Health Cheque (Bad Science June 30 2005)

June 30th, 2005 by Ben Goldacre in africa, alternative medicine, bad science, matthias rath, nutritionists | 3 Comments »

Health cheque

Ben Goldacre
Thursday June 30, 2005
The Guardian

· And so to Africa, where there are “complementary and alternative medicine” practitioners pursuing the fashionable attack on mainstream medicine, just like in the UK. Take Matthias Rath and the Rath Foundation vitamin empire: they’ve been running advertising campaigns in newspapers and poster campaigns near HIV/Aids treatment centres, telling people that anti-retroviral drugs undermine the body’s immune system, and that “micro-nutrients alone can promote the defence against Aids”.

· Just like many Cam practitioners in the UK, the Rath Foundation makes paranoid accusations against anyone who disagrees with it, accusing them of being in the pocket of the multinational pharmaceutical companies with advert headlines such as “Stop Aids genocide by the drug cartel”. The irony of simultaneously selling pills for $30 for a month’s supply (big money in South Africa) and being an international multi-million dollar business itself is strangely lost. And just like our UK Cam practitioners, it likes to adopt a mainstream scientific stance and push multivitamins for “treating” illnesses. Harvard researchers have accused Rath of misinterpreting their findings to argue against increased use of antiretroviral therapy, numerous countries’ advertising standards people have ordered Rath to withdraw unsubstantiated claims, and UNAids, WHO and Unicef have condemned his misrepresentations of their nutrition and health advice.

· And just like our UK Cam practitioners, they have friends in high places. The Medicines Control Council and the Health Professionals Council of South Africa have failed to act on complaints, just as our authorities have failed to act on bogus nutritionists and their ilk. Why? To parallel our Blair-Windsor axis of irrationality, Rath has President Mbeki, longtime naysayer of the link between HIV and Aids, and his health minister Dr Tshabalala-Msimang. “Raw garlic and a skin of the lemon – not only do they give you a beautiful face and skin but they also protect you from disease,” she said. She also said she would refuse to be “pressured” into increasing the anti-retroviral rollout to meet the target of 3 million patients by this year, claimed that people have ignored the importance of nutrition and stated that she will continue to warn patients of the side effects of anti-retrovirals, saying: “We have been vindicated in this regard. We are what we eat.” South Africa has 5 million people infected with HIV, one person in nine. Fewer than 40,000 are taking proper medication. The stakes are higher, but the game is the same.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
If you like what I do, and you want me to do more, you can: buy my books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, give them to your friends, put them on your reading list, employ me to do a talk, or tweet this article to your friends. Thanks! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

3 Responses



  1. Psychedelia Smith said,

    January 22, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Bloody hell, is this what he tried to sue over? Any lawyer with half a brain should have known that they wouldn’t have stood a chance in court…

  2. wayscj said,

    November 21, 2009 at 7:28 am

    ed hardy ed hardy
    ed hardy clothing ed hardy clothing
    ed hardy shop ed hardy shop
    christian audigier christian audigier
    ed hardy cheap ed hardy cheap
    ed hardy outlet ed hardy outlet
    ed hardy sale ed hardy sale
    ed hardy store ed hardy store
    ed hardy mens ed hardy mens
    ed hardy womens ed hardy womens
    ed hardy kids ed hardy kids ed hardy kids

  3. iphone revolution said,

    December 30, 2009 at 8:35 am

    iphone wireless

    iphone

    Apple iphone

You must be logged in to post a comment.