Tuesday 20 March 2018

Doctor told to stop injecting patients with his €1,850 'age reversing' drug

Kevin Keane

A DOCTOR who charged patients €1,850 for an experimental drug he claimed could reverse the ageing process has been ordered to stop.

Dr Samuel van Eeden injected a total of 29 patients with the anti-cholesterol drug which he claimed on his website could make patients feel and look younger, have a higher libido, and have improved memory.

The South African-born doctor who practises at the Malahide Medical Centre on Church Road in the north Dublin town, appeared before a Medical Council fitness to practise inquiry over his use of the drug phosphatidyl choline which is sold under the brand name Lipo-Plaq.

Dr Van Eeden yesterday gave an undertaking not to administer the drug again and to desist from advertising its alleged benefits.

The patients were administered the drug intravenously in 10 sessions by Dr Van Eeden.

Dr Gavin Blake, a consultant cardiologist at the Mater Hospital, told the inquiry that Lipo-Plaq was not sanctioned for use in hospitals in Ireland.

"I don't think it is appropriate for a GP to offer an experimental drug. To administer a completely unproven, experimental treatment would be surprising to me and not appropriate," he said in relation to Dr Van Eeden's use of the drug.

"I have never come across it, I haven't come across any cardiologist who has. I was very surprised to see it being given to patients, I haven't come across any convincing evidence to support its use in this context," he added.

He said he was glad most of Dr Van Eeden's patients ended up being given a conventional statin treatment for their high cholesterol.

One of Dr Van Eeden's patients, identified as Mr A, said he felt "full of beans" and "over the moon" when put on the drug.

"By the fifth or sixth treatment I was sure it was doing me good and by the eighth or ninth I felt better than I had in many years," he said.

Mr A told the inquiry he knew the treatment was not officially approved and at Dr Van Eeden's recommendation, he continued with conventional statin-based medicine at the same time as using Lipo-Plaq.

Another man, identified as Mr B, said he didn't feel any differently following his treatment on Lipo-Plaq and saw only a marginal improvement in his cholesterol levels.

Mr B described Dr Van Eeden as an excellent doctor who was very polite and courteous.

"I'm 51 and my father died at 55 so if he had asked me to jump off a building I would have," Mr B replied when asked if he trusted Dr Van Eeden.

Another patient, Mr D, said Dr Van Eeden made it clear to him that Lipo-Plaq wasn't a normal procedure and was not fully approved.

"He drew to my attention that not everyone agreed with its use and said I should look up the discussions on a website he gave me."

He said he was satisfied with the treatment he had received from Dr Van Eeden and would continue to attend him in the future.

The inquiry concluded after the chairman invoked Section 67(a) of the Medical Practitioners Act, which allowed Dr Van Eeden to give an undertaking not to continue administering phosphatidyl choline.

Dr Van Eeden also undertook to stop advertising his use of the drug and to practise medicine using best evidence as a guide.

Irish Independent

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