British Columbia

B.C. naturopath claims college can't stop him from selling fecal transplants to treat autistic kids

A Fraser Valley naturopath has filed a legal action against his professional regulator, alleging it doesn’t have the power to stop him from producing fecal transplants in his B.C. lab to administer to autistic children in Mexico.

Jason Klop has filed a petition asking a judge to quash B.C. regulator's 'extraordinary action' against him

B.C. naturopath Jason Klop claims he manufactures fecal microbiota transplants in compliance with federal law. (Novel Biome)

A Fraser Valley naturopath has filed a legal action against his professional regulator, alleging it doesn't have the power to stop him from producing fecal transplants in his B.C. lab to administer to autistic children in Mexico.

Last month, the College of Naturopathic Physicians of B.C. ordered Jason Klop to stop producing pills or enemas made from human feces, saying it was necessary to take "extraordinary action" to protect the public while an investigation is underway.

In response, Klop has filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court asking for a judge to step in and quash the college's action. That document includes allegations that the college has overstepped its powers by setting guidelines outside its jurisdiction to regulate the practice of naturopathy.

The college, it says, "has no mandate to purport to protect patients who are receiving treatment in Mexico or any other place outside British Columbia or otherwise restrict the treatment choices of patients outside British Columbia."

As for the regulation of fecal transplant products, Klop argues that's the domain of Health Canada.

None of the allegations in the petition have been proven in court and the college has yet to file a response. Asked for comment, college registrar Carina Herman said the college has received the petition and will file its response "in due course."

As first reported in January 2020, Klop has been charging parents about $15,000 US for autistic children as young as two years old to have fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) at a clinic in the oceanside Mexican city of Rosarito.

FMT treatments involve taking bacteria and other microbes from the poop of a healthy person and transferring them to a patient either anally or orally, with the goal of restoring a normal environment inside the gut.

An illustration shows how fecal microbiota transplants are produced. (Vancouver Island Health Authority)

The process isn't legal in either Canada or the United States for anything other than treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection that hasn't responded to other therapies.

Doctors and scientists have warned that any other use of this emerging therapy is experimental and carries serious risk of infection, while autistic advocates have denounced Klop's procedure as an unproven treatment that puts vulnerable children in danger.

Klop claims he is 'compliant with federal laws'

The college said it stepped in to prohibit Klop from making, advertising or selling FMT products in response to a complaint from a former employee, who alleged he manufactured these products in a "household lab" in B.C. without standard procedures or quality control.

According to an Aug. 19 decision from the college's inquiry committee, the unidentified whistleblower provided shipping labels and invoices showing that Klop had exported his pills and enemas to Denmark, Edmonton and across the U.S.

Though Klop has defended the health and safety measures in his lab, the college said the more pressing concern is that he is clearly producing and selling FMT for purposes that are not allowed in Canada, which puts the public at risk.

In his petition to the court, Klop writes that the former employee's concerns were centred on his old lab in Abbotsford, which is no longer in use, and he is now working out of a new lab in Chilliwack.

He argues that he "has always been compliant with federal laws" and that he consults with Health Canada to make sure he is following the rules.

"Donors are regularly tested in accordance with standard operating procedures in line with best industry practice and Health Canada guidance documents," the petition reads.

The power of poop: What fecal transplants can and cannot treat

2 years ago
2:39
Fecal transplants have shown a lot of promise for illnesses like C. difficile. As the treatment’s claimed list of uses grows, we debunk the myths 2:39

Health Canada has initiated at least two investigations into Klop's operation. 

Last year, the federal body banned him from accepting Canadian patients at his Mexican retreats, and according to the college, it also opened an investigation into the former employee's complaint. 

Klop's petition maintains that federal agents have inspected his new lab and spoken to him about best practices, and says Health Canada informed him on July 27 that it will not be taking further action against him.

Health Canada said in an email that its investigation into Klop's business is ongoing and it is continuing "to work to ensure compliance is achieved."

A spokesperson said she couldn't comment further because the case is still active.

"Selling unauthorized health products or making false or misleading claims to prevent, treat or cure illnesses is illegal in Canada. The department takes this matter very seriously and will take action should any non-compliances with the Food and Drugs Act and Food and Drug Regulations be identified," the spokesperson said.

Klop has previously argued that "lives are at stake" if he were to stop what he's doing and described his work as a "life-saving measure." 

The latest iteration of his business, Novel Biome, was incorporated in B.C. last year, using an address in an office complex in Chilliwack. In a promotional video posted on the website in January, Klop says he believes that "precision manipulation of the gut microbiome will solve every single chronic disease."

In response to CBC's reporting on Klop's business last year, the B.C. Naturopathic Association, a volunteer professional organization, voted to suspend Klop's membership.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a B.C. journalist with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now