Share The Wealth by Chris Gupta
March 01, 2004

More On Regulatory Abuse

More Regulatory Abuse form the industry prostitutes. To follow the thread, don't forget to check the links embellished in the article.

See also: Opinion of the Quackwatch site

Chris Gupta

December 17, 2003

The PAN Scandal, It's time for a Vitamin Debate on National Television From Dr Sandra Cabot

Since the Pan Labs scandal has grabbed the headlines I have watched as the Complementary Health Care industry has been used as the scapegoat for corporate greed and dishonesty.

I would like to have my say as a medical doctor who has been researching and using nutritional medicine for thirty years. I have had my share of criticism as the author of the best selling book "The Liver Cleansing Diet” but I always believed that healthy debate and disagreement was good for stimulating lateral thought and forging public opinion. However I must say that the way in which the whole ideology of the complementary health care industry has been targeted in the wake of the Pan debacle is simply not cricket!

Experts in the field of nutritional medicine have not been given a say, or really even "a look in” to the defamatory game. The headlines and editorial have been monopolized by business people, stuffy Professors of conventional medicine, politicians and consumer watchdogs.

I watched Dr Ian Brighthope who is president of the Complementary Health Care Council and Professor Alistair MacLennan giving their opinions on National morning television and thought to myself "wow this is unfair!” Dr Ian Brighthope was interviewed first and was very nice, as he tried to defend the value of nutritional medicine and supplements. Unfortunately he was interviewed first and did not realise that his opponent had saved all his venom for the last say. Professor MacLennan contends that alternative medicine has the potential to cause serious harm. MacLennan said that the Pan affair "has given an opportunity for people to say we're not really having to debate how much snake is in the snake oil, or whether there is goanna contaminating the snake oil. We are really having to debate should you be on snake oil at all? ; and is this snake oil doing you any good, or, more of a worry, is this snake oil doing you harm?”

I think MacLennan's comments are ridiculously irrelevant, as what does snake oil have to do with the sub-standard manufacture of an anti-histamine drug? Well it seems that fanatics will take any opportunity to get on their hobby horse. MacLennan is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and has probably not been challenged with trying to help chronically ill people who have been disappointed with drug orientated medicine. Perhaps he should keep his know all opinion to the parts of the anatomy in which he is an expert.

John Dwyer's attempts to discredit my Liver Cleansing Diet Book unwittingly helped make my book very famous.

Of course there would be no show without Professor John Dwyer who has consistently rubbished complementary medicine for many years, and has called the practice of nutritional medicine anti-science, dangerous and misleading. John Dwyer's attempts to discredit my Liver Cleansing Diet Book unwittingly helped make my book very famous. He would usually wait till I was overseas to start the anti-Dr Cabot campaign and when I called for a debate, he was no where to be seen.

Now I was surprised when Bob Carr had his say. Carr thinks the Pan affair has given opportunity to assess "some of the exploitation of gullible people” that took place under the guise of alternative therapy and complementary medicine, suggesting some therapies were not much better than those sold by the medicine-man hucksters of the 19th century”. He inferred that we have more snake oil sales men now, than we did in the medieval ages! Well Bob have you been challenged with thousands of unwell people who have found that conventional drugs made them sicker? Where is your experience and scientific background that enable you to be an expert on the ethical and scientific standards of Complementary Medicine?

The Australian Consumer Association was represented in the scandal by Mr. Martyn Goddard. Mr. Goddard must have a lot of experience in clinical medicine as he seems to believe that he must protect the people from the charlatans and sales men who are trying to sell them unproven remedies that are akin to snake oil.

Wow we have so much snake oil around these days perhaps we should do a clinical trial on it it just may have the healthy essential fatty acids to boost your brain power. Goddard states that complementary medicines should not be released onto the market unless they have undergone the same rigorous scientific scrutiny that is applied to new drugs to prove that they are safe and effective. Well it would have been good if clinical trials and tests had detected the toxicity of the cholesterol lowering drug called Lipobay before its release into a market of unsuspecting guinea pigs. Lipobay was subject to a world-wide withdrawal (except for Japan), because it caused a spate of serious muscle diseases that resulted in death in a significant number of people who were taking it.

And then there is the drug called Rezeulin that was released onto the market several years ago, as a new treatment for diabetics. Pity that it caused acute liver breakdown and death in so many people, that adverts were posted in all American newspapers to tell consumers to stop taking it immediately. Yes it would be nice if drug companies had tests and trials that were infallible that could be used for drugs and nutritional supplements.

And then you must remember the HRT scandal that achieved media notoriety in July 2002 and created a bomb shell in conventional medicine. This was because the American Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Study found that the advice doctors and drug companies had been giving women for 20 years about HRT was no longer strictly correct. In contrast to what women had been promised, conventional HRT did not protect them from cardiovascular disease, and indeed increased the risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. Yes it was a surprise to see how quickly over 20 years of clinical research by drug companies could be turned on its head. The legal fraternity is now cautioning doctors to get their patients to sign consent forms, which detail the dangers of HRT before they can receive a prescription. It seems that nothing is perfectly safe to take any more!

So now we have a "squeaky clean” pharmaceutical and medical industry calling the supporters of nutritional medicine snake oil salesmen well it's hardly cricket! I think its time for a decent match of rugby league football where the brave opponents can have a good fight. It's time for a real rough game cricket is just too nice! [] Now who should be on the opposing teams? 1. Professors and medical doctors who do not approve of the use of supplements 2. Medical doctors and professors who have been using nutritional medicine for years Yes it could be the fossils versus the snakes it would be heated, passionate, and venomous and it would be fun we know Australians are a sporting nation, so let the public decide.

Facts to discuss [] The Pan debacle arose because of the substandard manufacturing of a "Travacalm” drug (anti-histamine) and not a nutritional supplement.

[] Why was the substandard manufacturing of an anti-histamine drug used as weapon against the whole ideology of nutritional & herbal medicine?

[] People die regularly because of side effects from drugs and rarely (if ever) from nutritional & herbal supplements.

[] Contrary to what the opponents say about the validity of nutritional and herbal medicine, there is a huge volume & data base of clinical research into the efficacy of these substances.

[] Corporate greed and dishonesty should not be able to use complementary medicine as a scapegoat for its sins.

[] Many small businesses may become bankrupt because the whole CHC industry has been tarred with the same brush as Pan labs there are many good Australian manufacturers of nutritional supplements that cannot be compared to Pan. Why should the small players (retailers & distributors) be made to pay for the corruption and greed of a minority? Where is corporate justice here?

[] Company and individuals that commit offences such as insider trading, insolvency trading, embezzlement etc, are now being scrutinized well so should pill manufacturers that put peoples lives at risk.

[] Medicine that is based wholly upon the use of "proven” pharmaceutical drugs does not treat the causes of disease- it is focused on treating the symptoms The Australian public wants nutritional medicine they have proven this by spending 3 to 4 times as much money on supplements, than they do on drugs obviously this is because they are not fully satisfied with conventional and/or drug orientated medicine.

[] Why are more and more doctors doing courses in complementary and nutritional medicine? The courses offered by the Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental medicine are extremely popular with doctors who are interested in learning how to prescribe nutritional supplements.

Sandra Cabot


posted by Chris Gupta on Monday March 1 2004
updated on Saturday September 24 2005

URL of this article:



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