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SKEPTOID BLOG:

The Most Powerful Crackpot on Earth

by Guy McCardle

September 15, 2011

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Donate Matthias Rath is a medical doctor turned vitamin entrepreneur. He runs the Dr. Rath Health Foundation and is the former head of Cardiovascular Research at the Linus Pauling Institute. He has been called "the most powerful crackpot on the Earth" due to the large amount of funds he has gotten from investors who can see the value of selling vitamin pills to cure the most serious of ailments. He advocates the use of his vitamins instead of using conventional medicines (which he calls dangerous and toxic). As a result of his influence, thousands have died where they might otherwise have lived. Read on to find out more about this dangerous man and his highly controversial opinions and practices.

Rath has offices all over the world including locations in the US, UK, Spain, France, South Africa and Russia. In Germany and the UK he ran advertisements claiming that "90 percent of patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer die within months of starting treatment" and suggested that three million lives could be saved if cancer patients stopped being treated by conventional medicine. He explained that the pharmaceutical industry was deliberately letting people die for financial gain and that cancer treatments were "poisonous compounds" with "not even one effective treatment". Rath was ordered by a Berlin court to stop claiming that his vitamins could cure cancer, or face a 250,000 fine.

The court ruling centered on the death of a nine-year-old boy, Dominik Feld, who died after being taken off chemotherapy and put on Rath's vitamin treatment. The boy's mother supports Rath and denies her son even had cancer. She blames scientific medicine and the drug industry for her son's death. Rather than accept their son's tragic fate, she and her husband turned to Rath's unconventional therapy for young Dominik.

After making millions in America and Europe, Rath turned his eye to the AIDS ravaged nation of South Africa. In South Africa AIDS kills 300,000 people every year: that is eight hundred people every day, or one every two minutes. This one country has 6.3 million people who are HIV positive, including 30 per cent of all pregnant women. There are 1.2 million AIDS orphans under the age of seventeen. Sensing a business opportunity, Rath began to take out full page advertisements in South African newspapers. The answer to the AIDS epidemic is here," he proclaimed. The ads stated that anti-retroviral drugs were poisonous, and a conspiracy to kill patients and make money. "Stop AIDS Genocide by the Drug Cartels" read one headline. "Why should South Africans continue to be poisoned with AZT? There is a natural answer to AIDS." HIs answer came in the form of his vitamin pills. "Multivitamin treatment is more effective than any toxic AIDS drug. Multivitamins cut the risk of developing AIDS in half."

After doing some research on Rath it became clear why he chose to expand his business to South Africa. Many prominent politicians and healthcare professionals shared the same AIDS dissident philosophy as he did. Thabo Mbeki, the President of South Africa at the time, was well known as an "AIDS protester". He gave credence and support to the claims of a small band of campaigners who stated that AIDS does not exist, that it is not caused by HIV, and that anti-retroviral medication does more harm than good. His government refused to roll out proper treatment programs. They refused to accept free donations of drugs, and they refused to accept grant money from the Global Fund to buy drugs. All the while, thousands of South Africans continued to die from AIDS. One study estimates that between 2000 and 2005 there were 330,000 unnecessary deaths and 35,000 babies unnecessarily born with HIV because of the failure to implement a cheap and simple mother-to-child-transmission prevention program. It wasn't AIDS that was killing babies and children, the dissidents continued to protest: it was the anti-retroviral medication.

In addition to his views on HIV and AIDS, Rath shares some other highly controversial beliefs. He feels that many of the negative events of the last century have been caused by big pharmaceutical and oil companies. Rath claims that World War II was started and exploited by their interests. In court filings, Rath and his lawyers write that the pharmaceutical industry started apartheid in South Africa as part of a global conspiracy to "conquer and control the entire African continent." Former Nazi officials and the German chemical company IG Farben are specifically mentioned as playing a central role in the alleged conspiracy. In these documents, Rath also compares his adversaries in court to Hitler's storm troopers. He goes as far as suggesting that the pharmaceutical industry controls international politics today and that they allowed 9/11 to occur. He believes they started the Iraq war to divert attention away from their failures.

Rath's old boss (and Nobel Prize laureate) Linus Pauling once said that "the key to having good ideas is to have lots of ideas and throw away the bad ones". The problem, of course, is knowing how to recognize the bad ones. Rath has embraced his bad ideas and built an empire on them. With this in mind, there is some irony that Pauling thought of Rath as his successor.

* To find out more on this topic, read this excellent piece by Ben Goldacre.

by Guy McCardle

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