Silence is not golden: more on Rath and the $50bn nutrition industry

September 25, 2008 at 3:49 pm (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science, Nutritionism) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Yeah, I know – I’m boring you with this stuff now. I’m sorry, but I can’t let it lie. I really can’t understand why not one member of the $50bn Nutritional Therapy industry has come out and said what so clearly needs saying: “Matthias Rath’s actions in South Africa were unacceptable and his use of legal means to stifle debate inappropriate”. I tried ION [er, probably not the best time to email an 'academic institution' what with it being their summer break] and BANT to see if they had any view on the subject. I then thought perhaps I’d have more luck with EHPM (the Europe-wide trade association for food supplement manufacturers) and Patrick Holford (probably the UK’s most prominent nutritionist). Here’s my latest emails:

Dear x,

I wondered if you would like to comment on the actions of Matthias Rath in South Africa? I would say that Rath’s actions in recommending his vitamin pills over antiretrovirals were not just irresponsible but dangerous. I think this is too important to ignore and actions like Rath’s should be challenged by responsible members of the industry he works within.

Regards,
x.

and:

Dear x,
 
As EHPM represent a number of trade organisations such as CRN and HFMA, I wondered if your organisation would like to comment on the actions of Matthias Rath in South Africa? As far as I can tell, Rath’s actions in recommending his vitamin pills over antiretrovirals were not just irresponsible but highly dangerous and led (directly or indirectly) to an increase in the number of deaths there from HIV/AIDS. I think this is too important for organisations such as yours to ignore and actions like Rath’s should be challenged by responsible members of the industry he works within.
 
Kind regards,
x.

The emails to Holford and EHPM went out on Monday evening. I’m writing this on Thursday afternoon and… I’ve heard nothing. The bottom line is this: No-one in the $50bn food supplements industry gives a fuck about Matthias Rath telling people to quit their antiretroviral medication. No-one in the $50bn food supplements industry thinks they need to tell us whether they approve of heavy-handed legalistic tactics to silence criticism. No-one in the $50bn food supplements industry is willing to countenance critical apprasial of their work. No-one in the $50bn food supplements industry is capable of self-regulation.

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3 Comments

  1. gimpy said,

    It’s sad isn’t it. But I suspect the reason why these spokespeople won’t speak out is that the logic of ingesting megadose vitamins to treat HIV infection is perilously close to the logic of ingesting megadose vitamins to treat other viruses, such as rhinovirus or herpes simplex. Afterall it’s widely accepted in CAM circles that the common cold and cold sores are treatable with vitamins, so why not AIDS?

  2. jdc325 said,

    Aye – Patrick Holford makes claims in his Optimum Nutrition Bible for Vitamin C in treating both AIDS and the common cold. He cites single studies to ‘prove’ his point and ignores systematic reviews that paint a different picture. Cochrane on Vit C for colds; more about ONB and vit C claims is available if you can track down part two of Rise of the Lifestyle Nutritionists.

  3. Another worthless validation: the University of Wales and nutritional therapy said,

    [...] Rath was one of the best illustrations of the murderous effect of selling ineffective treatments.  The fact that nobody in the “nutritional therapy” industry has uttered a word of condemnation for this man illustrates better than anything one can imagine the corrupt state of “nutritional therapy”.  The people who kept silent include the British Association of Nutritional Therapists (BANT). [...]

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