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HIV denialist to speak at ESF

Psyduck | 21.09.2008 07:56 | Bio-technology | Gender | Health

The 'Dr Rath Health Foundation', who will today join a workshop at the European Social Forum, have been involved in spreading deadly misinformation about medication for HIV, and promoting other ineffective treatments for serious illness, sometimes with fatal consequences.

The 'Dr Rath Health Foundation' being allowed to run a workshop at ESF is an insult to the patient advocacy campaigns who helped develop effective HIV medications, the medical organisations who work to provide effective treatment for disadvantaged people internationally, and campaigning organisations who work for the removal of economic and organisational barriers to getting life-prolonging treatments to people who need them. Most of all it is an insult to the 75% of adults and 90% of children who don't have access to the treatment which can prolong life by decades.

The 'Dr Rath Health Foundation' should not be able to use the ESF as a platform to promote deadly and distracting misinformation which can only delay getting real treatment to those who need it.

Dr Ben Goldacre, a medical doctor & journalist who with the Guardian newspaper recently won a libel case exposing the activities of the 'Dr Rath Health Foundation' in South Africa, gave the following statement:

'Matthias Rath is a businessman and the head of a large international food supplement pill empire who has campaigned, tragically with some success, to hinder the use of antiretroviral drugs for Aids in Africa. This strikes me as a very simple unambiguously bad thing to do.

He has used legal action repeatedly to stifle criticism of his activities, suing not just me and the Guardian (without success) but also - shamefully - sued organisations who are fighting desperately to save lives in Africa, such as Medecins Sans Frontiere and the Treatment Action Campaign. They do not need the distraction.

He has performed illegal clinical trials, and denounced antiretroviral treatment as ineffective and dangerous while promoting vitamin pills as the answer to the Aids epidemic. He promoted the activities of his previous right-hand man Anthony Brink when he made vile and bizarre demands for violence against the heroic Aids campaigner Zackie Achmat, who has fought the drug companies and his own government to improve access to effective medication in South Africa. Anthony Brink also boasts that he introduced Thabo Mbeki to Aids denialism. If true then this was an act with serious consequences.

It is vitally important to think critically about the abysmal record of the pharmaceutical companies in Africa, but the reality is that antiretroviral drugs are effective, and we should be seeking to improve safe access to them around the world, not hinder it as Matthias Rath has campaigned tirelessly to do. The notion of a businessman such as Matthias Rath speaking at a global activists' meeting fills me with horror and despair.'

Further information:

The workshop where the 'Dr Rath foundation' is due to speak:
South Africa Treatment Action Campaign:
Libel case recently won by the Guardian newspaper, allowing Dr Rath's activities to be exposed:

Background on access to effective treatment for HIV:



Display the following 6 comments

  1. Yes.. but — Dr No
  2. dear psyduck, birds of a feather doth flock & shit together. — O As If ( = iosaf )
  3. NO, Dr No. — Scaramouche
  4. Distraction at best — Psyduck
  5. yeah but no but.. — Dr No
  6. Which other pill peddler would get invited to the ESF? — Scaramouche