23 November 2004
TAC statement on THO March to TAC offices
TAC exposes profiteer Matthias Rath
Minister of Health blocks the Medicines Control Council from litigating against Matthias Rath
Text extracts of THO/Rath statements defaming the TAC
TAC Supports Traditional Healers
TAC calls for investment into and regulation of traditional medicine
On 23 November the Traditional Healers' Organisation (THO) and the Dr Rath Foundation will demonstrate outside TAC offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The THO and Rath complain that TAC only promotes antiretrovirals for HIV/AIDS treatment and that TAC ignores traditional medicines and nutrition. The TAC says this is not true.
The TAC recognises the role of traditional healers in caring for both the psychological and physical well-being of many people in South Africa. We also believe that nutrition is central to HIV/AIDS care.
TAC supports the following campaigns for traditional healers:
The THO has made inaccurate allegations against the TAC which we correct here:
We believe these are areas of disagreement between the TAC and the THO:
We ask the THO to answer the following questions:
1.Which traditional medicines have been shown to be safe and effective for treating HIV/AIDS?
2.What is the THO doing to inform the public about these medicines as well as their correct use?
3.Will the THO publish a list of all herbs and compounds that it recommends for every illness with the evidence of safety and efficacy?
4.What is the THO's policy for dealing with traditional healers who act unethically?
5.Why is the THO's march being supported by people such as Anthony Brink who deny that HIV causes AIDS?
TAC wants to work with traditional healers
The TAC is saddened that THO leaders have chosen to march against us. We call for traditional healers from all organisations including THO to work together and genuinely promote responsible use of traditional medicines.
We warn that Dr Rath has financial interests in selling his own products. He has been stopped from advertising them in England because he makes false claims. Now he may be trying to sell his unproven and possibly dangerous medicines to poor people in poor countries.
South Africa is reforming its health-care system; traditional healers must not be left out. But, alliances with companies like that of the Rath Foundation will discredit and divide traditional healers.
[END OF STATEMENT ON THO MARCH - BACK TO CONTENTS]
Warning: Who is Dr. Matthias Rath and what is he selling?
Dr. Matthias Rath has recently begun working with the Traditional Healers' Organisation to mislead the public on HIV/AIDS and the work of the Treatment Action Campaign.
We all want cures for the diseases that afflict us. Even though medical science has improved tremendously over the last few hundred years, there are still many unanswered questions. There are seldom quick and easy solutions. Dr. Rath is taking advantage of people with real problems and offering them quick and easy fixes which are expensive and do not work. We urge you not to be deceived by him.
[END OF STATEMENT ON RATH -BACK TO CONTENTS]]
Minister of Health blocks MCC from litigating against Matthias Rath
In recent months, Dr. Matthias Rath has run a series of libelous attack advertisements on the South African Medicines Control Council in the Mail & Guardian. Rath accuses the MCC of being in the pockets of drug companies. The TAC has learnt that the Minister of Health blocked the MCC from litigating against Rath for defamation. We therefore ask the Minister of Health:
[END OF STATEMENT ON MINISTER OF HEALTH AND RATH - BACK TO CONTENTS
Extracts of text from THO statements and pamphlets
We reprint below extracts from THO statements and pamphlets released in the last few days which demonstrate the false allegations they have made against the TAC.
"On Wednesday the 17th of November 2004 the Traditional Healers Organization (THO) and the Dr. Rath Health Foundation announced in a joint press statement that they stand united against the "profit over people strategy" of the pharmaceutical investment business with disease in South Africa."
"The THO, the largest Traditional Healer formation in the country and a member organization of the pharmaceutically connected TAC, will Picket the Treatment Action Campaign’s (TAC’s) Gauteng Provincial Office and the National Office in Cape Town simultaneously on Tuesday the 23rd of November 2004."
"This is an opportune time for these pickets as it coincides with the sixteen days of activism on violence against women and children. It is mainly women and children who are affected by HIV/AIDS and that are being abused by the lack of information on African Traditional Medicines and other treatment options, not to mention being given drugs like AZT and Nevirapin that have devastating side effects. There is nothing more violent than giving an innocent child, who has no choice, deadly drug that impact on their long term health."
"The reason for the picket is that we believe the general public should be fully informed about the deadly side effects of anti-retroviral (ARVs) treatments which the TAC, pharmaceutical companies and the media tend to ignore or down play the major side effects and the stringent compliance issues. We are also picketing to let them know that they should promote information on all forms of treatments, not just ARVs. They must stop misinforming the public about the safety and efficacy issues in relation to African Traditional Medicines (ATMs), Complementary Medicines (CMs), supplements and good nutrition. Numerous times the TAC, pharmaceutical companies and the media slander and ridicule ATMs, CMs, supplements and nutrition without reason, their statements are totally unfounded. When they are informed about research evidence they denounce the evidence without even looking at any of the materials. This must stop and people must be fully informed so as to make the best decision for their own health, whether it be the choice to use ARVs, TMs, CMs, supplements or good nutrition solely or in combination, that is the individual’s choice."
"The TAC and PMA have ridiculed Traditional Medicine and Traditional Health Practitioners consistently without basis for too long. To attempt to put down those people who advocate for ATM, CMs, supplements and nutrition by calling them ‘quacks’ and the like is a true indication of disrespect and bears testimony to the fact that the TAC and the PMA do not take Traditional Medicines and the profession seriously. They only use Traditional Health Practitioners as stooges to promote their own agenda, stealing valuable Indigenous Knowledge (IK), which is used as the basis for making western drugs where they isolate and synthesise these natural substances. None of the knowledge that is stolen from Traditional Healers globally is ever acknowledged and the pharmaceutical cartels make a fortune off the backs of Traditional Health Practitioners by making synthetic drugs with massive side effects. The original natural products in 99.9% of cases when used correctly do not have side effects. It is amazing that the pharmaceutical industry and the TAC can continue to ridicule ATMs, other CMs, supplements and good nutrition when more than 60% of western drugs are based on natural traditional medicines. We ask why western medicine bases their drugs on Traditional Medicines if they are not effective? The only reason pharmaceutical companies synthesise these Traditional Medicines is for patenting reasons so they can make a fortune in royalties from IK, as natural products are not able to be patented."
"This nation currently faces an unprecedented attack from two sides on the rights of our people to have free access to life saving natural and Traditional Medicines:
"1.The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has been financially groomed by the Rockefeller Foundation, which holds shares in over 200 pharmaceutical corporations. The Rockefeller family was historically the driving force behind the creation of what is known today as the pharmceutical investment business. A major part of this years funding comes from the Atlantic Philantrophies, where a member of the board of directors is the financial advisor of the Rockefeller family. Accordingly TAC tries to silence all critics of the devastating side effects and ineffectivesness of AIDS Drugs (ARVs) and promoters of non-toxic natural treatments such as ATMs and essential nutrients. With their budget of R18 million this year, the TAC conducts massive public campaigns to coerce the South African government into distributing these toxic pharmaceutical drugs to the most vulnerable parts of its population. Sadly, most low-ranking members and supporters of the TAC are completely unaware that the organisation has been directed to advance the financial interests of the pharmaceutical business with disease. With two out of three drugs on the world market produced under patent protection in the US and the UK alone, the health care systems of the 200 countries of the world are being held hostage in this new form or Pharmaceutical Colonialism.
"2.In order to ensure futher billion-rand profits from the sale of patented synthethic drugs the pharmaceutical industry is abusing its financial influence over the Medicines Control Council (MCC) to ban all natural and traditional therapies in South Africa. The MCC proposed recently to put all natural therapies under a pharmaceutical regulatory control system that will effectively outlaw all natural options to the toxic, mostly ineffective but extremely profitable, synthetic drugs of the pharmaceutical industry. This ban would make traditional and natural medicine inaccessible to those most in need in Sout Africa, namely the poor and black population. MCC’s decision making external consultants are supposed to protect the people from dangerous pharmaceutical. Unbeknown to the public and government these people who have only the interests of the industry in mind, not the health of the people. In fear of a public lawsuit that might reveal the full extent of this scandal the MCC no longer challenges public statements by the Dr. Rath Health Foundation that all of its decision-making members are directly or indirectly on the payroll of the pharmaceutical industry."
"The THO supports the enlightened position of the South African government toward African Traditonal Medicines and natural therapies. However, we see these nobel efforts being sabotaged by unaccountable individuals and institutions at lower levels who refuse or are not willing to implement the government policies for the people."
"We DEMAND: ...
The TAC disclose all their indirect financial connections with pharmaceutical investment groups; and that they be disbanded to be substituted by a truly independent organisation that fulfills the TAC Constiution and informes the South African public comprehensively about the full story on all forms of treatment options – ATMs, CMs, supplements, good nutrition and ARVs.
A formal investigation into the MCC’s decision-making members’ financial conflict of interests, to root out the drug industry’s influence once and for all."
"The TAC ... be disbanded"
"Dr. Matthias Rath is the world renowned researcher for natural health therapies who led the scientific breakthrough against cardiovascular disease, cancer and viral diseases by natural means. He is the founder of the Dr. Rath Health Foundation that is leading the worldwide struggle against the interests of the pharmaceutical investment business with disease and for free access to life saving natural therapies. With his campaign "Break the Chains of Pharmaceutical Colonialism", the Dr. Rath Health Foundation supports the fight of the South African people and the government to make effective and affordable natural health a reality for all."
"More than 60% of western medicines are based on Traditional Medicines. Traditional Healers from around the globe benefit nothing from this while pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars and these medicines are not as effective as the natural product that were modeled from - a Traditional Medicine. Scientists and Pharmacists take the natural product, isolate a certain ingredient and make a synthetic (not natural) version of the active ingredient. Then they state that Traditional Medicines do not work. They steal the information, make money, then slander Traditional Medicines and misrepresent them by talking of side effects and the like.
"The fact is Traditional Medicines are not the ones with the side effects. It is the process of isolating one ingredient that causes the side effects. Scientists do not realise that God made the plants as a whole with all ingredients having their purpose. The so called ‘active ingredient’ may be the one that treats a particular illness but the other substances are necessary to balance that ingredient and prevent side effects."
"The TAC should leave the government to do its work."
"The government had justifiable concerns about the ARV rollout being unsure of the full benefits of ARVs weighed against the severe side effects; they are concerned about the long term health of the nation, not band-aid tactics that worsen the severity of the situation in the end. The concerns are correct and structures still are not in place and the people and medical staff are not informed about the compliance issues and side effects.
"The TAC must stop these intimidatory tactics toward the government. These tactics only assist the pharmaceutical cartels and definitely not the people of South Africa. The government is attempting to ensure that the people of South Africa are fully aware of all aspects of ARV treatment and that all necessary processes are in place to guarantee appropriate access to treatment, information and food are available first and foremost.
"The TAC forced the government to implement the rollout of ARV before staff were trained, food guaranteed, an assurance that government could prvide enough ARVs and full information given to the general public in relation to the drastic side effects of ARVs."
[END OF EXTRACTS OF THO STATEMENTS -BACK TO CONTENTS]
[END OF NEWSLETTER]