October 2011: Texas Suing Fort Worth “Naturopathic Doctor”

By Gene McGill, Director of State Government Relations

The Texas Attorney General filed suit against a Ft. Worth, Texas, resident, Valarie Saxion, and her company Valarie Saxion, Inc., accusing her of unlawfully marketing and promoting dietary supplements that she claimed would reduce, prevent or cure illnesses including breast cancer, diabetes, arthritis and depression. 
As it turns out, Saxion is not a naturopathic doctor. She purchased her degree from the now closed Clayton College of Natural Health. Texas regulates college degrees from all over the world. Clayton has never met the accreditation standards of Texas, so the suit also states it is “false, misleading or deceptive” for Saxion to refer to herself as a doctor.
The AANP recently sent a letter the Texas Attorney General in support of this suit. Title, education, and ‘diagnose and treat’ to the fullest level of education is paramount in legislation that is introduced for licensure. Naturopathic doctors complete a four-year, in-house, post-baccalaureate, graduate degree program to sit for and pass NPLEX to earn the title of “naturopathic doctor” (ND). The ND degrees offered through CNME-recognized schools are extremely challenging and worthy accomplishments. You don’t just get to purchase them online.
The concerns of the Texas Attorney General with respect to fraudulent practitioners could be greatly reduced if he would work with the Texas legislature and TXANP to license naturopathic doctors. Proper licensure of naturopathic doctors is a win for the state and the citizens of Texas. AANP stands willing and able to work with the Attorney General and the TXANP to move the licensure effort forward.
The AANP is also in the early stages of communication with the National Association of Attorneys General, consumer protection division, to highlight the educational standards of our naturopathic physicians and develop strategies to protect consumers throughout the country from fraudulent practitioners.