On Sat, 18 Jan 2014 14:33:13 -0800, in misc.health.alternative, Kaye
>On Fri, 17 Jan 2014 16:19:02 +1100, in misc.health.alternative,
>Clayton <***@.> wrote:
>>On Thu, 16 Jan 2014 17:58:26 -0800, Bob Officer <*.*@*.*> wrote:
>>>On Fri, 17 Jan 2014 12:44:15 +1100, in misc.health.alternative,
>>>>>>>However it seem if you follow the money trail, it leads to the
>>>>>>>manufacturers of palm oil company that is upset about the 25%
>>>>>>>reduction in the use of saturated fats in Australia. Follow the money
>>>>>>From memory and going by the title, the main thrust of the ABC story
>>>>>>was that statins were over-prescribed.
>>>>>which was shown later to be a false claim.
>>>>Only a small percentage of people benefit from statins - ie those who
>>>>have already had a heart attack and are in danger of dying from
>>All pharmaceutical drugs have trade-offs.
>>They aren't meant to be taken long-term for things where diet and
>>exercise will achieve the same result.
>And that is where the doctor recommends diet and exercise.
Some "pharmaceutical drugs" (they) are meant to be taken for a
lifetime. Thyroid replacement and insulin in Type-1 diabetics come to
mind, as do anti rejection drugs for most people with organ
transplants. There are even some anti clotting drugs which help
people which have been given mechanical heart valves.
>>Long-term use of pharmaceutical drugs are the downhill slide to
>>long-term chronic degenerative ill-health and incapacity.
>Do you even understand what chronic and degenerative? They don't
>just go away, and they certainly can't be treated with baking soda or
>whatever "treatment of the day" you are advocating today.
People born with defective heart valves used to just die. often at an
early age. Today, they are given mechanical and pig's valves. both
require continuing treatment with Drugs.
>>>>The trade-off for anybody else isn't worth it as there are side
>>>>effects that compromise a person's health in other areas.
>>>Also shown not to be true.
>>Who by -- big pharma with their cherry-picked studies?
>You don't think alternative pushers cherry pick? Not only do they
>cherry pick, they twist and contort statements to mean something
>completely different. Much like when you reiterate something here
>with the sentence beginning "So what your saying is....." then you
>completely twist till you have made a lie out of it. It's what you
>do. We know this. Any time you start with that phrase we know a lie
>>>Yes you should by now realize the three principle people featured on
>>>the show were not really qualified in the field to have their
>>>opinions given much weight. The facts the show staff and speakers,
>>>misused studies and presented much of what they said in a false
>>But bob, that description ie "unqualified" is applied to anybody who
>>doesn't support mainstream pharmaceutical medicine.
>>Look at what happened to simoncini when he let it slip that cancer was
>>due to a fungus and could be cured with something cheap like bicarb.
>>He was crucified - under the pretext of concern for the public of
>>>The investigation has moved on to find the reason the show presented
>>>the false information and why they allowed the reporters manner to be
>>>on-sided in facial expression and body mannerism.
>>Well, they might be able to find some grounds to charge those who
>>participated in the show with deception, however, the basic premise
>>that statins are over-used and should not be used long-term due to
>>adverse side effects, is still a legitimate comment.
>>>>>>>Did you do the followup reading or follow any of the URL? I picked
>>>>>>>people from both side issue including a ABC media watchdog group
>>>>>>>there only looked at what wasn't a fair and even presentation.
>>>>>>I think its a well known fact that trans fats are bad, saturated fats
>>>>>>less so and a certain amount are probably harmless.
>>>>>>I wasn't aware there was such a large trade in palm oil, but of course
>>>>>>these days it must be sustainable, and I know that's no help to the
>>>>>>orangatangs that have lots their trees already. Not sure what the
>>>>>>definition of sustainable is, presumably that which doesn't cause loss
>>>>>>of habitat for orangatangs.
>>>>>>Hey but good on you for doing some research, even if it did take a
>>>>>>couple of months for the penny to drop. Be good if you did similar
>>>>>>research on some other topics.
>>>>>The real penny was the catalyst program was uneven and false
>>>>It was refreshing for a change and can't imagine how it got past the
>>>How can lies, spin and false statements be refreshing, chaussette?
>>Oh bob, it happens all the time - big pharma only got to predominate
>>in mainstream medicine through deceptive practices like ghose written
>>articles, cherry picked studies, finding reasons to crucify
>>alternative medicine and similar such deceptions.
>>>>>The money trail showed the staff of catalyst program were running an
>>>>>story to promote palm oil and unhealthy diet and lifestyle. The only
>>>>>question now is were they paid off by the palm oil industry?
>>>>Maybe, and that was a good bit of detective work on your part.
>>>>It is a possibility that the palm oil industry was involved somehow -
>>>>however, the bottom line is pharmaceutical drugs aren't always good.
>>>No the real bottom line is no matter what the claim one must read all
>>>the links and fact check every statement made. When one checks the
>>>fact, one find statins do help the majority of the people. when taken
>>>along side diet and lifestyle changes, it tends to make the body more
>>I don't think so, except to a pharmaceutical pawn.
>>>>An apple a day does more for a person's health than a whole heap of
>>>Actually while you might say that, an ap[ple will not prevent a lot
>>>of different diseases, and in a few cases might actually do harm.
>>>This of course is one of your normal false statements which really
>>>isn't based on fact, is it?
>>Not the way big pharma puts its facts together - no.
>>But then we all know about how they operate, don't we?
>>The Laws of the Pharmaceutical Industry
Look at who she is citing 'dr rath', the genocide.
Maybe this is the reason she likes the killer of black africans:
"The white people are the only ones with enough brains to understand
that the world is way past being overpopulated. "
Carole Hubbard, puppeteer
Yes this Rath is same person that convinced the south africa
government to stop providing anti-virals and buy his brand of
vitamins mix to treat AIDS. The Death told was in the 100s of
thousands of people in the 1 st of the program.
I have a large citation below, most of you can skip it. I post the
important part below, and it should defuse the Chaussette from using
Rath's work as a citation ever again, hopefully.
He [rath] even claimed that his activities were endorsed by huge
lists of sponsors and affiliates including the World Health
Organization, UNICEF and UNAIDS. All have issued statements flatly
denouncing his claims and activities.
Rath is a liar, and I do not have any idea why anyone would cite his
work as an authority. [if rath is a real alternative therapist, why
would he lie about having mainstream endorsements?]
Now he is in a battle of using projection as a defense mechanism.
What he is calling other people he may be guilty of doing himself.
(is this an example of classic case of psychological projection?)
What is the truth? HEre may be a glimmer of it.
Matthias Rath is a (notorious quack) vitamin pill magnate who
unsuccessfully tried to sue The Grauniad after nerd cheerleader and
quackbuster Ben Goldacre cited strong evidence that he was
responsible for deadly misinformation and health fraud
Rath is a peddler of vitamin pills which he claims to have
near-magical curative power, and is an influential AIDS denialist,
being in no small part responsible for the South African government's
shameful and deadly policy on AIDS under Thabo Mbeki. Public health
researchers have attributed 330,000 to 340,000 AIDS deaths, along
with 171,000 other HIV infections and 35,000 infant HIV infections,
to the South African government's former embrace of AIDS
His campaign against South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign and
founder Zackie Achmat was vicious to the point of being almost
surreal. Former employee Anthony Brink actually filed a charge at the
International Criminal Court in The Hague accusing Achmat of
genocide, based on his support for use of antiretrovirals. Rath and
his associates accused TAC of taking money from pharmaceutical
companies (an allegation which is categorically false) and acting as
shills for big pharma despite TAC's widely publicised and trenchant
criticism of the pharmaceutical industry.
Rath's lawsuit prevented Goldacre from including a chapter on Rath in
Bad Science. Happily the lawsuit having been dropped and the
Guradian's costs paid, Rath has effectively accepted that he has no
case, so Goldacre has published the missing chapter online:
 Bad Science, September 2008
 Chigwedere P, Seage GR, Gruskin S, Lee TH, Essex M (October
2008). "Estimating the Lost Benefits of Antiretroviral Drug Use in
South Africa". Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999)
49 (4): 410415. 
Steal this Chapter!
This is an extract from
BAD SCIENCE by Ben Goldacre
Published by Harper Perennial 2009.
You are free to copy it, paste it, bake it, reprint it, read it
aloud, as long as you dont change it including this bit so that
people know that they can find more ideas for free at
The Doctor Will Sue You Now
This chapter did not appear in the original edition of this book,
because for fifteen months leading up to September 2008 the
vitamin-pill entrepreneur Matthias Rath was suing me personally,
and the Guardian, for libel. This strategy brought only mixed
success. For all that nutritionists may fantasise in public that any
critic is somehow a pawn of big pharma, in private they would do well
to remember that, like many my age who work in the public sector, I
dont own a flat. The Guardian generously paid for the lawyers, and
in September 2008 Rath dropped his case, which had cost in excess of
£500,000 to defend. Rath has paid £220,000 already, and the rest will
hopefully follow. Nobody will ever repay me for the endless meetings,
the time off work, or the days spent poring over tables filled with
endlessly cross-referenced court documents.
On this last point there is, however, one small consolation, and I
will spell it out as a cautionary tale: I now know more about
Matthias Rath than almost any other person alive. My notes,
references and witness statements, boxed up in the room where I am
sitting right now, make a pile as tall as the man himself, and what I
will write here is only a tiny fraction of the fuller story that is
waiting to be told about him. This chapter, I should also mention, is
available free online for anyone who wishes to see it.
Matthias Rath takes us rudely outside the contained, almost academic
distance of this book. For the most part weve been interested in the
intellectual and cultural consequences of bad science, the made-up
facts in national newspapers, dubious academic practices in
universities, some foolish pill-peddling, and so on. But what happens
if we take these sleights of hand, these pill-marketing techniques,
and transplant them out of our decadent Western context into a
situation where things really matter?
In an ideal world this would be only a thought experiment.
AIDS is the opposite of anecdote. Twenty-five million people
have died from it already, three million in the last year alone,
and 500,000 of those deaths were children. In South Africa it
kills 300,000 people every year: thats eight hundred people
every day, or one every two minutes. This one country has 6.3
million people who are HIV positive, including 30 per cent of
all pregnant women. There are 1.2 million AIDS orphans under
the age of seventeen. Most chillingly of all, this disaster has
appeared suddenly, and while we were watching: in 1990, just 1
per cent of adults in South Africa were HIV positive. Ten years
later, the figure had risen to 25 per cent.
Its hard to mount an emotional response to raw numbers,
but on one thing I think we would agree. If you were to walk
into a situation with that much death, misery and disease, you
would be very careful to make sure that you knew what you
were talking about. For the reasons you are about to read, I
suspect that Matthias Rath missed the mark.
This man, we should be clear, is our responsibility. Born and
raised in Germany, Rath was the head of Cardiovascular
Research at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto in California,
and even then he had a tendency towards grand gestures,
publishing a paper in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine
Bad Science in 1992 titled A Unified Theory of Human Cardiovascular
Disease Leading the Way to the Abolition of this Disease as a
Cause for Human Mortality. The unified theory was high-dose
He first developed a power base from sales in Europe, selling
his pills with tactics that will be very familiar to you from the
rest of this book, albeit slightly more aggressive. In the UK, his
adverts claimed that 90 per cent of patients receiving chemotherapy
for cancer die within months of starting treatment, and suggested
that three million lives could be saved if cancer patients stopped
being treated by conventional medicine. The pharmaceutical industry
was deliberately letting people die for financial gain, he explained.
Cancer treatments were poisonous compounds with not even one
The decision to embark on treatment for cancer can be the most
difficult that an individual or a family will ever take, representing
a close balance between well-documented benefits and equally
well-documented side-effects. Adverts like these might play
especially strongly on your conscience if your mother has just lost
all her hair to chemotherapy, for example, in the hope of staying
alive just long enough to see your son speak.
There was some limited regulatory response in Europe, but it was
generally as weak as that faced by the other characters in this book.
The Advertising Standards Authority criticised one of his adverts in
the UK, but that is essentially all they are able to do. Rath was
ordered by a Berlin court to stop claiming that his vitamins could
cure cancer, or face a 250,000 fine.
But sales were strong, and Matthias Rath still has many supporters in
Europe, as you will shortly see. He walked into South Africa with all
the acclaim, self-confidence and wealth he had amassed as a
successful vitamin-pill entrepreneur in Europe and America, and began
to take out full-page adverts in newspapers.
The answer to the AIDS epidemic is here, he proclaimed.
Anti-retroviral drugs were poisonous, and a conspiracy to kill
patients and make money. Stop AIDS Genocide by the Drugs
Cartel said one headline. Why should South Africans continue
to be poisoned with AZT? There is a natural answer to AIDS.
The answer came in the form of vitamin pills. Multivitamin
treatment is more effective than any toxic AIDS drug.Multivitamins
cut the risk of developing AIDS in half.
Raths company ran clinics reflecting these ideas, and in 2005
he decided to run a trial of his vitamins in a township near Cape
Town called Khayelitsha, giving his own formulation, VitaCell,
to people with advanced AIDS. In 2008 this trial was declared
illegal by the Cape High Court of South Africa. Although Rath
says that none of his participants had been on anti-retroviral
drugs, some relatives have given statements saying that they
were, and were actively told to stop using them.
Tragically, Matthias Rath had taken these ideas to exactly the
right place. Thabo Mbeki, the President of South Africa at the
time, was well known as an AIDS dissident, and to international
horror, while people died at the rate of one every two minutes
in his country, he gave credence and support to the claims of a
small band of campaigners who variously claim that AIDS does
not exist, that it is not caused by HIV, that anti-retroviral
medication does more harm than good, and so on.
At various times during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in
South Africa their government argued that HIV is not the cause
of AIDS, and that anti-retroviral drugs are not useful for
patients. They refused to roll out proper treatment programmes,
they refused to accept free donations of drugs, and they refused
to accept grant money from the Global Fund to buy drugs.
One study estimates that if the South African national
government had used anti-retroviral drugs for prevention and
treatment at the same rate as the Western Cape province (which
defied national policy on the issue), around 171,000 new HIV
infections and 343,000 deaths could have been prevented
between 1999 and 2007. Another study estimates that between
2000 and 2005 there were 330,000 unnecessary deaths, 2.2
million person years lost, and 35,000 babies unnecessarily born
with HIV because of the failure to implement a cheap and
simple mother-to-child-transmission prevention program.
Between one and three doses of an ARV drug can reduce transmission
dramatically. The cost is negligible. It was not available.
Interestingly, Matthias Raths colleague and employee, a
South African barrister named Anthony Brink, takes the credit
for introducing Thabo Mbeki to many of these ideas. Brink
stumbled on the AIDS dissident material in the mid-1990s,
and after much surfing and reading, became convinced that it
must be right. In 1999 he wrote an article about AZT in a
Johannesburg newspaper titled a medicine from hell. This led
to a public exchange with a leading virologist. Brink contacted
Mbeki, sending him copies of the debate, and was welcomed as
an expert. This is a chilling testament to the danger of elevating
cranks by engaging with them.
In his initial letter of motivation for employment to Matthias
Rath, Brink described himself as South Africas leading AIDS
dissident, best known for my whistle-blowing exposé of the
toxicity and inefficacy of AIDS drugs, and for my political
activism in this regard, which caused President Mbeki and
Health Minister Dr Tshabalala-Msimang to repudiate the drugs
In 2000, the now infamous International AIDS Conference
took place in Durban. Mbekis presidential advisory panel
beforehand was packed with AIDS dissidents, including Peter
Duesberg and David Rasnick. On the first day, Rasnick
suggested that all HIV testing should be banned on principle,
and that South Africa should stop screening supplies of blood
for HIV. If I had the power to outlaw the HIV antibody test, he
said, I would do it across the board.When African physicians
gave testimony about the drastic change AIDS had caused in
their clinics and hospitals, Rasnick said he had not seen any
evidence of an AIDS catastrophe. The media were not allowed
in, but one reporter from the Village Voice was present. Peter
Duesberg, he said, gave a presentation so removed from African
medical reality that it left several local doctors shaking their
heads. It wasnt AIDS that was killing babies and children, said
the dissidents: it was the anti-retroviral medication.
President Mbeki sent a letter to world leaders comparing the
struggle of the AIDS dissidents to the struggle against apartheid.
The Washington Post described the reaction at the White House:
So stunned were some officials by the letters tone and timing
during final preparations for Julys conference in Durban that
at least two of them, according to diplomatic sources, felt
obliged to check whether it was genuine.Hundreds of delegates
walked out of Mbekis address to the conference in disgust, but
many more described themselves as dazed and confused. Over
5,000 researchers and activists around the world signed up to
the Durban Declaration, a document that specifically addressed
and repudiated the claims and concerns at least the more
moderate ones of the AIDS dissidents. Specifically, it
addressed the charge that people were simply dying of poverty:
The evidence that AIDS is caused by HIV-1 or HIV-2 is
clearcut,exhaustive and unambiguous
As with any other
chronic infection, various co-factors play a role in
determining the risk of disease. Persons who are
malnourished, who already suffer other infections or
who are older, tend to be more susceptible to
the rapid development of AIDS following HIV infection.
However, none of these factors weaken the scientific evidence
that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS
transmission can be reduced by half or more by short courses
of antiviral drugs
What works best in one country may not
be appropriate in another. But to tackle the disease,
everyone must first understand that HIV is the enemy.
Research, not myths, will lead to the development of more
effective and cheaper treatments.
It did them no good. Until 2003 the South African government
refused, as a matter of principle, to roll out proper antiretroviral
medication programmes, and even then the process was half-hearted.
This madness was only overturned after a massive campaign by
grassroots organisations such as the Treatment Action Campaign, but
even after the ANC cabinet voted to allow medication to be given,
there was still resistance. In mid-2005, at least 85 per cent of
HIV-positive people who needed anti-retroviral drugs were still
refused them. Thats around a million people.
This resistance, of course, went deeper than just one man;
much of it came from Mbekis Health Minister, Manto Tshabalala-
Msimang. An ardent critic of medical drugs for HIV, she would
cheerfully go on television to talk up their dangers, talk down their
benefits, and became irritable and evasive when asked how many
patients were receiving effective treatment. She declared in 2005
that she would not be pressured into meeting the target of three
million patients on anti-retroviral medication, that people had
ignored the importance of nutrition, and that she would continue to
warn patients of the sideeffects of anti-retrovirals, saying: We
have been vindicated in this regard.We are what we eat.
Its an eerily familiar catchphrase. Tshabalala-Msimang has also gone
on record to praise the work of Matthias Rath, and refused to
investigate his activities. Most joyfully of all, she is a staunch
advocate of the kind of weekend glossy-magazine-style nutritionism
that will by now be very familiar to you.
The remedies she advocates for AIDS are beetroot, garlic, lemons and
African potatoes. A fairly typical quote, from the Health Minister in
a country where eight hundred people die every day from AIDS, is
this: 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.
South Africas stand at the 2006 World AIDS Conference in Toronto was
described by delegates as the salad stall. It consisted of some
garlic, some beetroot, the African potato, and assorted other
vegetables. Some boxes of anti-retroviral drugs were added later, but
they were reportedly borrowed at the last minute from other
Alternative therapists like to suggest that their treatments and
ideas have not been sufficiently researched. As you now know, this is
often untrue, and in the case of the Health Ministers favoured
vegetables, research had indeed been done, with results that were far
from promising. Interviewed on SABC about this, Tshabalala-Msimang
gave the kind of responses youd expect to hear at any North London
dinner-party discussion of alternative therapies.
First she was asked about work from the University of Stellenbosch
which suggested that her chosen plant, the African potato, might be
actively dangerous for people on AIDS drugs. One study on African
potato in HIV had to be terminated prematurely, because the patients
who received the plant extract developed severe bone-marrow
suppression and a drop in their CD4 cell count which is a bad thing
after eight weeks. On top of this, when extract from the same
vegetable was given to cats with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, they
succumbed to full-blown Feline AIDS faster than their non-treated
controls. African potato does not look like a good bet.
Tshabalala-Msimang disagreed: the researchers should go back to the
drawing board, and investigate properly. Why? Because HIV-positive
people who used African potato had shown improvement, and they had
said so themselves. If a person says he or she is feeling better,
should this be disputed, she demanded to know, merely because it had
not been proved scientifically? When a person says she or he is
feeling better, I must say No, I dont think you are feeling
better? I must rather go and do science on you? Asked whether
there should be a scientific basis to her views, she replied: Whose
And there, perhaps, is a clue, if not exoneration. This is a
continent that has been brutally exploited by the developed world,
first by empire, and then by globalised capital. Conspiracy theories
about AIDS and Western medicine are not entirely absurd in this
context. The pharmaceutical industry has indeed been caught
performing drug trials in Africa which would be impossible anywhere
in the developed world. Many find it suspicious that black Africans
seem to be the biggest victims of AIDS, and point to the biological
warfare programmes set up by the apartheid governments; there have
also been suspicions that the scientific discourse of HIV/AIDS might
be a device, a Trojan horse for spreading even more exploitative
Western political and economic agendas around a problem that is
simply one of poverty.
And these are new countries, for which independence and self-rule are
recent developments, which are struggling to find their commercial
feet and true cultural identity after centuries of colonisation.
Traditional medicine represents an important link with an autonomous
past; besides which, anti-retroviral medications have been
unnecessarily offensively, absurdly expensive, and until moves to
challenge this became partially successful, many Africans were
effectively denied access to medical treatment as a result.
Its very easy for us to feel smug, and to forget that we all have
our own strange cultural idiosyncrasies which prevent us from taking
up sensible public-health programmes. For examples,we dont even have
to look as far as MMR. There is a good evidence base, for example, to
show that needle-exchange programmes reduce the spread of HIV, but
this strategy has been rejected time and again in favour of Just say
no. Development charities funded by US Christian groups refuse to
engage with birth control, and any suggestion of abortion, even in
countries where being in control of your own fertility could mean the
difference between success and failure in life, is met with a cold,
pious stare. These impractical moral principles are so deeply
entrenched that Pepfar, the US Presidential Emergency Plan for
AIDS Relief, has insisted that every recipient of international
aid money must sign a declaration expressly promising not to have any
involvement with sex workers.
We mustnt appear insensitive to the Christian value system, but it
seems to me that engaging sex workers is almost the cornerstone of
any effective AIDS policy: commercial sex is frequently the vector
of transmission, and sex workers a very high-risk population; but
there are also more subtle issues at stake. If you secure the legal
rights of prostitutes to be free from violence and discrimination,
you empower them to demand universal condom use, and that way you can
prevent HIV from being spread into the whole community. This is where
science meets culture. But perhaps even to your own friends and
neighbours, in whatever suburban idyll has become your home, the
moral principle of abstinence from sex and drugs is more important
than people dying of AIDS; and perhaps, then, they are no less
irrational than Thabo Mbeki.
So this was the situation into which the vitamin-pill entrepreneur
Matthias Rath inserted himself, prominently and expensively, with the
wealth he had amassed from Europe and America, exploiting
anti-colonial anxieties with no sense of irony, although he was a
white man offering pills made in a factory abroad. His adverts and
clinics were a tremendous success. He began to tout individual
patients as evidence of the benefits that could come from vitamin
pills although in reality some of his most famous success stories
have died of AIDS. When asked about the deaths of Raths star
patients, Health Minister Tshabalala-Msimang replied: It doesnt
necessarily mean that if I am taking antibiotics and I die, that I
died of antibiotics.
She is not alone: South Africas politicians have consistently
refused to step in, Rath claims the support of the government, and
its most senior figures have refused to distance themselves from his
operations or to criticise his activities. Tshabalala-Msimang has
gone on the record to state that the Rath Foundation are not
undermining the governments position. If anything, they are
In 2005, exasperated by government inaction, a group of 199 leading
medical practitioners in South Africa signed an open letter to the
health authorities of the Western Cape, pleading for action on the
Rath Foundation. Our patients are being inundated with propaganda
encouraging them to stop life-saving medicine, it said. Many of us
have had experiences with HIVinfected patients who have had their
health compromised by stopping their anti-retrovirals due to the
activities of this Foundation.
Raths adverts continue unabated. He even claimed that his activities
were endorsed by huge lists of sponsors and affiliates including the
World Health Organization, UNICEF and UNAIDS. All have issued
statements flatly denouncing his claims and activities. The man
certainly has chutzpah.
His adverts are also rich with detailed scientific claims. It would
be wrong of us to neglect the science in this story, so we should
follow some through, specifically those which focused on a Harvard
study in Tanzania. He described this research in full-page
advertisements, some of which have appeared in the New York Times and
the Herald Tribune. He refers to these paid adverts, I should
mention, as if he had received flattering news coverage in the same
papers. Anyway, this research showed that multivitamin supplements
can be beneficial in a developing world population with AIDS: theres
no problem with that result, and there are plenty of reasons to think
that vitamins might have some benefit for a sick and frequently
The researchers enrolled 1,078 HIV-positive pregnant women and
randomly assigned them to have either a vitamin supplement or
placebo. Notice once again, if you will, that this is another large,
well-conducted, publicly funded trial of vitamins, conducted by
mainstream scientists, contrary to the claims of nutritionists that
such studies do not exist. The women were followed up for several
years, and at the end of the study, 25 per cent of those on vitamins
were severely ill or dead, compared with 31 per cent of those on
placebo. There was also a statistically significant benefit in CD4
cell count (a measure of HIV activity) and viral loads. These results
were in no sense dramatic and they cannot be compared to the
demonstrable life-saving benefits of anti-retrovirals but they did
show that improved diet, or cheap generic vitamin pills, could
represent a simple and relatively inexpensive way to marginally delay
the need to start HIV medication in some patients.
In the hands of Rath, this study became evidence that vitamin pills
are superior to medication in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, that
anti-retroviral therapies severely damage all cells in the body
including white blood cells, and worse, that they were thereby not
improving but rather worsening immune deficiencies and expanding the
AIDS epidemic. The researchers from the Harvard School of Public
Health were so horrified that they put together a press release
setting out their support for medication, and stating starkly, with
unambiguous clarity, that Matthias Rath had misrepresented their
Media regulators failed to act.
To outsiders the story is baffling and terrifying. The United
Nations has condemned Raths adverts as wrong and misleading.
This guy is killing people by luring them with unrecognised
treatment without any scientific evidence, said Eric Goemaere, head
of Médecins sans Frontières SA, a man who pioneered anti-retroviral
therapy in South Africa. Rath sued him.
Its not just MSF who Rath has gone after. He has also brought
time-consuming, expensive, stalled or failed cases against a
professor of AIDS research, critics in the media and others.
His most heinous campaign has been against the Treatment Action
Campaign. For many years this has been the key organisation
campaigning for access to anti-retroviral medication in South Africa,
and it has been fighting a war on four fronts. Firstly, it campaigns
against its own government, trying to compel it to roll out treatment
programmes for the population. Secondly, it fights against the
pharmaceutical industry, which claims that it needs to charge full
price for its products in developing countries in order to pay for
research and development of new drugs although, as we shall see,
out of its $550 billion global annual revenue, the pharmaceutical
industry spends twice as much on promotion and admin as it does on
research and development. Thirdly, it is a grassroots organisation,
made up largely of black women from townships who do important
prevention and treatment-literacy work on the ground, ensuring that
people know what is available, and how to protect themselves. Lastly,
it fights against people who promote the type of information peddled
by Matthias Rath and his like.
Rath has taken it upon himself to launch a massive campaign against
this group. He distributes advertising material against them, saying
Treatment Action Campaign medicines are killing you and Stop AIDS
genocide by the drug cartel, claiming as you will guess by now
that there is an international conspiracy by pharmaceutical companies
intent on prolonging the AIDS crisis in the interests of their own
profits by giving medication that makes people worse. TAC must be a
part of this, goes the reasoning, because it criticises Matthias
Rath. Just like me writing on Patrick Holford or Gillian McKeith, TAC
is perfectly in favour of good diet and nutrition. But in Raths
promotional literature it is a front for the pharmaceutical industry,
a Trojan horse and a running dog. TAC has made a full disclosure
of its funding and activities, showing no such connection: Rath
presented no evidence to the contrary, and has even lost a court case
over the issue, but will not let it lie. In fact he presents the loss
of this court case as if it was a victory.
The founder of TAC is a man called Zackie Achmat, and he is the
closest thing I have to a hero. He is South African, and coloured, by
the nomenclature of the apartheid system in which he grew up.At the
age of fourteen he tried to burn down his school, and you might have
done the same in similar circumstances. He has been arrested and
imprisoned under South Africas violent, brutal white regime, with
all that entailed. He is also gay, and HIV-positive, and he refused
to take anti-retroviral medication until it was widely available to
all on the public health system, even when he was dying of AIDS, even
when he was personally implored to save himself by Nelson Mandela, a
public supporter of anti-retroviral medication and Achmats work.
And now, at last, we come to the lowest point of this whole story,
not merely for Matthias Raths movement, but for the alternative
therapy movement around the world as a whole. In 2007, with a huge
public flourish, to great media coverage, Raths former employee
Anthony Brink filed a formal complaint against Zackie Achmat, the
head of the TAC. Bizarrely, he filed this complaint with the
International Criminal Court at The Hague, accusing Achmat of
genocide for successfully campaigning to get access to HIV drugs for
the people of South Africa.
Its hard to explain just how influential the AIDS dissidents are
in South Africa. Brink is a barrister, a man with important friends,
and his accusations were reported in the national news media and in
some corners of the Western gay press as a serious news story. I do
not believe that any one of those journalists who reported on it can
possibly have read Brinks indictment to the end.
The first fifty-seven pages present familiar anti-medication and
AIDS-dissident material. But then, on page fifty-eight, this
indictment document suddenly deteriorates into something altogether
more vicious and unhinged, as Brink sets out what he believes would
be an appropriate punishment for Zackie.
Because I do not wish to be accused of selective editing, I will
now reproduce for you that entire section, unedited, so you can
see and feel it for yourself.
APPROPRIATE CRIMINAL SANCTION
In view of the scale and gravity of Achmats crime and his
direct personal criminal culpability for the deaths of
thousands of people, to quote his own words, it is
respectfully submitted that the International Criminal Court
uught to impose on him the highest sentence provided by
Article 77.1(b) of the Rome Statute, namely to permanent
confinement in a small white steel and concrete cage, bright
fluorescent light on all the time to keep an eye on him, his
warders putting him out only to work every day in the prison
garden to cultivate nutrient-rich vegetables, including when
its raining. In order for him to repay his debt to society,
with the ARVs he claims to take administered daily under
close medical watch at the full prescribed dose, morning noon
and night, without interruption, to prevent him faking that
hes being treatment compliant, pushed if necessary down his
forced-open gullet with a finger, or, if he bites, kicks and
screams too much, dripped into his arm after hes been
restrained on a gurney with cable ties around his ankles,
wrists and neck, until he gives up the ghost on them, so as
to eradicate this foulest, most loathsome, unscrupulous and
malevolent blight on the human race, who has plagued and
poisoned the people of South Africa, mostly black, mostly
poor, for nearly a decade now, since the day he and his TAC
first hit the scene.
Signed at Cape Town, South Africa, on 1 January 2007
The document was described by the Rath Foundation as
entirely valid and long overdue.
This story isnt about Matthias Rath, or Anthony Brink, or Zackie
Achmat, or even South Africa. It is about the culture of how ideas
work, and how that can break down.Doctors criticise other doctors,
academics criticise academics, politicians criticise politicians:
thats normal and healthy, its how ideas improve. Matthias Rath is
an alternative therapist, made in Europe. He is every bit the same as
the British operators that we have seen in this book. He is from
Despite the extremes of this case, not one single alternative
therapist or nutritionist, anywhere in the world, has stood up to
criticise any single aspect of the activities of Matthias Rath and
his colleagues. In fact, far from it: he continues to be fêted to
this day. I have sat in true astonishment and watched leading figures
of the UKs alternative therapy movement applaud Matthias Rath at a
public lecture (I have it on video, just in case theres any doubt).
Natural health organisations continue to defend Rath. Homeopaths
mailouts continue to promote his work. The British Association of
Nutritional Therapists has been invited to comment by bloggers, but
declined. Most, when challenged, will dissemble. Oh, they say, I
dont really know much about it. Not one person will step forward
The alternative therapy movement as a whole has demonstrated itself
to be so dangerously, systemically incapable of critical
self-appraisal that it cannot step up even in a case like that of
Rath: in that count I include tens of thousands of practitioners,
writers, administrators and more. This is how ideas go badly wrong.
In the conclusion to this book, written before I was able to include
this chapter, I will argue that the biggest dangers posed by the
material we have covered are cultural and intellectual.
I may be mistaken.
The Doctor Will Sue You Now
>>The History of the Pharma-Cartel
You do know that Rath is no one to be citing as an authority? Most of
what he writes is lashing out as a noose tighten around his next. In
20 years Rath will be known as the "Hilter of South Africa" by the
"Whoops .... now where did I put that other braincell?
It make it very hard to work things out.
Oh, I'll check up my arse ...get back to ya."
carole hubbard in Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>