Rath isn't alone, of course. He wouldn't have been able to kill anywhere near the number of people he did without the willing help of people willing to make his crackpot theories practice.
He found a ready audience in the denierist fools that control South Africa, where his berserk advocacy of multi-vitamin pills as an alternative to anti-retroviral drugs and condoms suited the lunatic delusions of the Mbeki administration and the crazy beliefs of the heath minister, Manto Tshabalala Msimang, ho though fruit a sound means of avoiding HIV infection:
The remedies she advocates for AIDS are beetroot, garlic, lemons and African potatoes. A fairly typical quote, from the Health Minister in a country where eight hundred people die every day from AIDS, is this: ‘Raw garlic and a skin of the lemon – not only do they give you a beautiful face and skin but they also protect you from disease.’ South Africa’s stand at the 2006 World AIDS Conference in Toronto was described by delegates as the ‘salad stall’. It consisted of some garlic, some beetroot, the African potato, and assorted other vegetables. (2)These people are responsibel for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, including neo-natal infants who were infected fromt heir mothers, even though a simple course of antiretroviral drugs is proven to cut mother to child transmission rates by half.
This was evil on a scale that requires comparison to the Nazis, the Khamer Rouge or the murderous thugs of Rwanda. Ray, Mbeki, Tshabalala Msimang, deliberately ignored obvious truth for their own inscrutable purposes.
(Ray at least can be exonerated on the charge of inscrutability - he just wanted to make money - who cares if people died. They were only Africans. African children.)
What makes this in some ways worse than ther Pfizer trials described previously is the wilful denial of fact (3). Pfizer, at least, could argue that they were trying to do some good - thought it would have been a false and hypocritical argument, based on a racist view of Africans as less important than Europeans or Americans - whereas Rath and his fellow conspirators could only operate by consciously refusing to acknowledge truth, by lying, exaggerating and misleading.
And this isn't about over-privilkeged westerners getting conned by dippy practioneers of pseudoscience, but the deliberate and ruthless exploitation of the poorest, most helpless and vulnerable people on the planet - those facing a lingering death from a pitiless disease, without the means to check the claims made about the trweatments being offerred to them.
This is what HIV and AIDS has wrought in Africa:
Twenty-five million people have died from it already, three million in the last year alone, and 500,000 of those deaths were children. In South Africa it kills 300,000 people every year: that’s 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. (4)Rath, Mbeki, Tshabalala Msimang, Anthony Brink, Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick are contributed to these deaths through the lies they told, the myths they did not challenge and the wilful ignorance they pepetuated. I hope these bastards all burn in Hell.
1 - The link leads to a webpage from which you can download 'The Doctor Will Sue You Now,' by Ben Goldacre. It is avaialble in PDF and Word formats. Active asof 11th of April, 2009. (http://www.badscience.net/2009/04/matthias-rath-steal-this-chapter/)
2 - ibid.
3 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2009/04/pfizer-supremely-evil.html
4 - Goldacre, op. cit.