Throughout years of adversity, Dr. Rongxiang Xu made billions off his skin regeneration treatment. More importantly, he became a pioneer in his field. What follows is a tale of ingenuity and growth.
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The first time Harry J. Gaynor heard of the MEBO treatment was in 1989. A salesman named George Lau came into his office, bearing before and after pictures of the treatments’ capabilities. A skeptic at first, Gaynor quickly became an advocate.
In November of 1989, Gaynor, the head of the American-based National Burn Victim Foundation, made a trip to Beijing with his wife, Helen, and a pediatric burn surgeon. The trio went to a hospital burn unit where they came upon primitive conditions and the use of little sterilization. There, they saw eleven burn patients, brought to the hospital for the purpose of being checked by the three American doctors.
chapter 1: Gaynor’s first meeting
Upon objections to the state of the burn unit, Xu explained the lack of sterilization. His ointment, unlike traditional burn treatments, regenerated the skin.
After his return to the US, Gaynor’s advocation lead him to make a report for government officials, going as high as the president. The Burn Victim Foundation invested energy as the American government reached out in cooperation towards the Chinese Ministry of Health.
Chapter 2: An interest in burn treatment
During a clinical course in 1979, Xu, who had rejected a life in government to join med school, had his first experience with burn victims. When he discovered the gruesomeness of the only burn treatment available, he began his research. He found a practice more intent on limiting infection than regenerating the scarred tissue.
In the late 1970’s, while Xu was in his 20’s, he completed a number of animal experiments. Shortly after, he became his first human experiment, after a self-inflicted burn to his thigh. A year later, he cured a man who had open burn wounds for 10 straight months in 10 days.
The young med student locked himself in a room for the summer of 1981. He wrote an academic thesis of 250,000 words, which would become the theoretical foundation for his new technologies: Moist Exposed Burn Treatment and Moist Exposed Burn Ointment. It was the same document that would silence critics who posed questions about the student’s ability to create the technology.
Xu gained notoriety in 1983. In his first professional position, at the Jinan Third Hospital, he cured numerous cases of patients whose bodies were more than 55% burned.
Chapter 3: Doubts and a dilemma
Others still had doubts about Xu’s treatment, including the Dean of the Health Bureau. These doubts began an altercation that resulted in the death of three-year-old burn victim, whose treatment had been switched from Xu’s MEBT to a traditional infusion. Meanwhile, opponents laid the blame for the child’s death on MEBT.
Near the end of 1985, Xu made a trip to the International Conference on Burn Injuries. The reward was showing his treatment to the world, the risk was losing his current position to absenteeism.
When a $10,000 grant to be dedicated for his research went up into thin air. Prosecution earned him the threat of being kicked out of the Communist Party and later an ultimatum. In a meeting with the Health Bureau on August 30, 1986, he was forced to make the choice between his research and his job.
He chose the former.
Chapter 4: Technology Vagabond
What followed was a pilgrimage that left the scorned doctor in the city of Shenzhen, nearly penniless. When a mentor convinced him of his the need to get his product to the market, he returned to the Ministry of Health, Science and Technology to plead the case for his treatment.
Still unable to raise money, Xu obtained the good will of Huang Xiufeng, a director at the Ministry of Science and Technology. For two months, Xiufeng championed the MEBT cause through the Ministry in an effort to get the necessary funding for the treatment.
December 20, 1988 was the day Xu earned the ability to research, and on July 26 of 1989, the Burn Treatment Technology Center of China was established. A month later, his treatments were being widely promoted by the Ministry of Science and Technology to hospitals throughout China.
Chapter 5: Early Successes
After a slow start to the newly established Guangming Hospital Burn Treatment Research Center began in the late 1980’s, the enrollment picked up.
The technology and ointment developed by Dr. Xu was established in 1988 as a major scientific and technological achievement. Before long, the Chinese Ministry of Health ranked it as one of the top ten medical technologies to spread across China, which meant it would be promoted even in the country’s rural areas.
By 1992, it had entered the top five of China’s most cost-effective enterprises (based on revenue).
Xu’s acclaim spread outside the borders of China in October of 1990 when accident involving a tank truck left 200 injured, 81 dead, and 60 with severe burns. The governments of Thailand and China quickly resolved to let Xu travel to Thailand to treat the victims.
But Xu was undermined. Even as he arrived in China, a call from one of China’s leading Medical and Health officials created doubt in the Thai authorities. It wasn’t until October 9, after being forced to undergo licensing discussion to practice medicine in Thailand, that Xu was allowed to use his treatment.
When he treated three significantly burned patients, he received widespread fanfare.
His success continued when he was asked to fly to the United Arab Emirates by the Crown Prince. Xu had been asked to cure a young girl close to the royal family. Unable to travel, the doctor encouraged the Crown Prince to bring the girl to China. By July 1991, they had reached him. From that success, came his first valuable partnership.
Mebo would be distributed locally in UAE.
Soon after, the Syrian Minister of Defense requested the doctor. Again, Xu used his treatment to change the fortunes of burn victims, many of whom had been severely injured during fighting. He helped to save 16 in all.
Chapter 6: Collusion and Libel
After his trip to China, the two sides put together an agreement in which Syria would buy $10 million worth of MEBT and MEBO. Nevertheless, the Syrian Ministry of Health was informed only days later that the shipment wouldn’t arrive.
The reason was the Chinese Ministry of Health had failed to recognize the treatment. As such, they postponed the deal with Syria, all but stunting Xu’s ability to spread. The trail went back to George Lau, the man who had delivered the letter to Syria, and who in 1993 would visit with Gaynor, bearing evidence of MEBO’s abilities.
Despite attempts by the Syrian Ministry of Health, the deal failed. Xu lost credibility at home and abroad.
The man behind it, Lau’s accomplice, was Ying Bo. Bo, a former secretary of Xu, had made prior attempts to steal the technology, but had been unsuccessful.
In working together, Bo and Lau colluded to strip Xu of his political protection at home and to strip his accreditation for MEBO abroad, including through the American Burn Association and National Burn Victim Foundation.
Bo wrote letters claiming that Xu had illegally obtained the technology, sending them to legal magazines and political officials alike. As a result, the doctor saw a litany of contracts fell apart.
But the biggest blow dealt by Bo came in June of 1992. Bo submitted a report on behalf of the Ministry of Health called “Report on Matters of Opinion Regarding Moist Exposed Burn Ointment.” The report defamed Xu in an attempt to separate him from his technology.
Chapter 7: Xu vs. Bo
Later that month, Xu proceeded with a criminal prosecution of Bo in the People’s Court.
Bo’s own report was used against him. He was unable to deny that it was his signature on it. Furthermore, the illegality of his possession of a government document was brought into light.
Despite various counterclaims, Bo’s case was unsuccessful. He was sentenced two years in prison.
Chapter 8: Meeting of the Seven Ministries
In a rare meeting of China’s seven ministries, experts were brought in to debate the legitimacy of Xu’s accomplishments: MEBO and MEBT. Over four meetings, Xu was exalted. The conclusion they reached was that the treatments were legitimate and useful. More importantly, they belonged to the man who claimed them.
The Beijing Intermediate Court upheld the ruling of the Supreme Court. MEBO and MEBT had produced significant results for China, and would be allowed to continue doing so.
Chapter 9: Yang Guozhou’s Offer
After his prosecution and the resulting decision, Xu came in contact with a businessman from Taipei. His name was Yang Guozhou.
The pharmaceutical tycoon and doctor met on the third floor of a Chinese Hotel to make what would be the deal of Xu’s career.
Over dinner, Yang proposed a joint venture. While Xu would supply his technology, Yang would supply the funding to make it a reality.
By the end of their first meeting, Xu had received $200 million in funding.
Chapter 10: Awarded by the National Burn Victim Foundation
In May 1993, the State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs held an award Ceremony in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People
Among the people in the audience was the Gaynor, the President of the National Burn Victim Foundation. Four years after Gaynor’s first visit to China, the National Burn Victim Foundation gave only its sixth award in its 19-year history, and the first to a foreigner.
Gaynor gave high praise to the recipient of the award, the creator of the Mebo Exposed Burn Therapy and Moist Exposed Burn Treatment.
The man who received the award was Dr. Rongxiang Xu.
Twenty-eight countries have implemented the technology and over 70 million burn victims have been helped. In December of 2012, Xu filed the first ever lawsuit against the Nobel Assembly. Read here.