Harry Hoxsey was not a medical practitioner. But he was the young son of a rural Illinois veterinarian who used an herbal tonic and salve on animals, mostly horses, then secretly on humans with cancer. He found the formulas very successful. Though young Harry never got past the 8th grade, he assisted his father and understood the family formula his dad used and how to use and apply it to others.
This was all during the time that herbal medicine and homeopathy were even more popular and widely used than allopathy. A cynical joke around that time was with eclectic medicine (today's alternative medicine) you died of the disease; with allopathic medicine, you died of the cure! The formula had been in the family since the mid nineteenth century. But there is evidence that the herbs have other sources that date back longer.
As Hoxsey's father lay dying in bed, he told his son to use the family name for the formula, and to ensure its integrity. He also told Harry not to use the family formula primarily for monetary gain, but to allow its use for as many cancer victims as possible. In 1922, Harry Hoxsey started his first clinic in Taylorville, Illinois. He was hounded and arrested often for practicing medicine without a license.
He went to Chicago around 1924 to meet with the head of the AMA and editor of the AMA Medical Journal, Dr. Morris Fishbein, to prove the efficacy of his treatment. He was given access to a Chicago policeman, Sgt. Thomas Manix, whose cancer prognosis was terminal. Using both the ointment and tonic, the policeman was completely cured. This is a documented medical fact. Manix lived another 10 years.
Fishbein and associates were impressed, and they offered to buy the formulas from Hoxsey. But Hoxsey disagreed with the terms. There was no guarantee that everyone would be able to have access to the formula, and Hoxsey would be completely out of the loop with no control. Hoxsey refused to hand over the formulas. That was the beginning of their war, as the medical establishment began their campaign to destroy Hoxsey. The AMA claimed no such offer was ever made.
But a similar offer was disclosed to have been made in 1951 to Doctor Andrew C. Ivy, who had done research on curing cancer with a drug developed by a Dr. Durovic called Krebiozen. Dr. Ivy was not of the same personality mold as Hoxsey, who was intelligent but uneducated, and a bit crude yet very outgoing.
Instead, Dr. Ivy was a highly regarded quiet medical researcher who headed the Illinois University School of Medicine and was also the university's vice president. He and Dr. Durovic refused to sell the rights to a couple of business men, one of whom was a friend of the AMA Treasurer, J.J. Moore. For that refusal, Dr. Ivy was dismissed from his chair at the university medical school.
Krebiozen itself was smeared and no one really ever followed up on Dr. Ivy's promising research.
The point is that even though Hoxsey's crude sales persona was used to easily portray him as a con artist, the real issue was over power and control to obtain workable cancer cures for monetary gain, or perhaps to hide them away in order to maintain the status quo, also for monetary gain.
In 1936, Hoxsey established the largest independent clinic in the country in Dallas, Texas. There he was confronted with yet another enemy, the Assistant District Attorney, Al Templeton. Hoxsey was arrested 100 times in two years. Each time he bailed himself out with the large amount of cash he carried just for those occasions. But charges were always dropped as no one would testify against Hoxsey. Too many patients were happy with the treatment.
Al Templeton continued harassing Hoxsey until his brother, Mike Templeton, whose cancer was considered incurable by conventional allopathy, sneaked to the clinic to receive Hoxsey's treatments. He was cured. Al properly credited his brother's cure to Hoxsey's treatment, and he had a change of heart. The Assistant DA then became Hoxsey's lawyer, and soon he was elected as a district judge. Now Hoxsey had friends in high places, locally.
But his biggest problems came on a national level, since he had the large clinic in Dallas and several other smaller ones in different states. In 1949, Morris Fishbein wrote a hit piece on Hoxsey that was featured in the Hearst papers' Sunday Magazine, available to 20 million readers. The title was "Blood Money," and it was full of the character assassination bile that Fishbein had spewed endlessly in JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) over the previous years.
Prior to this, Hoxsey relied on appealing to the public by radio, film, and with public demonstrations. He had also written a book, You Don't Have to Die. He was a bit crass, and his manner and direct sales approach made him an easy target of ridicule from official authority types. But he was widely accepted by the general public, and he had some supporters in government and in the medical profession as well.
But this time Hoxsey attacked directly and named names. He sued the Hearst Newspaper empire and Morris Fishbein and the AMA Journal for slander and libel, and surprisingly, he won! The award was only $2.00 (two dollars). Supposedly, the judge declared there was no monetary damage, since Hoxsey had successfully used the AMA persecution to promote his treatments and products. But the ruling was that Hearst and Fishbein were guilty of libel and slander. Hoxsey had paraded over 50 cured cancer patients into the courtroom, along with testimony from other supporters.
More important than the award was Fishbein's embarrassment. The trail revealed that Fishbein had flunked anatomy in college, and he had never practiced medicine! Fishbein also admitted that the external salve Hoxsey used was actually effective. This after years of propagandizing the salve as worthless and dangerous. So despite the measly two dollar award, it was a stunning victory for Hoxsey. And it got even better.
The Supreme Court upheld the decision, ruling that the AMA had used restrictive trade techniques. The ensuing publicity aroused a public outcry against the AMA in the early 1950's. The AMA was considered by many as nothing better than a trade union that would not tolerate competition. Seems like the more things change the more they remain the same!
Even Congress upheld that viewpoint in 1953, when the Fitzgerald report determined that the Hoxsey treatment and twelve other alternative treatments, including the aforementioned Krebiozen, were actively conspired against by organized medicine. Morris Fishbein was forced to resign from his long tenure as head of the AMA. But these victories were not enough for Hoxsey.
He stubbornly lobbied for congressional hearings on the efficacy of his treatments, and insisted that the medical authorities investigate and do their own research. Even after a panel of physicians with more of a nutritional and herbal focus asserted the validity of Hoxsey's treatment, a panel of surgeons and radiologists dismissed their verdict. The reason the AMA gave for declining further investigation was they didn't want to raise false hopes and give the public any false hope or hint of the treatment's credibility. Interesting logic!
So as usual, whenever Hoxsey raised the stakes on the medical establishment, a backlash was sure to come. This time, the AMA got another alphabet soup to do their bidding, the FDA. The FDA pursued a long campaign of harassing not only Hoxsey, but also his patients. Finally, the FDA closed and padlocked all 17 of Hoxsey's clinics on the same day in 1960. Hoxsey was beaten and retreated.
But he recovered and came up with a plan. He urged his head nurse, Mildred Nelson RN, who was once skeptical of Hoxsey before becoming his assistant, to relocate to a facility being prepared in Tiajuana, MX. He insisted that she change the name because the Hoxsey name was too much of a target, and that she head the facility while he remained in Dallas for his oil business.
The Legacy Lives
She reluctantly changed the name to Bio-Medical Center, and started running the new facility in 1963. It remains there to this day, but the treatment is still considered as Hoxsey's by many who have been cured or whose lives have been prolonged. The fee structure is the same as before, with a one time lifetime fee, requiring 30 percent down.
Ironically, Hoxsey came down with prostate cancer, and his treatment didn't work for him. So he succumbed to the surgeon's scalpel and lived another 7 years. When Hoxsey died, his personal physician insisted it was from heart failure induced by a weakened liver. But his physician was not available to sign the death certificate. The physician who did sign noted the death as the result of prostate melanoma.
The story of Harry Hoxsey and his cancer treatments could be made into a Hollywood screen epic. There are even more fascinating details, dramatic events, and anecdotal testimonies. Of course, these days Hollywood wouldn't release or distribute an accurate fictional account of Hoxsey's successes, nor could it focus on the cancer industry's unfair and vicious attacks in order to protect their vast, assorted revenue sources.
Largely because of his character and personality, Hoxsey's story is probably the most dramatic in the annals of the cancer industry's efforts to suppress any alternative or real cure for cancer. In lieu of a drama based on real life events, there is an excellent documentary, How Healing Becomes a Crime, which was produced in 1987 and is now available for viewing free on line.