A Fraser Valley naturopath who charged families thousands of dollars to give their autistic children pills and enemas made from human feces has agreed to give up his licence, after more than four years of investigations and legal battles.
Jason Klop has claimed “dramatic improvements” in the autism symptoms of children as young as two that he’s treated with fecal microbiota transplants at clinics in Mexico, Hungary, Australia and Panama, at a cost of about $15,000 US.
Klop has now admitted that his business violated multiple standards and regulations of his profession, according to a public notice posted online by the College of Naturopathic Physicians of B.C.
It says Klop has signed a consent order agreeing to the cancellation of his registration, effective Wednesday, and will pay a $7,500 fine.
Under the terms of the consent order, Klop has admitted to promoting and selling fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) for autistic patients in defiance of Health Canada rules and the scope of practice for B.C. naturopaths. The notice says he continued to do this work even after being warned he was breaking the rules.
He’s also admitted to making “unverifiable statements” in his advertising, and allowing Canadians to have intermittent access to his website, despite promising they would have none.
Shaina Cahill, the spokesperson for Klop’s business Novel Biome, acknowledged the disciplinary agreement in an email to CBC.
“He has not practiced as a naturopathic doctor for several years and has fully transitioned into a role solely focused on the manufacturing of fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) products as a contract manufacturer,” she said of Klop.
His licence cancellation isn’t permanent, and he’ll have the right to apply for reinstatement in five years.
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.
Although it is currently the subject of research for a wide array of potential uses, FMT is only approved in Canada and the U.S. for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection.
Doctors and scientists have warned that any other use of this emerging therapy is experimental and carries serious risk of infection, while people with autism have denounced Klop’s procedure as an unproven treatment that puts vulnerable children in danger.
Activists greet news as ‘fabulous’
News that Klop’s licence has been cancelled was greeted with cheers from advocates for autistic children.
Melissa Eaton, a North Carolina mother of an autistic child who infiltrates private Facebook groups to track potentially dangerous treatments, is responsible for bringing Klop’s business to the public’s attention.
She called the cancellation of Klop’s licence “fabulous,” but said she wished the financial penalty was higher.
“The fine that they’ve given him is nowhere near what he was making,” Eaton said.
Anne Borden, an autistic activist in Toronto who has also tracked Klop for years, described the college’s work on the Klop investigation as exemplary.
“They were very proactive, they were very interested in gathering information and taking action. It’s very admirable that they did that,” she said.
“I would like to see this action from other health regulating colleges.”
Both Eaton and Borden said they’ve been disappointed by the comparative lack of disciplinary action from colleges and medical boards in Ontario and the U.S. when they’ve filed complaints about health professionals promoting other questionable autism treatments, from “chelation” therapy to remove heavy metals from children’s bodies to rectal ozone treatments.
Klop and Novel Biome have been the subject of a number of complaints to both the college and Health Canada. That includes one from a former employee who alleged he was producing FMT capsules using his nephews’ stool in a basement apartment in Abbotsford, about 67 kilometres southeast of Vancouver.
The college began investigating Klop in August 2019, and had previously taken “extraordinary action” banning him from making and selling FMT products. Klop filed a legal challenge to that restriction — and the college’s power to investigate him — but his arguments were dismissed by two levels of B.C. courts.
Health Canada has also conducted multiple investigations into Klop’s work, and as a result he agreed not to promote his products to Canadians or allow them on his international retreats.
Earlier this year, Klop announced that Novel Biome would pivot to manufacturing FMT strictly for treating C. difficile infections. However, his Chilliwack lab is not licensed, and a Health Canada inspection in February turned up a long list of problems with sanitation and quality control.
Cahill, the company’s spokesperson, described the lab as “state-of-the-art” in her email, and said Novel Biome is not producing any FMT products while it works to get a drug establishment licence from Health Canada.
‘Everyone’s problem and no one’s responsibility’
While Eaton and Borden are both pleased with how the college handled the investigations into Klop, they’d like to see other authorities step in.
“My biggest concern is, are there going to be criminal charges?” Eaton asked.
She said she’s also filed complaints against Klop with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration over his exports of FMT products to American families, but has yet to receive a response.
Borden agreed that she’d like to see action outside of Canada, in the countries where Klop offered and marketed his FMT retreats.
“When these businesses go international, it kind of becomes everyone’s problem and no one’s responsibility,” she said.
“It requires different health regulating agencies in different countries to work with each other to really, really stop it.”