Selling autism

4 Nov

It’s no secret that the Pat Sullivan’s are probably not career rocket scientists – they sell dietary supplements among other things on the internet. They probably lack understanding of even some very basic aspects of autism in my opinion but they seem to have remained benign and polite for the most part. No matter – I’m not a career rocket scientist either. I’d also like to state that I like both Pats. They always make an effort to go to the source which I find admirable.

Which is why I was disappointed by a couple of recent posts on the Sullivan blog.

Pat Jr. posting recently took issue with a post from Autism Diva which described a mercury mum as saying:

Dr Quig [Vice President, Scientific Support for Doctor’s Data Inc. lab] who sees zillion Doctors Data reports had some interesting comments: like TD-DMPS is not transdermal because it doesn’t trans the dermal! Suppositories and IV are generally more effective. He mentioned that none of these really penetrate the blood brain barrier.

Pat got in touch with Buttar to ask him about this. Apparently Buttar was pissed off in the extreme about it. Then Pat found out Buttar spoke to Doctors Data who profusely apologised and explained that:

Dr. Quig was merely saying that TD-DMPS is not good for challenge testing, something that Dr. Buttar fully agrees with. TD-DMPS is a therapeutic chelator that has the advantage of being able to remove metals slowly. But it’s the least effective for challenge tests

Uh – so? Quite aside from the point that the whole issue of challenge testing is fraught with bullshit, Quig never referred to how good or speedy a chelator TD-DMPS was, he said it didn’t work at all. Two very different things.

I’ve recently been having an email exchange with someone who was at one time very close to Dr Buttar’s practice. This person had some very interesting things to tell me about the way Buttar allegedly does business. Maybe Pat or Kevin Champagne could ask Dr Buttar personally just how much his clinic pays for the initial DNA testing he insists all new patients undergo? My source claims that he charges between $200 – _$900_ for these tests. My source further claims that these test kits are provided to Buttar’s clinic _free of charge_ from the test labs. If that’s true, then that’s a hell of a markup. Not illegal by any means but certainly very, very questionable ethical behaviour.

I was then saddened and disappointed to see the Sullivan’s start to market actively to their site visitors:

Now, I have been very, VERY careful not to ever advertise Jigsaw products to the autism community because I felt like it would give my opponents the ability to marginalize my arguments.

Possibly, but much as I like them, I’ve never found the Sullivan’s arguments to be critically thought through or scientifically supported. Possibly in an entry I’ve not read there is something.

Following that, is a paragraph about how a blogger who went to an autism conference listed a bunch of dietary supplements that, by a remarkable coincidence the Sullivan’s also just happen to sell – and are helpfully more than happy to list with clickable links to information and direct purchasing options.

Pat Jr. continues:

“So I guess this breaks my silence on marketing to the autistic community. Sorry.”

That made me a little cross. To the “autistic community”? It’s obvious that at least one Sullivan is maybe either a careless writer or apparently doesn’t understand the difference between “the autistic community” (that would be made up of autistic people), and “the autism community” (the larger community that includes parents of autistic children with money to spend or legally able to incur debt).

Sorry? What no, “we want to earn your business,” or “your satisfaction is our goal.”? All they can offer is a, “You’re a target, sorry”? Of course their motives are irrelevant. They are in business to make money. They’ll probably treat their “marketing targets” according to a business plan. In reality, their intentions say absolutely nothing about whether or not the vitamins, herbs, and lab tests they apparently re-sell do anything (or nothing) for for autism, the autistic community, or the autism community.

In fact, the reason we got involved in the autism debate to begin with was because of the near perfect parallel Pat experienced. It’s also the reason we started the Jigsaw Health Foundation with the sole purpose of providing financial assistance for mercury amalgam removal.

Is Jigsaw health going to contribute to the “autistic community” in some real way? There are
probably schools in your country that could use funding assistance and many families who need in-home education services or other assistance. There are probably autistic adults who need living or employment support services. There might even be valuable autism reasearch somewhere over there. Wouldn’t that contribution be more valid than removing peoples fillings?

As I say, I like the Sullivan’s (even though it states in my ‘evil neurodiverse’ contract I shouldn’t) but I found this glib explanation of Buttar’s skin cream and the follow up targeted sales-speak a little much.

17 Responses to “Selling autism”

  1. Quack Whore November 4, 2006 at 03:50 #

    Are Pat and Pat their net (street) names? Aren’t their real names Lloyd and Harry?

  2. Not Mercury November 4, 2006 at 04:08 #

    Did anybody really believe that P&P would stay on the sidelines and not tap into the lucrative autism market? No way. They have a business to run and anyone can see that desperate parents willing to fork over $800/hr. to Buttar are a tempting source of income.

    Last year was all about building confidence to the point where a few parents will vouch for them and help market their products more effectively.

    Looks like they have a “dog in the fight” now.

  3. Chief Evil ND of the High Council November 4, 2006 at 09:15 #


    The Evil ND High Council met when we learned that you liked the Pats (Pat and pat). We are reviewing your qualifications to run the hub. We may need to put you on probation or punish you, requiring you to watch Philcommander videos for an hour straight. We’ll get back to you with our decision. Over and out.


  4. Kev November 4, 2006 at 09:37 #

    _”requiring you to watch Philcommander videos for an hour straight.”_

    NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…..I’ll be good! I’m sorry…anything but that….

    [collapses sobbing, a sadder, but wiser husk of a man]

  5. Orac November 4, 2006 at 21:47 #

    Kev, I’m afraid I have to agree that you probably went too easy on the Sullivans. Their utter credulity and Pat Jr.’s fawning over Dr. Buttar (as demonstrated in the post to which you link and numerous other posts on their blog) outweigh their being “nice” guys. In fact, Pat, Jr., at least, isn’t even that nice a guy really, as his two posts “outing” me demonstrate to pretty much anyone.

    It is, however, quite amusing to me to see how little time it took Darrell Hickock to abase himself to the Great Dr. Buttar and beg for forgiveness after learning of Buttar’s displeasure at Hickock’s daring to say that TD-DMPS might not be so TD after all, that the TD-DMPS Emperor might have no clothes. Hickock knows which side his bread is buttered on (if you’ll excuse the term).

  6. Nana November 5, 2006 at 00:05 # has been selling to the autism/mercury poisoning crowd since I first checked them out last year. Just put “autism” in the search form and pages will come up like the one below.
    [last updated in Sept, 2005]

  7. HN November 5, 2006 at 00:07 #

    What really disgusted me with the Pats was what they did in Orac’s old blog. Not only did he/they post on and on (like most cranks do), but they invented quotes and attached people’s names to them… including mine.

    Like here:

  8. Kev November 5, 2006 at 09:00 #

    Yeah, I did go easy on them and yes, their ‘outing’ of Orac was ill-considered and pretty embarrassing to see.

    I am very disturbed by their lack of critical application regarding Buttar who I’m more and more convinced is in this thing solely for the money. I’m not sure what it is Buttar has ever done to deserve such credulous acceptance but I would really like to ask him to his face one day. With a video camera.

  9. David N. Andrews MEd (Dec 2006) November 5, 2006 at 12:56 #

    Kev: “I’m not sure what it is Buttar has ever done to deserve such credulous acceptance but I would really like to ask him to his face one day. With a video camera.”

    I’d advise taking Brian Deer with you, and doing the interview between you. Certainly would be an interesting interview, wouldn’t it?!

  10. Orac November 5, 2006 at 15:09 #

    Yeah, I did go easy on them and yes, their ‘outing’ of Orac was ill-considered and pretty embarrassing to see.

    It was more than embarrassing for Pat. It was nasty and idiotic.

    They simply reposted that twit Ashleigh Anderson’s tirade, where she tries to claim that I was somehow linked with and white power rangers (my favored derogatory term for white nationalists), when in fact, if she had bothered to read the posts II had made to those various white nationalist newsgroups it would have been obvious that they were crossposted from alt.revisionism and were refuting the lies of Holocaust deniers and white racists. Pat reposted Ashleigh’s smear in essence unedited.

    No, Pat is not a very nice person at all, his “reasonable” pretense otherwise notwithstanding. He was practically cackling with glee as he posted it. Of course, he was clearly disappointed too, because he it proved that I was exactly who I said I was. He had clearly been hoping that I was a fake. (Like many alties, Pat seems to be a sucker for what he perceives to be an authority, which is perhaps why he fawns over Dr. Buttar so much.) Then, when his “outing” of me started falling off the the top page of Google searches on my name, he purposely mentioned me again a couple of months ago.

    Finally, Jigsaw Health is now advertising stuff like carnosine (believed to be an antioxidant) for autism and ASDs:

  11. Quack Whore November 6, 2006 at 04:18 #

    Diva, you’s funny. So long succimers!

  12. BlueBerry Pick'n November 15, 2006 at 04:39 #

    You know, just because there are a few hacks & snakeoil salesmen out there doesn’t mean that WITHIN the constellation of symptoms we Venn Diagram into Autism…

    there might actually be people damaged by mercury.

    given that its not something we were designed to withstand injected or injested… maybe its possible that some people are simply sensitive or less sensitive.

    just a thought. Some women are allergic to sperm… some people to peanuts.


    maybe we simply shouldn’t use the stuff & reduce the risk to none from possible?

  13. Jb Handley November 15, 2006 at 07:28 #


    You are crossing the line into slander.

    I am not, nor have I ever been, a poster known as Ashleigh Anderson. I do not know Ashleigh Anderson.

    I had nothing to do with Orac’s outing, and I would appreciate if you would stop stating something that is categorically untrue unless you have proof to the contrary, which would be impossible.

    One time, I joked around with you on this topic. Your sense of humor lacking, I’m forced to explicitly deny this. Please don’t make me ramp up the need to be clear with you on this point.

    JB Handley

  14. Hi Flier November 16, 2006 at 15:34 #

    Blueberry is right about the risks of sperm allergy. This is why aircraft toilets are so small.

  15. Emily November 16, 2006 at 16:31 #

    You are not the only one, you know? They have provided unreliable information before as well. What they are really interested in is getting our money and selling something that might fit.
    Buy flowers – Online Flower Shop

  16. uuuuuuuhh November 16, 2006 at 20:55 #

    “You know, just because there are a few hacks & snakeoil salesmen out there doesn’t mean that WITHIN the constellation of symptoms we Venn Diagram into Autism… there might actually be people damaged by mercury.”

    I agree with Common Blueberry. The Sullivan’s existence in the autism community doesn’t mean there might actually be people damaged by mercury at all. In fact I think the only thing that would suggest that there are people damaged by mercury would be some evidence to that effect – which there isn’t. Good call Common Blueberry.

  17. Rescue Angle: 45 degrees from horizontal November 17, 2006 at 06:43 #

    blahahahaha Hi Flier!

    Was that really Sue M?

    “Some women are allergic to sperm…” “maybe we simply shouldn’t use the stuff & reduce the risk to none from possible?”

    Sounds like a not-so-subtle warning to stay away, JB.

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