioners contrive legitimacy. I also write to expose how naturopathic education pales in comparison to true medical training and how the profession’s political efforts are coated in deception.

Thank you for supporting Naturopathic Diaries

I am grateful to everyone’s support. I big thank you to those who have donated. These funds help offset hosting costs and website updates.

As a community of skeptical and scientific thinkers, it is important to raise global awareness that naturopathy must be highly scrutinized, as its proponents have an on-going history of deceit, exploitation, and medical fraud. This type of deception endangers patients everywhere. We are in this together.