h. nazan ışık—

29 Aug  2014—

 “My son Ben, who was ten years old, said: “You can’t work for them and against them for ever. It is just impossible.” I was devastated by this wisdom, coming out of the mouth of a ten year old.” says Ralph W Moss PhD, who is the center of Eric Merola’s documentary Second Opinion: Laetrile at Sloan-Kettering.

Credit Merola Productions
Kanematsu Sugiura DSc, in Second Opinion: Laetrile at Sloan-Kettering, a documentary by Eric Merola

Eric Merola takes us back to early 1970s with his eye-opening documentary. In 1971 America declared War On Cancer. Newsweek magazine estimated that 70.000 Americans went to Mexico to get Laetrive, derived from apricot kernels.  It was legal in Mexico, but was banned in the United State in1963, because the Food and Drug Administration said it was harmless but worthless.  The U.S. Government assigned Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), at the time America’s leading cancer research center to test “Laetrile” as a cancer therapy.

In 1974 Sloan-Kettering’s public relations department hired a young science writer Ralph W. Moss to brief the American public on the center’s work on the War On Cancer. He got an assignment to write a biography about Dr. Kanematsu Sugiura, one of the Center’s distinguished leading scientists and the original co-inventor of chemotherapy.

Everything started with this interview: Mr. Moss found out that Dr. Sugiura had been studying “Laetrile” in laboratory mice, and results were rather positive. It didn’t cure, but it was able to prevent cancer and stop it from spreading, for a while. Mr. Moss reported back to his superiors the good news.  But what he met with was Sloan-Kettering’s leaders’ denials on Dr. Sugiura’s findings.

He thought it was a cover-up.

Mr. Moss says in the movie “ I loved my job, I wanted my job, but also have a clear conscience.” and he decided to anonymously leak the documents to American public, with fellow employees through a newsletter called “Second Opinion”.

At a press conferance in June 15, 1977, all MSKCC leaders said that there was no evidence that Laetrile was useful. Journalists asked Dr. Sugiura whether he agreed with Center’s leaders.

“Of course, my results don’t agree, but I agree with what my institution says.” he replied. 

A reporter asked: “ Do you stick with your results?”

He answered: “Yes. I stick with my results. I hope somebody will be able to confirm my results later on.”

Later “Second Opinion” held a press conference and Mr. Moss was told by his boss to go to the press conference for them to spy on the conference to see who was coming.

“My son Ben, who was ten years old, said: “You can’t work for them and against them for ever. It is just impossible.” I was devastated by this wisdom, coming out of the mouth of a ten year old.” said Mr. Moss. He decided to go to the conference to talk.  And it was just enough to get fired.

Second Opinion: Laetrile At Sloan-Kettering—theatrical trailer:


What is the film about?  Is it about a cover-up, or uncovering a cover-up? Is it about the power of big pharma?

At the end there is a Quote from William W. Vodra, Former Associate Chief Counsel for Drugs, Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

“Nobody is going to pay $70,000 for a new cancer drug if they can buy Laetrile for 75 cents.”

And what Mr. Moss wants is:” They should -for their own good -they should come clean about this.  You can’t live a lie…”

The film centers on an interview with Ralph Moss.  We see an empty chair; he comes, sits and tells the story.  It might sound boring, but it is not. It is an eye-opening, riveting documentary. Director and co- editor Eric Marola did a great job by mixing it with some pictures of MSKCC leaders, Dr. Sugiura’s handwritten notes, the leaked documents, “Second Opinion” newsletters, footage of a 1977 Sloan-Kettering news conference, “Second Opinion”s press conference, some newspaper articles and cartoons.

One might say: “ It is only one-sided story: Mr. Moss’ story. We need to hear the other side’s story, from anyone on the other side, too”

At the end of the film Mr. Moss  says very quietl : “They are all gone. All died of cancer.”  Gets up, and leaves the room.

SECOND OPINION: Laetrile at Sloan-Kettering

Written, directed and produced by Eric Merola

Director of Photography: Doug Jenson, William Turnley, and Eric Forssell

Edited by EricMerola and Jon Barratt

Cartoons by Tom Meyer

75 minutes.

Merola Productions

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