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TAHOMA CLINIC, RECOVERING FROM FDA RAID, PLANS REOPENING

 TAHOMA CLINIC, RECOVERING FROM FDA RAID, PLANS REOPENING
 KENT, Wash., May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Tahoma Clinic:
 All efforts will be pursued to reopen Tahoma Clinic immediately, said Jonathan V. Wright, M.D., founder and chief physician at the facility, which closed temporarily on Wednesday when it was raided by officers from federal and county agencies.
 Calling the action the "B-vitamin bust," Wright said he has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of public support. Since officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), accompanied by King County Police, descended on Tahoma Clinic, the facility has been deluged with hundreds of calls from supporters, and Citizens for Health, a Tacoma-based nonprofit group, has established a legal defense fund in Wright's name.
 An estimated two dozen agents took part in the raid, which began at approximately 8:45 a.m. when officers -- some clad in flak jackets with weapons drawn -- broke the lock to the clinic and confronted employees just before the health-care center was scheduled to open. During the next 14 hours, agents, operating under the authority of a search warrant issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge John L. Weinberg, confiscated a truckload of items. Wright said the hard drive from the clinic's central computer system and B-vitamin complex from Germany, which is manufactured without preservatives or additives, were taken. Among other items that were seized, he listed:
 -- injectable, preservative-free vitamins, minerals and glandular extracts;
 -- non-invasive allergy and sensitivity testing equipment;
 -- instruction and training manuals;
 -- patient records.
 Wright, his attorney, staff and landlord were all denied access while the agents conducted the search and seizure.
 Wright, who was detained briefly but has not been charged with a crime, is puzzled about the action. He speculates it may be tied to a lawsuit he has pending with the FDA. He filed the complaint in August 1991 following the FDA's seizure of his dispensary stock of L-Tryptophan, an uncontaminated nutrient. The physician said the naturally derived amino acid has been in use for more than 30 years as an effective treatment for depression, insomnia and other health problems.
 "We must wonder about the timing of the FDA action," Wright said. Items seized have been used for the past six years, yet no questions were raised about the propriety of their use until shortly before hearings on the Tryptophan lawsuit are expected to commence.
 Although he vows to reopen his clinic as soon as possible, Wright acknowledged the clinic may be impaired somewhat in providing certain services until his property is returned. The first priority, he emphasized, "is the health and safety of the patients.
 "We do not wish to break the law," Wright said. "Obviously, there is a difference of opinion among attorneys about what the law says." He also noted that every item used in his clinic is cleared by legal counsel before it is employed. And, he insists, "all items seized in this raid are safer than the generally available alternatives."
 Wright, a longtime advocate of natural, conservative principles and treatments, is the author of two books on nutritional therapeutics and writes regular columns for Prevention and Let's Live magazines. He completed pre-med studies at Harvard University, received a medical degree from the University of Michigan and has been licensed in Washington state since 1970. The physician said there has never been any formal disciplinary action against him -- and the only complaints he is aware of have been from allopathic doctors.
 -0- 5/8/92
 /CONTACT: Jonathan Wright of Tahoma Clinic, 206-631-8920; or Cheri Brennan of Alliance Communications, 206-869-5839, for Tahoma Clinic; or Alexander Schauss of Citizens for Health, 206-922-2457/ CO: Tahoma Clinic; U.S. Food and Drug Administration ST: Washington IN: HEA SU:


SC-LM -- SE007 -- 8347 05/08/92 20:35 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 8, 1992
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