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Further Comments on Dr. Gorski's Credentials

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

On September 10, 2001, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on quackery related to marketing of anti-aging products. After the hearing, Representative Dan Burton (organized quackery's best friend in Congress) falsely accused Timothy N. Gorski, MD, a National Council Against Health Fraud board member, of misrepresenting his credentials at the hearing. Two weeks later, Senator Larry Craig, the committee's ranking Republican member, suggested to committee chairman John Breaux that Dr. Gorski's "misstatement" be referred to the United States Justice Department for criminal prosecution. Dr. Gorski, however, did nothing wrong. He was permitted to submit a rebuttal for inclusion in the hearing record; and Senator Breaux notified Senator Craig that Dr. Gorski had done nothing wrong.

Senator Craig's Letter
(September 25, 2001)

Dear Mr. Chairman:

It has come to my attention that Dr. Timothy N., Gorski, a witness at the Senate Special Committee on Aging's September 10, 2001 hearing on anti-aging products, may have misrepresented his credentials. Specifically, in his written testimony, Dr. Gorski claimed to be an Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center (UNTHSC). Dr. Gorski is not currently a member of the UNTHSC faculty, and the University does not appear to have approved his testimony. Since Dr. Gorski was not sworn in, as were witnesses on two previous panels, his misstatement does not constitute perjury, but may be a false statement governed by 18 U.S.C. §1001.

At the very least, the record of the September 10, 2001 hearing should be corrected to accurately reflect the credentials of Dr. Gorski. Additionally, should you decide to refer this matter to a U.S. attorney, I will join you in a bipartisan referral.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Senator Breaux's Response
(October 15, 2001)

Dear Senator Craig:

I recently received your letter dated September 25, 2001. In your letter, you raised serious concerns about Dr. Timothy N., Gorski, a witness at the Senate Special Committee on Aging's September 10 hearing and a witness you and I jointly invited to participate in the hearing.

Although I agree that witnesses should accurately represent their credentials before Congress, I do not share your position that Dr. Gorski may have made a false statement in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1001, subjecting him to a fine or imprisonment of up to five years, or both. To violate 18 U.S.C. §1001, Dr. Gorski would have to "knowingly and willfully" make a "materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or misrepresentation." The facts of the matter simply do not support such a finding.

Rather, the facts indicate that Dr. Gorski provides gratuitous teaching and training of medical students and resident physicians at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine upon unsolicited appointment in 1991. He continued teaching in that capacity after 1995, even when the facility was renamed the University of Texas Health Science Center. Dr. Gorski was unaware the official appointment lapsed into inactive status in 1995. Due to multiple inquiries to the hospital about Dr. Gorski's veracity after the Committee's hearing, the University's Acting Chairman of the Department of OB/GYN invited Dr. Gorski to reapply to correct this administrative error on September 28, 2001. Last week, I provided you with copies of this August 1991 appointment of Dr. Gorski and this September 28, 2001 letter from the University and will include these documents in the hearing record. Today, I am attaching a copy of this October 10, 2001 letter just received from the University, clarifying that Dr. Gorski was, in fact, only on inactive status.

I think it is unfortunate that a man of Dr. Gorski's stature and character should be questioned in this manner. I appreciate his willingness to volunteer his time and to assist the Committee in considering this important and complex review of companies and individuals who would mislead the nation's senior citizens about anti-aging supplements. Although technically Dr. Gorski was inactive as an associate clinical professor when he included the fact in his biography, there is no dispute that he continued to provide teaching services to the University after 1995 and that the University welcomed his continued services and association. Accordingly, there is no basis to correct the record to reflect that he served in this capacity from 1991-1995. Moreover, I see no basis for referring this to the United States Attorney or in concluding that this was any more than an administrative oversight.

Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. I hope this satisfactorily addresses your concerns.

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This page was posted on November 11, 2001.