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12 Mar 2008 14:49
Vitamin salesperson Matthias Rath is patently dishonest, lying whenever it suits him, the Cape High Court was told on Wednesday.
“We say that Dr Rath is, on his own showing, not an honest person,” the Treatment Action Campaign’s (TAC) advocate, Geoff Budlender, said.
Judge Dumisani Zondi is hearing a bid by the TAC and the South African Medical Association for an order forcing the government to halt Rath’s distribution of multivitamins in black townships, and to act on his claims that they can reverse the course of Aids.
Rath urges people taking his products not to use antiretroviral drugs, which he says are toxic.
The TAC says this has led to a number of deaths.
The TAC also wants action to stop what it says are Rath’s unauthorised clinical trials on humans.
Budlender said that in a series of publications and statements, Rath and his “alter ego”, the Dr Rath Health Foundation, had referred repeatedly to their “clinical study” on recipients of the vitamins.
The goal of the study was reportedly to show that vitamins and other micro-nutrients alone reverse the course of Aids.
Budlender said now that the legality of these activities is at issue, Rath had sought in his answering affidavit to pass the vitamin distribution off as an activity of the South African National Civics Organisation, and to deny that he or the foundation ever conducted clinical trials.
“This is patently false,” Budlender said.
He said that in the affidavit Rath and the foundation also lied about the outcome of a TAC application in 2005 for a defamation interdict against Rath.
Budlender said that in a statement after the ruling, the foundation claimed the court found that the reason the TAC had been opposing Rath was “because they want to spread disease and death amongst the people of Khayelitsha and South Africa as a whole”.
“That’s a lie,” Budlender said.
The foundation had also claimed that the court stated that “we [the foundation] could not—yet—conclusively prove that the TAC operates as a front for the pharmaceutical industry”.
Said Budlender: “What the court actually stated was: ‘The evidence shows that as a matter of deliberate policy the applicant [TAC] has not received monies from drug companies either directly or indirectly and it has implemented mechanisms to preclude any such eventuality’.
“No honest person could possibly make the statements which are made by [Rath and the foundation] in the pamphlets which they distributed, and in the answering affidavits in this matter.”—Sapa
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