Monday, May 11, 2009

Swine Flu: What's the difference between US pill peddlers and UK ones?

Interesting little comparison this.

According to the Natural Products Insider,
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the Natural Products Association (NPA) and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) are endorsing the following unified advisory for marketers and retailers of dietary supplements:

* Marketers and retailers of dietary supplements are urged to refuse to stock or sell any supplements that are presented as treating or curing swine flu, and
* Marketers and retailers should refrain from promoting any dietary supplement as a cure or treatment for swine flu.
* Anyone who believes they may have swine flu or may have come in contact with the virus should contact a healthcare professional. More information on swine flu and the proper actions to take if you suspect you are ill is available on the Centers for Disease Control Web site.

“There are dietary supplements that have much to offer in terms of enhancing general immune function,” the released statement said. “However, therapies for the treatment of swine flu should only be recommended by qualified healthcare professionals or public health authorities.”

"Marketers and retailers should refrain from promoting any dietary supplement as a cure or treatment for swine flu" - pretty admirable, in my opinion.

How does that compare with the UK stance?

Everyone's favourite science-mangler, Patrick Holford starts with a informercial entitled "Can Vitamin C kill swine flu?". A lovely little example of Dr*T's First Theory, amended to include Patrick Holford articles (we'll leave aside the long time debate about whether it's possible to 'kill' a virus). The article is sharply fisked on the tireless HolfordWatch site.

Mind you, Holford has form when it comes to Vitamin C - he has previously claimed that AZT (an anti-HIV drug) is more harmful and less effective than Vitamin C.

AZT is more harmful and less effective than Vitamin C.

I thought it deserved repeating. So Vitamin C is more effective at combatting AIDS than an anti-HIV drug - which is something his old buddy Matthias Rath thought as well. In fact, those of you who have been stocking up on brain-boosting fish-oils will no doubt remember that Rath bought full page adverts denouncing Aids drugs in South Africa while promoting his vitamin pills. Whenever Guardian columnist Ben Goldacre said as much, Rath sued - and subsequently dropped the case incurring 'alf a million nicker in costs.

It's also a striking coincidence that Rath and Holford are again buddies-in-arms with regards to swine flu - Rath (a la Holford) has published an infomercial on his site and expounds the benefits of....? anyone? anyone? Bewler? Correct - Vitamin C (amongst some other oh-so-scientific micronutrients).

Helios Homeopathy have followed a similar "Here is some information on Swine Flu and what you should do (oh, and buy some homeopathic products)"-infomercial pattern, including this Arthur Weasley McWeasle wording
Homoeopathy has a long history in the treatment and prevention of epidemic diseases. However it must be stressed that there is at present only anecdotal and bibliographical evidence that homoeopathic prophylaxis works
The Irish Homoepathy Society are joining a Swine Flu Taskforce, which will be extremely helpful -
The [homeopathic] organisations are being urged to exchange validated information and details to determine the most effective remedies to be used in the treatment of the condition.
I wonder will they only concentrate on homeopathic remedies or actually look at effective ones?

Holland & Barrett wouldn't do anything as clumsy as advertise swine flu products. No. They just put a big banner saying "SWINE FLU WATCH" and then list some completely unconnected products underneath it (including Vitamin C) and in no way are they saying that these products are for swine flu - definately not. No sir. The banner is just there to fill space.

The Alliance for Natural Health hasn't succumbed to selling or advertising pills for the pig flu, though - there's no point because swine flu "looks to be massively overblown by the media, by governments and by the drug companies."

Perhaps a hint of a Swine Flu conspiracy theory there?



  1. Holford discusses a Rath formula for teh flu without ever mentioning that it is Rath - mind, it has proven tricky to keep up with all the updates of that post...

    Plus, of course, that Rath formula is also the Aids formula and anti-cancer formula and - basically - good for whatever ails you, with the green tea, the vitamin C and all.

  2. Convenient that there is such a simple and easily understood solution to, well everything.

    Silly doctors spending years in medical school and then specialising in just one small area after further years of training. If only they knew.

  3. I know.

    Just prescribe vitamin C for everything.


  4. Our local branch of Holland and Barrett has a sign in the window saying "Swine Flu Prevention Pack".

  5. Unfortunately most people commenting on this site appear to be ignorant of the great benefits vitamin C offers humans. I dare say if you were sailors a couple of hundred years ago, and were suffering from scurvy, you would accept some toxic “snake oil” rather than eat a few oranges.

    I suggest you all do some real research yourselves, and stop regurgitating the FUD spread by all the pharmaceutical shills.

    Please understand health is gained and maintained by healthy living, not by ingesting toxic substances, i.e. drugs. The medical business is a “business”, and those in positions of influence will do what is needed to keep the business profitable!

    Enough said,