A Reply to False Statements by Helke Ferrie
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Helke Ferrie (1948- ), founded, owns, and directs KOS Publishing, which she hopes will "educate and empower readers in the politics of medicine and provide helpful information on non-toxic medicine based on basic science and clinical proof."  The KOS Web site states that her education includes prehistoric, ancient Near Eastern and Greek archaeology, and Chinese and Buddhist studies, and that she holds a master's degree in physical anthropology. Ferrie also writes regularly for Vitality, a Toronto-based magazine that promotes "natural health, alternative medicine, and green living."
KOS tells prospective authors that their share of the profits will increase if their books are sponsored by vitamin manufacturers or laboratories that provide tests of the type the authors in their practices .
Ferrie came to my attention about ten years ago when Vitality published an article in which she falsely accused me of being funded by drug companies and portrayed me as a liar . The article stated:
Barrett tells us that "Neither Quackwatch nor I have any financial ties to any commercial or industrial organization" and "Quackwatch has no salaried employees" and is funded by personal donations and profits from publications. "If its income falls below what is needed . . . the rest comes out of my pocket." His and Gots' pockets are interesting, to say the least. The funding sources of their organizations were readily available on the Internet until recently; in the early '90s he stopped disclosing such information. The last annual report to list donors was published 1991 where we find all our toxic friends: Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland (both of genetic engineering fame), the Nutrasweet Company (neurotoxic aspartame etc.), Union Carbide (as in Bopal disaster), the producers of pesticides, fertilizers, and fluoride Dow Chemical, Dupont, Cargill etc., the biochemical warfare and pharmaceutical producers Eli Lilly, the Uniroyal Chemical Company, all the big petroleum and pharmaceutical companies, and various refined sugar producers and refined food producing giants. Two thirds of the world's economy is controlled by this list of North American Big Business. With friends like that, who needs to worry about telling the most fantastical lies in public?
To test Quackwatch's insistence that it is based on public support, I applied to become a member in 1999. First I was told that the annual membership fee was US $25,000. I said, "That's fine, send me the membership application form."Was I calling on behalf of a corporation? No, I informed the person, who then said, "We prefer corporate members."
Here are the facts:
- Neither Quackwatch nor I have any financial ties to any commercial or industrial organization.
- Quackwatch has no salaried employees.
- Quackwatch costs very little to run. The chief sources of income is personal donations and a few ads. (We now sell very few books.) If these sources don't cover the costs, the rest comes out of my pocket .
- Dr. Ronald Gots and I collaborated on a book about chemical sensitivity that was published in 1998, and he has provided occasional advice to me when asked. I know nothing about the sources of his income, but they have nothing to do with mine.
- In 1969 I founded a local nonprofit organization that became incorporated In the early 1970s, it had as many as 40 members. Membership was free. By 1980, it stopped functioning as a membership organization, and in 1997 it was renamed Quackwatch, Inc.
- Quackwatch, Inc., has never had members.
- Neither I nor Quackwatch, Inc. has ever received any funds from drug, oil, or chemical companies.
For all of the above reasons, the conversation that Ferrie claims to have had with me in 1999 could not have taken place. Perhaps she talked with someone from the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), which welcomes contributions from drug and chemical companies and has received contributions from companies Ferrie mentioned in her article. I have been an adviser to ACSH and edited some of its reports during the early 1990s.
In July and December 2012, I e-mailed the above facts to Ferrie and asked her to remove her false information about me from the Internet. She has not yet replied.
- Ferrie H. About KOS Publishing. KOS Web site, accessed July 19, 2012.
- Ferrie H. The quackbusters-busted! Vitality magazine, May 2002.
- Barrett S. Who funds Quackwatch? Quackwatch, Aug 11, 2011.
This article was posted on May 25, 2017.