Investigation widens into B.C. naturopath's fecal transplants for autism, court documents show
Jason Klop claims he's the target of a 'spurious inquisition' as college asks for financial records
An investigation into a naturopath who claims he can treat autism using pills and enemas made from feces has expanded significantly, according to new documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court.
Jason Klop claims in a petition filed last week that he's the subject of a "spurious inquisition" by the College of Naturopathic Physicians of B.C. He's calling for a judge to step in and stop the investigation into his exports of fecal microbiota transplants (FMT), including the college's demands for his financial records.
Klop, who was already the subject of an investigation stemming from a health and safety complaint filed by a former employee, says the college informed him in October that its investigation has expanded to include "seven separate new concerns" about his business.
Investigators have also allegedly asked him for financial records from his company, Novel Biome, which advertises FMT "retreats" for autistic children and their families in Mexico, Australia and Hungary.
Klop is asking for an order quashing the college's investigation, alleging it is based on "unscientific prejudice" against FMT. He claims the college does not have the jurisdiction to regulate his business and that there is no risk to the public.
The college has yet to file a response, and representatives have yet to respond to requests for comment.
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, mainly at a clinic in the Mexican oceanside 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.
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.
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.
Research is currently underway into a broad range of other possible applications for FMT, but a systematic review published earlier this year covering research on its use with autism found the evidence of any benefit is "limited and inconclusive."
Transplants allegedly produced from nephews' feces
This is Klop's second legal action against the college.
He has filed a separate petition objecting to limits that were placed on his practice in August, when the college ordered him to stop producing, selling and marketing FMT. 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."
According to a response filed by the college in that matter, its original investigation began with a former employee of Klop's business who reached out in April using the pseudonym "Molly Rylene."
The would-be whistleblower "alleged the stool donors for the FMT materials being produced at the petitioner's [Klop'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 college's response says.
The ex-employee alleged that Klop's "household lab" had no quality assurance or control measures.
Klop has said he no longer produces FMT products in that Abbotsford location and is now working out of a lab in Chilliwack, where he claims to be in compliance with all federal laws.
In his latest petition, Klop claims that his FMT business is "off duty" conduct and doesn't meet the definition of naturopathic practice in B.C., therefore the college has no authority to demand his financial records.
He also claims that because he is administering these transplants outside of Canada, and because the use of FMT is regulated by Health Canada, the college has no authority to investigate him.
At the same time, Klop seems to suggest that naturopathy is supposed to operate outside conventional scientific methods.
"Naturopaths, by their nature, practise an alternative branch of medicine that employs an array of principles, precepts, practices and treatments, the efficacy and safety of which are not always demonstrated to the strict formal standards of the medical or pharmaceutical sciences," the petition reads.
In Canada, however, Health Canada says FMT meets the definition of a drug and is regulated as such, which means it requires a risk-benefit assessment through traditional clinical trials.
The federal body is also investigating Klop's business, and has already made him agree not to accept Canadian children on his "retreats."
None of the allegations in either of Klop's petitions or the college's response have been proven in court.