reply to post by AuranVector
I'm wondering what Dr. Rath had in the Vitacell he gave freely to the AIDS victims in South Africa
It's somewhat murky what was in his Vitacell that he gave "free" to those recruited for his illegal clinical trial in Kayelitsha.
Since his foundation expected something in return, they were NOT really free.
His employees were given R100 for every person they recruited in the impoverished township, and his bag of free groceries was really a small
compensation for people who found themselves subjected to medical tests and indignities, like being photographed in their underwear . His adverts fell
foul of the advertising standards authority, and he never attempted to make his trials legal by approaching an academic institution or an ethics
He certainly presented himself as a Messiah-type humanitarian, often with benignly outstretched hands.
It was clear that he was a multimillionaire who wasn't afraid to spend, and that it would be advantageous to those who supported his cause.
Mostly he holed himself up in a multi-million-rand mansion in Hout Bay, until he left SA in 2005.
His aim was to employ vocal AIDS-denialists/rethinkers like Antony Brink to cast doubt on proven medical treatments, while the second phase was to
market his VitaCell as an alternative.
One assumes his eventual goal in SA was to gain some government tender or deal to distribute his products in all the clinics in SA (although it never
got to this stage).
This was very possible, since the Mbeki-led government was favorable to denialist theories and stalled the rollout of ARVS at very opportunity.
His main mistake was probably that he targeted Kayelitsha for his experiments, which was one of the few sites in SA that had a very successful ARV
pilot project, run by groups like Doctors without Borders (MSF).
Locals could quickly see what worked and what killed people.
He also invited litigation by making false claims against the Treatment Action Campaign and even the Medicines Control Council, which would eventually
The fact that he hired the grandiosely eccentric Advocate Brink to represent him in court was probably his biggest blunder, and his absurd rants
probably helped to lose the second case against quackery.
A batch of VitaCell was confiscated at the Cape Town harbor, because the products had not been cleared as medicines, supplements or foodstuffs
according to existing laws. The then Deputy Minister of the Food Control Directorate in the Health Department, Antoinette Booyson, however cleared the
products as "foodstuffs" on the recommendation of a homeopath, because the dosages were very low. However, the deputy minister later learned she was
misled: Health-e informed her that the dosages were in fact double of what she had been led to believe, and the bottles had been relabeled at a later
stage. Neither was she aware that Rath would market his products as an alternative to proven ARVs. She was apparently unaware that the trials would
include mega-doses of 20 pills a day!
All this fraud makes it very difficult to say what was in the pills, or whether it was always the same.
Such uncontrolled trials can really do what they like.
Pretty early in the trials Kayelitsha doctors found an uncanny resemblance to the side-effects in some of Rath's "patients" to the ARV efavirenz.
Such mono-therapy with an ARV can cause an initial improvement, but the virus quickly becomes immune and returns with a vengeance.
Noluthando Zondani (who died a terrible and undignified death during the trial) felt dizzy and nauseous from her first dosage of 20 pills, and she
would vomit every time she tried to eat.
Similar reports began to emerge, and the victims and their families were told not to contact any healthcare worker when they became ill, but rather to
alert Rath's employees.
Within hours of such deaths two Rath workers would enter the house and remove all traces of Rath's products, including any empty pill containers.
So this was all done in a way which made it impossible for independent sources to say what was actually in these pills.
In the meantime Rath used people who had died in his trials as success stories, while some later admitted they privately remained on ARV treatments,
even while they publicly endorsed Rath's discourse, due to promises of food and money.
So, while Rath may appear to give things for free, they are really not free at all but advertising for his products.
Of course the presentation is very successful, otherwise I guess he wouldn't be a multimillionaire.
Perhaps in future he should employ actors with market-related salaries.
(Source: "The curious tale of the vitamin seller" by Anso Thom in: The Virus Vitamins and Vegetables
. Edited by Kerry Cullinan and Anso Thom:
Jacana, 2009. Pp. 112-129.)
Wider opinions on Rath products:
edit on 5-12-2012 by halfoldman because: (no reason given)