Matthias Rath drops his million pound legal case against me and the Guardian.

September 12th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in africa, matthias rath | 119 Comments »

It’s just been publicly announced that the vitamin pill magnate Matthias Rath has pulled out of his gruelling legal case against me and the Guardian. He bought full page adverts denouncing Aids drugs while promoting his vitamin pills in South Africa, a country where hundreds of thousands die every year from Aids under an HIV denialist president and the population is ripe for miracle cures. I said his actions were highly worrying, in no uncertain terms. I believe I was right to do so.

This libel case has drawn on for over a year, with the writ hanging both in my toilet, and over my head. Although fighting it has been fascinating, and in many respects a great pleasure, it has also taken a phenomenal amount of my time, entirely unpaid, to deal with it. For the duration of the case I have also been silenced on the serious issues that Rath’s activities raise, the chapter on his work was pulled from my book, and I have been unable to comment on his further movements around the world.

This will now change, and I hope that other newspapers will have the sense to step outside of commercial allegiances and write about his activities, despite this single incident being one newspaper’s tussle. I genuinely believe that the madness of the South African government’s approach to Aids is one of the most important stories of our time.

Usefully, it seems that Rath will now be responsible for the Guardian’s legal costs. Interim costs were awarded this afternoon at just shy of a quarter of a million, and we are seeking the full half a million pounds the paper has spent. For my part, I will probably now write a swift book on Rath and South Africa, as a way to make all the fascinating extra information I’ve had to dredge through useful to others, and to try and recoup something so that my time was not wasted. It will be meticulously well referenced and carefully written.

I trust that this episode will act as a very strong cautionary note to the more vicious UK figures from the very corporate $50bn food supplement industry some of whom have used bullying, smears, and legal threats in their desperate bid to prevent people from examining their ideas: this goes to the very top of the industry, you should know by now that it will not work, and unless you change tack rapidly, some of you will have some very interesting surprises to come. Play nicely now, they’re only ideas.

I should also mention that I am extremely pleased and – cheesily – proud that the Guardian fought this case. It’s exactly the kind of thing I’d have expected from them, it’s the paper my grandparents bought, blah blah blah, and to me today everything they stand for is still very good indeed. I don’t think many other papers would tolerate a column as childish and wilfully geeky as mine, and for all the hassle, in a funny twist of reputation judo, the various corporate complaints about my work over the past few years have done me a world of good. I was just some nerd who emailed in a column once a week, but once I was being chased by millionaires it was lagers with the bosses. The editor txted me the other day. To me that is some slightly weird shit.

So, more to follow no doubt, but here is my comment piece for tomorrow’s paper, and below that, links to the triumphant Guardian coverage. I recommend buying the paper on Saturday just so that you can stroke it and reward their valour. It’s good on Saturdays anyway, and the leader is particularly excellent. Newspapers can be very good things, and today the Guardian is a very good one indeed.

With their money, myopia and abuses, these pill makers match big pharma

The food supplement industry likes to style itself as people’s medicine, but the way it stifles debate is far from democratic

Ben Goldacre,
Friday September 12 2008 19:00 BST
Matthias Rath today pulled out of a legal case against the Guardian which has cost the organisation £500,000 to defend. I am proud that we fought it. Rath is an example of the worst excesses of the alternative therapy industry; UK nutritionists make foolish claims on poor evidence – they can make your child a genius with fish oils, or prevent heart attacks in the distant future – but Rath transplanted these practices into the world of HIV/Aids, where evidence really matters.

The potential consequences of his actions are outrageous, but he is by no means untypical. This sector has engineered a beneficent public image for itself, a warm and friendly cottage industry; but that fantasy is not borne out by the facts.

First, despite claims about the true evils of “big pharma”, presented as if they were evidence that vitamin pills are effective, there is little difference between the vitamin and pharmaceutical industries. Key players in both include multinationals such as Roche and Aventis; BioCare, the vitamin pill producer that media nutritionist Patrick Holford works for, is part-owned by Elder Pharmaceuticals, and so on.

The food supplement market, comprising products like vitamin pills and herbal supplements, is worth $50bn worldwide (against $600bn for pharmaceuticals). It has lobbied angrily and successfully against safety regulation, and the vitamin industry is also legendary in the world of economics as the setting of the most outrageous price-fixing cartel ever documented: during the 1990s the main offenders pleaded guilty and had to pay $1.5bn, the largest criminal fine levied in legal history.

That’s quite some cottage industry, and it is tightly linked to the “nutritional therapists” community. Bant, their UK membership organisation, recently changed its code of conduct in accordance with the wishes of pill manufacturers, so that members can now take undisclosed financial kickbacks for the pills they prescribe to patients. Doctors are struck off the GMC register for this activity, and rightly so.

Last year I went to a public meeting hosted by Matthias Rath in east London. He spoke for three gruelling hours, and every time he mentioned the side-effects of a treatment prescribed by doctors, the people in the seats behind me growled the word “murderers” in a venomous tone. Their hatred was intense, and it was unnerving to sit near them.

How do people become so extreme in their views? How have they been isolated from the realities of the miracle cure industries? A combination of wishful thinking, successful PR, and legal muscle.

When I attempted simply to write that the Dore miracle cure for dyslexia had not cured three people, we received several legal warning letters, delaying the piece by a month. An academic who dared to criticise the evidence base for the programme received a threatening legal letter delivered by hand to her home address.

Gillian McKeith has made repeated legal threats against websites who have dared to discuss her work, and her lawyer husband has threatened an academic who suggested testing her ideas. She also has a legal case hanging over the Sun that has seen little movement in three years.

When chiropractors had their practices challenged in the New Zealand Medical Journal they simply sent a threatening legal letter (“Let’s hear your evidence,” said the editorial in response, “not your legal muscle”). A herbal pill entrepreneur – and academic – had Professor David Colquhoun’s website removed from UCL servers after he dared to question her evidence. The Society of Homeopaths had a blogger silenced by threatening his web host.

I could go on. And of course, deterring dissent goes wider than the use of libel law. There is also the bizarre smear operation against critics of the food supplement industry, and an elaborate campaign conducted by homeopaths against Professor Edzard Ernst, an academic who has simply dared to examine the evidence for their claims, which ended up with his employers at Exeter University being harassed to silence him.

Meanwhile the alternative therapists who run university BSc courses refuse to release their lecture notes, or let anyone see their exam papers, in a desperate attempt not to engage with critical appraisal from the worlds of scientific evidence of which they purport to be a part.

This is not just unpleasant, it is also unhealthy. Ideas improve when they are challenged and questioned. I am a doctor, journalist and academic. I criticise the activities of doctors, journalists and academics in each of my jobs, and I welcome other people criticising my ideas.

Nothing could be more anti-democratic or stifling to debate than using money, law and power to regulate what can be discussed, and yet those who do it have the gall to represent themselves as the outsider, the little man, concerned with the medicine of the people. In reality they behave like nothing more than commercial entities.

The food supplement pill industry is phenomenally powerful, extremely lucrative and incredibly influential, but it has shown itself to be philosophically and commercially incapable of critical self-appraisal. Rath is its product. It is inconceivable that any individual within that industry would be brave enough to stand up and criticise his activities – and for that, more than anything else, it should be condemned.

Ben Goldacre, a medical doctor and author of the book Bad Science, writes the Bad Science column in the Guardian

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! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

119 Responses

  1. amonck said,

    September 12, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Dear Ben


    Adrian Monck

  2. Ben Goldacre said,

    September 12, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    w00t! FTW!

  3. evil_underlord said,

    September 12, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Well done Ben and the Guardian. That’s so amazing that I want to hug you.

    Well done!

  4. ctc5 said,

    September 12, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Congratulations Ben, I shall head out tomorrow to get myself a copy. I don’t suppose it has anything by Charlie Brooker in it too? 😀

    “[Gillian McKeith] also has a legal case hanging over the Sun that has seen little movement in three years.”
    Wow, the Sun holding the moral high ground…

  5. Ben Goldacre said,

    September 12, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    lordy if i didn’t have to get my MRC and Wellcome grant applications in it would be beeeeerrrrssss.

    w00t and w00t. w00t.

  6. brainduck said,

    September 12, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Congratulations and well done!

  7. Getonyerbike said,

    September 12, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Absolutely fantastic.
    I’d be honoured to buy you a celebratory pint of Oscar Milde before you drown yourself in champagne.

  8. mjs said,

    September 12, 2008 at 9:22 pm


    truth wins!

  9. j said,

    September 12, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Excellent – congratulations, and it’s great to hear that the Guardian stood by you.

    So, where’s the blog carnival?

  10. Aspiring Pedant said,

    September 12, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    Ben – I note that you recommend buying the paper just as the price is increased. That can’t be just coincidence.

    ctc5 – Charlie Brooker usually does the screen burn column just before the Televison listings in the guide.

  11. amalthea said,

    September 12, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Nice one.
    I would say something like ‘keep up the good work’ but I think, possibly, you have no intention of stopping.

    Well done to the Guardian too, I expected nothing less.

    So, beers on you Ben?


  12. Getonyerbike said,

    September 12, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Good sense and honesty fights power and nonsense and wins?

    Perhaps there is a God after all!

  13. David Colquhoun said,

    September 12, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    Absolutely bloody marvellous. Congratulations to you and to Rusbridger for fighting and winning. These people must learn that scientific arguments should not be resolved by bullying lawsuits. But of course they aren’t interested in scientific arguments, just making money.

  14. woodchopper said,

    September 12, 2008 at 9:54 pm


    And the article above is excellent as well.

  15. Mungus said,

    September 12, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Hurrah! Congratulations all, let this be the start of something big.

  16. le canard noir said,

    September 12, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Moaning about bad science is not just about feeling agrieved about the dominance of nonsense in society. This is an example of where clearly stating the facts can save lives.

    The University of Cape Town estimated that 340,000 deaths could have been saved if the South African government had not delayed the roll out of ARVs. Rath should have this on his conscience – if he has one. The fact that he prefers to sue suggests not.

  17. JQH said,

    September 12, 2008 at 10:23 pm


    I trust you waved your willie at Rath and shouted “Who’s the Daddy!”

  18. Jo said,

    September 12, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Yay Ben and Guardian!! :)

  19. peterd102 said,

    September 12, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    It almost makes it worth buying the Guardian… Almost.

    ‘All Your Base Belong To Us’ Rath!

    i love the way le canard noir and David C are being really formal with a somber note and Ben just says ‘w00t’

  20. used to be jdc said,

    September 12, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Blogged it [briefly] here: Good News

  21. Dr Aust said,

    September 12, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    And a potted description of the case and result has already appeared on Rath’s Wikipedia entry.

  22. j said,

    September 12, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    I do like the fact that Rath’s latest proud moment is already recorded in wikipedia –

  23. doctormonkey said,

    September 12, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    woot woot indeed Ben

    is it correct to say you pwned him?

    it does restore my faith a bit in the Grauniad too :-)

    and there is ALWAYS time for beer, regardless of the MRC and Wellcome

  24. Johnnie said,

    September 13, 2008 at 12:10 am

    Woo! Yay!

  25. Dead Badger said,

    September 13, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Not a bad couple of weeks, what with the book launch ‘n all, eh? Top stuff.

  26. le canard noir said,

    September 13, 2008 at 12:38 am

    Added my own thoughts…

  27. stever said,

    September 13, 2008 at 12:52 am

    excellent news. well done the Guardian.

    Be good to see this go as wide as possible so that some good can come out of all the grief hes caused.

  28. pv said,

    September 13, 2008 at 12:57 am

    Very well done Ben and The Grauniad for putting a small nail in a giant coffin. It might have been time unpaid but it wasn’t time wasted.

  29. sophiedb said,

    September 13, 2008 at 1:08 am

    Nicely done :)

    I’ll probably sound like a kook here, but the most frustrating food supplement industry has to be that for baby milk. They barrel their way through advertising regulation loop holes with the ease and grace of a 5-tonne elephant, but the government doesn’t seem to notice.

    I know formula doesn’t kill indiscriminately, but even the NHS is full of stats declaring how much money they could save treating babies with GE, kids with asthma, etc if only bf rates increased (or proper bottle hygiene was followed!). Then there’s the increase in breast cancer, which mums get a perfectly good chance to protect themselves from.

    But it can’t be down to a silly/disgusting/inconvenient thing like breastfeeding now, can it? Nooooo.. Don’t mind me, nothing to see here.. :)

  30. angmoh said,

    September 13, 2008 at 1:39 am

    So farewell then, Dr Matthias Rath,
    You said you could cure shit,
    With stuff that wasn’t cures.
    A bit like my friend Keith’s juvenile claim,
    That he could fly.

    e j thribb (17 1/2).

  31. AlanC said,

    September 13, 2008 at 1:52 am

    Congrats Ben on the fantastic news. It’s a wonderful vindication for honest journalism, good science and basic common sense.
    Now, the next question is who will play you in the movie… I can picture another Erin Brockovich.

    By the way, I see the victory has put your price up – your book is now available from Multumbooks (through the link to Amazon on your site) for £1,219.99.
    Shameless profiteering I say…:)

  32. Tom P said,

    September 13, 2008 at 1:58 am

    Brilliant, absolutely brilliant, and great to see the Grauniad gloating over a supremely justified court victory in a way I haven’t seen since the glory days of Hamilton, Aitken and the like. Many congratulations, and you’re forgiven for not answering your b3ta questions…

    Great piece as well, giving the context that this isn’t just one rogue arsehole, it’s an entire big business system co-opting the language of hippies to push its non-products on the unfortunate.

    Please institute some kind of system where you will regularly be in a predictable pub, and we can just come along and buy you beers at reasonable, frequent intervals. Because bloody hell, you deserve it.

  33. Tom P said,

    September 13, 2008 at 3:34 am

    …and a bit more blog congratulations (blogratullations?), with musical accompaniment,

  34. Asriel said,

    September 13, 2008 at 3:38 am

    Well done. I’ll be buying the book for all my friends. Keep up the good work.

  35. nickyb said,

    September 13, 2008 at 6:20 am

    Fucking awesome Ben! Congratulations.

    Anybody wanna send a copy of today’s paper to me in China? I can read it online but it’s not quite the same. A copy of the book would go down nicely too …though I have demanded it for my birthday next month…

    I’ll have the beers on your behalf tonight Ben!

  36. Ambrielle said,

    September 13, 2008 at 6:53 am

    Well done Ben. What are you going to do with all your ‘free’ time now? Congratulations to you and the Guardian. The litany of illegal actions, harrassment, bullying, deception, amorality, secretiveness, and suppression of ideas by the supplements/CAM industry detailed above make for some slightly depressing reading, but it’s good to hear of a victory.

  37. Charlietoo said,

    September 13, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Very well done!
    Here in South Africa there is a LOT of bogus medicine men, Sangomas and witch doctors misleading the poor and uneducated and we need more people like you.
    I see they sell a thing called Aqua Bimini Anti-Ageing Water here now.It supposedly make you live longer by healing your DNA.Worth investigating by a scientist I think.

  38. muscleman said,

    September 13, 2008 at 8:22 am

    I am in awe Ben, you have moved the world via the lever of a column in a paper prepared to ground their end of it. I shall indeed shell out for a copy this morning.

    The truth will out when comment is truly free.

  39. stever said,

    September 13, 2008 at 8:37 am

    excellent leader aswell. proud to be a guardian reader today.

  40. Toenex said,

    September 13, 2008 at 8:37 am

    In the words of Armstrong and Miller, ‘Standard, and shit’!

    Good work fella.

  41. conejo said,

    September 13, 2008 at 8:45 am

    An amazing landmark – wonderful. Maximum kudos to you and the paper.

  42. romdjoll said,

    September 13, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Congrats on yet another victory – this one being particularly massive!
    Reading both this piece and the editorial have made my morning.
    Any chance of the publishers restoring the Rath chapter somewhere down the line, or making it available as an online extra? Save you having to write an entire book on the sod and it’d get the info out there quickly.
    Again, congratulations and keep on fighting the good fight.

  43. Mojo said,

    September 13, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Great news!

  44. Vaughan said,

    September 13, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Congratulations Ben. A thoroughly deserved victory for an important cause.

  45. ayupmeduck said,

    September 13, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Result! Great work.

    (But I suspect that The Guardian would not be able to do this without the $2 billion Scott Trust behind it. Others are not so fortunate).

  46. Acleron said,

    September 13, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Excellent work and a great result. Pity you can’t bill Rath for the time you spent defending yourself.

    Best of luck with the book, article and grants.

  47. fontwell said,

    September 13, 2008 at 10:34 am

    I bibble in awe at your seemingly boudless energy. Props 2 U.

  48. ludo said,

    September 13, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Well done Ben,

    “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.”

    You should be proud of yourself.

  49. Norbury said,

    September 13, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Great result, congratulations! Journalism needs more stories like this.

  50. MrChris said,

    September 13, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Inspirational work Ben. Keep flying the flag.

    Massive Respect.

  51. MichaelF said,

    September 13, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Well done Ben and well done again. This is what journalism is really all about. Thank God there is a paper prepared to publish important stuff like this. Finish those grant applications and let the corks fly!

  52. luckypeachtree said,

    September 13, 2008 at 11:46 am

    So nice to read this today. Can’t buy beers from China but did buy 3 copies of the book! Hopefully get it soon via a mule heading out this way!

    I just hope some PR firm (one with no interest in ever having a pharma/nutrient client) offers to publicise this win in big Rath/vitamin markets worldwide, for free. Or other great papers syndicate all the dirty detail in recognition of how dangerous his actions were.

    Get drunk for a week and get publicising the week after!


  53. sarah_dal said,

    September 13, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Congratulations Ben, this is bloody brilliant. You are an inspiration!

  54. Dean Morrison said,

    September 13, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Well done Ben! – I’m off to buy a hard copy of the Guardian right now……..

  55. gazza said,

    September 13, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Well done – that was very brave of you. It’s one thing to know that the facts support your position, it’s another to have to justify them in court, not least having to worry about the crazy sums of money spent on legal fees that may come back to hit you if things break against you. After all there is a risk in court – we’ve all seen that the truth and a court verdict are not always the same thing.

    And good to see that The Guardian supported one of its columnists in this manner too. I’ll make sure I up my weekly read from now on (and not just Saturday for your column).

    I’m sure some jerk complained on this site the other day about any money you may make out of your recent book – given the pressure you’ve been under and the time you’ve had to take on this issue you deserve at least something back from your campaigning in this field. So I’m making sure that my default Xmas present this year to whoever is on my list is your book…..

  56. gimpyblog said,

    September 13, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    This is quite wondrously brilliant Ben. Kudos to you and to The Guardian for fighting. I’ve added my thoughts on my blog.

  57. Nick Grant said,

    September 13, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Great work

    I look forward to the day you are out of a job but I doubt it will be any time soon!

  58. stever said,

    September 13, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    anyone feel like updating his wiki page with latest developments and some pertinent links?

  59. PabloK said,

    September 13, 2008 at 1:21 pm


    And many thanks for all the columns and the stubborn digging. When you are old and grey you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that, as well as achieving everything else, you played a fairly major role in convincing a humanities-soaked twenty-something to start taking stats and evidence and method very seriously.

    So cheers.

  60. cebolla said,

    September 13, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Great job.
    Er, pwned? Or something…

  61. gadgeezer said,

    September 13, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Congratulations – if there is a celebration then there must be a few rounds of Nanny Ogg’s hedgehog song.

    Confusion to the thwacklaws who attempt to abuse legal strategies to silence legitimate disagreement and comment.

  62. Daibhid C said,

    September 13, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Well done, Ben!

    Gadgegeezer, surely “A nutritionist’s staff has a knob on the end”? (He’s the one holding it).

  63. DrDCB said,

    September 13, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    wOOt indeed…

    Given this verdict and the evidence presented against Rath:

    Shouldn’t he be tried for manslaughter or something?

    He is clearly an accessory factor in the deaths of people he had convinced not to take their meds.

    String him up!

  64. gadgeezer said,

    September 13, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Nanny Ogg’s songs are pertinent to wide variety of situations or all pertinent to the same occasion. Both songs must be sung at a Valhalla-scale celebration in which key figures are sitting in tin baths.

  65. Jamie Horder said,

    September 13, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Well done, I was so pleased they put you on the front page today. Great stuff. Clearly your lawyers have been taking their fish oil pills…

  66. Diotima said,

    September 13, 2008 at 3:58 pm


  67. stever said,

    September 13, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Rath wiki page updated. the internet – its like magic.

  68. Lemonade Lily said,

    September 13, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Not yet recovered from your uber-eyebrows. And now this! Bloody brilliant.

    Devoured the article over breakfast and chortled with utter pleasure. Yo to you!

    Only fly in the fish oil is I am still waiting for your book to arrive…..

  69. ar42 said,

    September 13, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    It’s really good to see the Grauniad giving front page coverage to Bad Science as an issue. Look forward to seeing many more such articles. Most newspapers wouldn’t have bothered at all. I hope this article saves lives.

  70. rsynnott said,

    September 13, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    A setback in the War on Science. Excellent.

    Seriously, though, I’m even more impressed with the Guardian than before, and even more convinced that UK and Irish libel law is outdated and too hard on the defendant.

  71. nickyb said,

    September 13, 2008 at 6:08 pm



    Ben…you are just fucking A and I have had many beers to congratulate you this evening! Good night!

  72. coracle said,

    September 13, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Great news Ben. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t know you were being sued. It’s great to hear that Rath has dropped it though.

  73. Sili said,

    September 13, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Good luck with that grant applications.

    I hope this will be the clarion call to a new age of science reporting in the papers – or at least the Guardian.

    My heartiest contrafibulations – and thank you. Thank you so very much.

  74. CDavis said,

    September 13, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Jeezers, the witness statements make heartbreaking reading. As if those poor buggers at Kyalitsha don’t have problems enough.

    Losing the case is simply not enough – that bastard deserves to be up on charges of mass murder.


  75. James G said,

    September 13, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Fantastic, best story I’ve had through my RSS reader. Caught the front of the Guardian in town today and gave a bit of a cheer to the headline, but didn’t quite put two and two together.

    A huge thank you for helping take on these charlatans, its just such a shame that most journalists seem to swallow it all hook, line, sinker, rod and fisherman.

  76. Rachel said,

    September 13, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Excellent! Have you thought about altering the description of yourself to ‘doctor, journalist, academic and destroyer of evil’? Or just wearing a cape?

  77. fraserjopp said,

    September 13, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Well done to all concerned. I thought that your UK readers might like to know that if they want to support Zackie Achmat’s work, they can donate to FoTAC (Friends of Treatment Action Campaign) here:

    (Don’t forget the Gift Aid)

    Keep up the good work

  78. allshallbewell said,

    September 13, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    Hang on. You’re a doctor and journalist, obviously. Add to that ‘Author’.

    Since when were you an academic?

  79. julie oakley said,

    September 14, 2008 at 12:25 am

    If I didn’t have 4 children already I’d want to have your babies

  80. Tim said,

    September 14, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Firstly, brilliant result. Well done that man!

    Secondly, I love that the google-ads on the Guardian story are still true to form – ads for vitamin supplements and how to treat HIV with “Silver Therapy” ( ). And I quote – “IT IS NOT A MAGICAL CURE AT ALL- IT IS INFORMATIVE WEBSITE” (methinks the website doth protest too much).

  81. ScottishNaturalist said,

    September 14, 2008 at 4:46 am

    Congratulations Ben.

    Rath is a douche.

  82. mockingbird said,

    September 14, 2008 at 4:58 am

    Congratulations Ben. I’m genuinely thrilled for you, and I’m a total stranger so you see, you are making an impact. Well, obviously.

  83. peterd102 said,

    September 14, 2008 at 5:25 am

    “Rath is a douche.”
    I think You might mean C**t

    A Degree, a newspaper column and having at least 1 book qualifies you as an academic i think. Hang on that would mean that Jeremy Clarkson is also a academic!

  84. JoG said,

    September 14, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Brilliant to see that on the front page, Ben. Congratulations to you and the Guardian. Keep up the good work!

  85. Niles said,

    September 14, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Excellent news! Well done, Ben!

    I was only sorry to see that the BBC News website chose to ignore this story in favour of a lead item entitled ‘Broccoli “May Help Protect Lungs”‘.

    Ah well.

  86. Dean said,

    September 14, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Congratulations Ben. Must have been very hard at times. You deserve some sort of recognition for this, as does the Guardian.

  87. Vicky said,

    September 14, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Hooray! That’s fantastic news.
    Spent most of yesterday looking though his many websites. I can’t comment on any of the science but it made an interesting study – blaming the holocaust on a pharmaceutical company, predicting a nuclear war before Nov 4th, proposing a new EU constitution… blogpost(s) here:

  88. drunkenoaf said,

    September 14, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Congratulations Ben– I’d have had a stroke with rage and frustration if that was done to me.

    And almost maximum kudos to the Guardian, if it wasn’t for the editorial bit– in praise of your [you + the paper] fight against this nonsense… then the next item was “in praise of broccoli”

    Now, I was at a wedding so I missed the super-health giving properties that must have made the news, but I thought some of the claims made in that editorial pressed my dubiousness button! Ah, sweet editorial juxtapositional irony!

  89. Dr* T said,

    September 14, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Brilliant, Ben. Excellent work and full marks to the Guardian for the backing and subsequent showcasing.

  90. warhelmet said,

    September 14, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Important court case and congrats, but I had a quick look on Googlenews and… surprisingly few stories. Sure, fire in the blogosphere, but I want to see more coverage in mainstream media. Maybe there is, and Googlenews doesn’t show it to me… Ah, but it only delivers news in English.

    Does anyone know what sort of coverage this story got in South Africa? Is the coverage reaching those who Rath reached with his advertising campaigns? And what about the other countries he operates in?

  91. suntzu said,

    September 15, 2008 at 12:19 am

    This is great, great stuff.

    Well done Ben and well done The Guardian.

    I’ve been a Guardian reader ever since I can remember. It’s reassuring to know that they’re willing to put their money where there mouth is and make a stand for rationality when it counts.

    (Makes up – just about – for all the flakey lifestyle/wellness stuff in the Saturday magazine supplement . Though, to be fair, they have a lot less of it than the other major papers)

  92. benb said,

    September 15, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Brilliant stuff. Yet also tragic that this sort of thing goes on. That Rath bloke; what an insufferable cunt.

  93. Despard said,

    September 15, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Congrats Ben! Excellent news. :-)

  94. wilsontown said,

    September 15, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Just to add to the large number of well-deserved congratulatory messages you’ve already had: extremely well done. Seeing Saturday’s Guardian brightened up my entire weekend. I spent a good chunk of Saturday chuckling “You lose, quack!” under my breath.

  95. alansausse said,

    September 15, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Very well done sir.

  96. Vicky said,

    September 15, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    @ Warhelmet
    Haven’t seen much over here in his native Germany, but it turns out that Die Zeit wrote about his operation in South Africa back in May 2005 –
    – also reminding readers about the ‘Dominik’ trial in Hamburg. He’s widely referred to as “controversial vitamin doctor”.
    Quite a lot on him here too: (“Information about sects, cults and the psycho-market”)
    I’ll translate and add some of this to my previous blogpost as soon as I get chance.

  97. Dr* T said,

    September 15, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Nothing from Holford yet, then?



  98. Ginger Yellow said,

    September 15, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    “Any chance of the publishers restoring the Rath chapter somewhere down the line, or making it available as an online extra?”

    I second this question.

    Also, many congratulations. Let’s hope the other quacks take heed and stop using threats of litigation as a substitute for evidence.

  99. mikewhit said,

    September 15, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Nice McKeith pun there !!

    Thought they’d at least put your pic with the main Rath item, but since Bad Science got transmogrified into a comment piece with your non-Mary Shelley persona on the byline, not bad going …

  100. mikewhit said,

    September 15, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    It’s annoying that they could well be paying the costs of this out of dosh from the GMC (see main Graun article) – what the heck went wrong there ?

  101. quietstorm said,

    September 15, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Just to add my little tuppence-worth – sincere congratulations, Ben.

    Just when I was beginning to wonder whether science had any chance at all against the craziness, along comes a momentous victory like this! Talk about inspiration – science-lovers of the world unite!

  102. Caz said,

    September 15, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Dr Ben, I’m delighted, well done, please immediately stand for Prime Minister. And please tell your bosses there will be one extra copy of the Saturday Guardian bought from now on…

  103. mikewhit said,

    September 16, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Garlic and lemon prices will now plummet – buy immediately !!!

  104. aob9 said,

    September 16, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Well Done Ben, The real world has been waiting for someone like you for a long time. Let’s hope the successes continue.Great Book BTW.

  105. mikewhit said,

    September 17, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    @Jane Smith: Hope I’m not talking out of turn, but it’s surely the UNcontaminated formula milk that’s the major problem in developing countries … that the poster was probably referring to.

  106. csrster said,

    September 17, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    If by their fruit ye shall know them, then these are surely the grapes of Rath.

    congrats from darkest Denmark.

  107. Terence333 said,

    September 18, 2008 at 7:24 am

    I’m a newbie to the cause of Better Science. I have just read your book and I learning to unlearn all the rubbish I have literally and figuratively swallowed over the last 45 years.

    Congratulations on your victory.

    I will but the Guardian from now on……

  108. forumman said,

    September 18, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Fantastic, best story I’ve had through my RSS reader. Caught the front of the Guardian in town today and gave a bit of a cheer to the headline, but didn’t quite put two and two together.

    A huge thank you for helping take on these charlatans, its just such a shame that most journalists seem to swallow it all hook, line, sinker, rod and fisherman.

  109. projektleiterin said,

    September 18, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Good thing this idiot withdrew. My mom used to have a co-worker who was his fan/victim. She was seriously dependent on this quack. It was a shame.

  110. NuclearChicken said,

    September 19, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Will we get to see the text on Matthians Rath that was removed from your book?

    I’m enjoying it hugely, by the way.

  111. grahamkbrown said,

    September 20, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Bravo. But while I of course agree with you eulogies for the Guardian, here are the ads that appeared to me at the bottom of the paper’s webpage when I was reading the report on Rath:

    Ads by Google

    *Vitamin UK Health Site
    Over 20,000 Top Brand Products Discount Prices – Next Day Despatch

    *HIV saliva Test
    £29 Fast Accurate Easy Home sample tested at Private Lab

    *UK Colloidal Silver
    Nature’s Secret to Health from £4.95 to £99.95

    There is no escape!

  112. McDoz said,

    September 20, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    I know I’m a bit late here, but congrats on a great result. All this and you still manage to write grant applications as well. I am seriously impressed!

  113. gnome said,

    September 28, 2008 at 11:58 am

    More good news – South Africa’s new president has moved the erstwhile health minister, Manto Thshabalala-Msimang, out of the health ministry and given her a new portfolio (minister in the office of the president) where she can safely rant about beetroot and garlic to her heart’s content without doing too much harm. Three cheers for Barbara Hogan the new health minister – can’t wait to finally see some sensible government policies regarding HIV.
    Ben – if you haven’t already done so you might want to read Jonny Steinberg’s “Three letter plague” – its a brilliant investigation of the limits of SA’s AIDS treatment program – definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.

  114. turkexport said,

    December 29, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Not a bad couple of weeks, what with the book launch ‘n all, eh? Top stuff.

  115. kitt said,

    February 28, 2009 at 12:47 am

    I know I will get slated but here goes!

    I’m not “middle class”, I’m not as they would say “educated” and I don’t read newspapers.

    I have been diagnosed positive and have been “living with it” for eight years.

    I was told recently that I had to start to take the medication otherwise I faced a long, slow, painful and miserable death.

    I informed them I was worried about the side effects, as all medications (since birth) have disagreed with me.

    You know the small print, the bit that says “very unlikely”, well with me I get it every time!

    So they told me not to read it and just take them and I’d be ok.

    Why then do some of the side effects say (unlikely but) can result in death, failure of organs etc?

    Now am i stupid or can anyone tell me why anyone would want to take a pill that says a possible side effect is death?

    In the beginning, when I was first diagnosed they told me they wanted me to stay off meds for as long as possible. Then out of the blue the goal posts changed and they said I would need to start when my count go to a certain level. Then the goal posts changed again and I was told, people need to start taking them as soon as they found out regardless of the count.

    Sounds like bad science to me!

    For personal reasons I have never been able to trust the medical profession and have always viewed them with suspicion.

    I was given anti-biotics last year and was told I needed to take them until my count improved or more likely, when I started the hiv treatment.

    I went away and said ok but I never took the anti-biotics.

    My results this time had gone from less than 190 to almost 400.
    I was told to stop taking the anti-biotics. The doctor asked me if I had decided to take the hiv drugs because of such an improvmnet. I told her I hadn’t started the hiv treatment.

    She seemed shocked.

    So to a degree I believe hiv drugs are not the answer to the problem. I almost believe in the hiv myth. I believe there are other issues causing the African problem other than hiv. I don’t agree that someone tried to improve sales of vitamins in the way it was carried out.

    I know I am very much alone in these beliefs and I may be very much mistaken. It’s a chance I have to take. I’ll die with the drugs and I’ll die without them. We all will one day in any case!

    The way the world is going at the moment, it may be better out of the picture!

    Now moving on to another subject.

    Can you please tell me why the Guardian did not report the homophobic murder of Michael Causer?

    Thank you for letting me air my side of a story!

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  118. mare said,

    November 2, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I am not a supporter!
    I was in fact rather innocently looking for a member of BANT to advise me!! This is because I am currently taking vitamin and mineral supplementation of my own election and wish to ensure that I will be balancing calcium and magnesium correctly …among other elements. I am aware that in the medical profession we have no adequate nutrition training and that this is a serious shortfall to our respective competencies.

    I was distressed to read that you attended a public meeting about the issues of inappropriate medical treatment…without having apparently any inkling of understanding about how the public view us in the medical profession. I trained as a nurse and was dating a med student. One of the first thing both streams of training teach is the fact that we are the primary killers of the patient. I am sure you remember that?

    Things have gone from bad to worse in our ability to knock people off. !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Have no idea if you will receive this so rather than discuss further I’ll wait to see if a reasonable dialogue ensues as I would seriously like to clip your wings if you are looking to clip wings without self-clipping !!!!!!!!! I also do not understand your abbreviations.

    With best wishes
    Yours sincerely
    full name can be supplied

  119. Jonathan said,

    January 18, 2015 at 12:19 am

    How has no one gotten rid of this guy?!?!? I am Furious that he has exploited these impoverished & suffering patients. I am shocked & saddened people like this can spread their falsehoods around and ruin so many lives!