Dr David Tuller: A Follow-Up to the Follow-Up Letter to Mahana


Senior Member

Trial By Error: A Follow-Up to the Follow-Up Letter to Mahana

18 APRIL 2020

By David Tuller, DrPH

On the Mahana Therapeutics website, Robert Paull, the CEO and co-founder, explains in a statement that his personal interest in developing treatments for GI problems arose out of the longtime suffering of a family member. His account is heartfelt and compelling.

Unfortunately, Mr Paull and his company have placed their bets on the wrong horse. I am hard-pressed to understand this deal with King’s College London except as a failure of due diligence. Mahana now has the rights to a product that cannot honestly be marketed as a proven effective treatment for reducing symptom severity in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.

Mr Paull likely has no idea why I have latched onto this issue and have no plans to let go. I thought it might be helpful to explain the context to him. So this morning I sent the following letter.
Dear Mr Paull–

First, I wanted to let you know that I sympathize with your desire to bring some relief to patients suffering from gastrointestinal problems, as expressed in your heartfelt personal statement on the Mahana Therapeutics’ website. Your family’s story is moving, and I don’t doubt your sincerity.

To be clear, I have no beef against psychotherapeutic interventions for people with serious ailments as a way of helping them adapt to their circumstances and address emotional challenges. But I object to claims that are not justified by the evidence–as is clearly the case with this web-based cognitive behavior therapy program for irritable bowel syndrome.
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