British Columbia

Naturopath accused of using nephews' stool to make fecal transplants in basement apartment

A naturopath who charges parents of autistic children thousands of dollars for pills or enemas made from human feces has been accused of producing those capsules from his nephews' stool in a basement suite in Abbotsford, B.C., according to court filings.

Court filings from College of Naturopathic Physicians of B.C. provides new details of investigation

This summer, B.C. naturopath Jason Klop was ordered to stop producing and selling pills and enemas made from human feces. (drjasonklop.com)

A naturopath who charges parents of autistic children thousands of dollars for pills or enemas made from human feces has been accused of producing those capsules from his nephews' stool in a basement suite in Abbotsford, B.C., according to court filings.

Jason Klop is fighting an order from the College of Naturopathic Physicians of B.C. to stop producing fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) at a facility in the Fraser Valley for use on autistic children at a clinic in Mexico. 

He filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court last month, alleging the college doesn't have the power to stop him. The college has now disputed that in a legal response.

The college's response provides new details about a complaint from a former employee that led to this action, saying the alleged whistleblower reached out in April using the pseudonym "Molly Rylene" to express her concerns.

The former employee "alleged the stool donors for the FMT materials being produced at the petitioner's laboratory were the petitioner's nephews who 'bring their stool down to the basement and someone down there freeze dries it and makes it into capsules,' " the Oct. 12 court document reads.

"She alleged the 'household lab' had no quality assurance or quality control measures and there was no analysis conducted of what was contained in the FMT materials being produced."

Klop remains under investigation by the college, but in August, the regulator posted a public notice saying it was necessary to take "extraordinary action" while the probe is underway "due to the seriousness of the alleged conduct and a real risk of harm to the public."

Health Canada is also investigating Klop's business, and has already made him agree not to accept Canadian children on his Mexican "retreats."

'Limited and inconclusive' evidence

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 FMT at a clinic in the oceanside city of Rosarito, not far from Tijuana.

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.

Right now, FMT is only approved in Canada and the U.S. for treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection that hasn't responded to other therapies, but research is underway into a broad range of other applications.

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

Doctors and scientists have warned that at the moment, 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.

A systematic review published last month covering the research on the use of FMT for treatment of autism found the evidence of any benefit is "limited and inconclusive."

College investigation has been expanded

In Klop's petition to the court, he advances several arguments against the college, charging that it has overstepped its jurisdiction.

Klop alleges the college has no power to take action to protect patients receiving treatment outside of B.C. and argues that the regulation of FMT should properly be dealt with by Health Canada. 

He also says he is now producing FMT products in a new lab in Chilliwack, not the facility in Abbotsford, and that he is in compliance with federal laws.

Fecal transplants are only approved for use in recurrent C. difficile infections in Canada. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

The college's response describes all of Klop's arguments as "flawed" and sets out legal precedent for its extraordinary action, saying it has jurisdiction over the practices of registered B.C. naturopaths no matter where they are practising or what laws they are accused of breaking.

It also goes on to suggest that Klop's attempts to defend himself while under investigation may have inadvertently complicated his situation.

The response says that though the investigation began with the complaint from "Molly Rylene," unspecified materials Klop submitted to investigators caused the probe to expand.

"It was apparent from those materials that the petitioner's conduct went well beyond manufacturing FMT materials at his laboratory. In furtherance of its public safety mandate, the panel could not disregard that new information provided by the petitioner," the document says.

None of the allegations in Klop's petition or the college's response have been proven in court.

Concerns about new clinic advertised in Australia

Meanwhile, according to Klop's website, he's recently expanded his operation to clinics outside of Mexico. The website says he offered the treatment in Hungary just last week, and has scheduled a retreat at a "partner medical clinic" in Melbourne, Australia, for December.

When CBC News reached out to the Australian clinic, ReClaim Health, the director replied to say there is no partnership with Klop and he is just renting space in the building.

"At no time has ReClaim entered into a partnership with Jason, nor are our services affiliated in any way. We are simply a landlord to a tenant," Kellie Green wrote in an email.

"I do thank you, though, for highlighting what could potentially be seen as an issue for our business and reputation and will take action accordingly."

She followed up to say that she had already reached out to Klop about the claims on his website.

Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration told CBC News that FMT products can only be administered by gastroenterologists and infectious disease physicians for "gut microbiome replenishment."

Contact information for the clinic in Hungary could not be located.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a journalist for CBC News in Vancouver 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.

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