Man Sues Fda For Raid Against Kent Vitamin Clinic -- Jonathan Wright Demands Return Of Seized Items After Second Fight With Feds Over Natural Medicine
KENT - Kent natural-medicine doctor Jonathan Wright has filed his second lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, asking that the agency relinquish items - including postage stamps - that were taken during a May 6 raid of his clinic.
The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle yesterday, also asks the court to rule that the FDA has no authority to raid or inspect doctors' offices.
The second lawsuit was filed just after Wright withdrew a claim he filed against the FDA to recover bottles of the drug L-Tryptophan seized in July 1991.
Wright said he gave up that suit reluctantly after his lawyer told him he would have a hard time winning.
Last spring's raid of Wright's Tahoma clinic by FDA agents and gun-toting King County police sparked loud protests from Wright's patients and supporters of alternative medicine throughout the region.
In search-warrant papers filed with the court, the FDA alleged that Wright, along with a neighboring pharmacy and laboratory, may have been involved in manufacturing and distributing unapproved injectable drugs.
The state Board of Pharmacy later revoked the license of the pharmacy, saying drugs had been manufactured there illegally.
Jim Davis, director of investigations for the FDA in Seattle, said although no charges have been filed against Wright, he is still under investigation by the agency.
"These things take time," said Bill Radkey, assistant U.S. Attorney for the western region.
Wright has said repeatedly that the search was illegal and that he's committed no crime.
Wright's lawsuit against the agency asks the FDA to return property taken in the raid, including medicines, FDA-approved vitamins, patient and business records, and $50 in postage stamps.
The FDA doesn't have any right to the patient records, Wright said.
"There is the potential for people's medical histories to be spread all over the federal bureaucracy," he said.
As for the stamps, "we would like them back," Wright said. "We thought they were legal."
Davis said all items taken during the search were seized legally and are listed in the search-and-seizure warrant.
The lawsuit also asserts that FDA agents who sorted through the clinic's garbage and entered the clinic posing as patients were acting outside their legal authority.
Meanwhile, in a consent decree, Wright agreed to pay court costs in his lawsuit over the L-Tryptophan bottles and to cooperate with the seizure, after conceding that the drug had been transported over state borders, as federal officials allege.
However, he added that he was unaware that the drug had been transported and said the L-Tryptophan was uncontaminated and therapeutically valuable.
Tryptophan is an amino acid found in milk and is used to treat ailments such as stress and premenstrual syndrome. After contaminated Tryptophan from Japan caused an outbreak of a rare blood disease, the FDA banned it.
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