Matthias Rath is a German scientist, physician and vitamin pill salesman who went to South Africa — a country where 6.3 million people are HIV positive — and launched a misinformation campaign which claimed, amongst other things, that the life-prolonging antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV patients were, in fact, poisoning them and they should taking his vitamin pills instead.
A spokesman for the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) — which fights for people with HIV/AIDs to have access to proper treatment and which was accused by Rath of being a front for Big Pharma — described him as an “extremely dangerous man, a liar, a charlatan.” The US Food and Drug Administration challenged claims on his website, the British Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint against him and the South African equivalent ordered him to stop claiming that dietary supplements are superior to chemotherapy. He has been condemned by the United Nations, the World Health Organisations and Médecins Sans Frontières, to name but a few.
An informative and moving 8-minute video about the TAC’s battle against Rath can be viewed here:
I had intended to make this introduction to Rath a bit longer but feel overwhelmed by the task of trying to condense such a catalogue of evil into a few paragraphs. So instead I’ll get straight to the point.
Ben Goldacre did some very thorough research on Rath — “I now know more about Matthias Rath than almost any other person alive” — and intended to include a chapter about him in the first edition of his excellent book, Bad Science, but he couldn’t because Rath filed a lawsuit against him. The book was published without the chapter, then Rath dropped the suit. So the new edition of Bad Science includes the chapter about him and Ben has also posted the chapter on his website where it can be read for free. Thank you, Ben. It’s highly recommended but watch your blood pressure.
Here’s the link but still buy the book if you haven’t already done so. It’s worth every penny.