Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Harvard researchers tear into Rath

May 10 2005 at 12:36PM

Harvard researchers tear into Rath

Cape Town - Harvard researchers have accused vitamin entrepreneur Matthias Rath of deliberately misinterpreting their findings to bolster his campaign against antiretrovirals.

"Antiretroviral therapy saves lives, and its scale up should be vigorously pursued in all countries," the researchers, Wafaie Fawzi and David Hunter, said in a statement.

Rath, who has links with Aids dissidents, is facing a defamation action by the Treatment Action Campaign, which he has accused of being a front for drug companies.

In his publicity material, Rath has repeatedly quoted a study carried out in Tanzania by Fawzi and Hunter, who are attached to the Harvard School of Public Health.

"The study showed that inexpensive multivitamin treatment is more effective in staving off disease among HIV-positive women than any toxic Aids drug," Rath says.

However Fawzi and Hunter said while nutrition was important in the management of HIV and Aids, nutritional supplements alone could not replace the need for comprehensive treatment and care.

ARV therapy significantly improved chances of survival, reduced the incidence of opportunistic infections, and improved quality of life for people with HIV.

"We condemn these irresponsible and misleading statements (by Rath) as in our view they deliberately misinterpret findings from our studies to advocate against the scale up of antiretroviral therapy," they said.

They said their work and other studies showed that multivitamins slowed the progression of HIV at earlier stages of the disease, and could prolong the time before the start of ARV treatment.

"However, it is important to underscore that the multivitamin supplements should not be considered as an alternative to ART, but as a complementary intervention that is part of a comprehensive care package," they said.

"Individuals who are advanced enough in their disease to warrant antiretroviral therapy as per national guidelines should be provided with antiretroviral drugs." - Sapa