Duck off

Welcome to Quackdown!, a joint project of the Treatment Action Campaign and the Community Media Trust, whose mission is to expose people and companies who sell untested health remedies. They also host QuackBase!, a database of unsubstantiated health claims and the attempts to expose them.

At last.

There are just too many of these charlatans about. And, although I probably should, I don’t actually care about the Constantia housewife with more money than sense. Because the ca$h that she chucks out on her skin cream which will knock twenty years off her face in two days is small change to her.
But when I see people – desperate people – who are HIV positive and have nothing: no hope, no job, no home and certainly no money and they are promised a cure for their disease by some quack looking to make a quick buck – well, that’s sickening.

And there are a lot of quacks out there, simply for the reason that there are a lot of desperate people out there as well. You only have to look at the Quackbase page to see the number of false claims that have been made around treating or curing HIV and Aids. I see it in my work very regularly and it is one of the most disgusting things I come across, because they are literally killing people and they know that their treatments don’t work, yet they continue making the claims and selling their useless and deadly wares.

Take Peter Michael von Maltitz, for example. Apparently, he’s claiming that his herbal remedy can cure HIV and he’s peddling it in Masiphumelele, just down the road. What interests me is the note made that he is operating from premises 100 metres from a ARV treatment centre. What is also interesting is those premises are run by NGO Catholic Welfare. I don’t recall seeing that sort of thing on their mission statement.

So well done TAC and your partners. I don’t agree with all your work, but Quackdown! is a brilliant idea and deserves to be well publicised. These vultures picking on the most vulnerable individuals in our society need to be stopped and this is an important weapon in that battle.

2 thoughts on “Duck off

  1. I find it interesting how unsubstantiated statements on Quackdown can form the basis of people getting all upset and unhappy. The “work for Love” operation that used to operate at the Pink house next to the Government clinic had asked for volunteers to contribute alternative treatments to the local community. We do not peddle anything and gave our services for free. When this accusation came I had only seen 2 people with suspected aids all year. Hardly a study in aids. Of those 2 people, I suspected that one had aids and suggested they go and be tested at the clinic next door. The other person said that she had just been tested at the clinic and been found to be HIV positive but that her CD count was still so high that she was not given anti-retrovirals, and please did I have something for her in the mean time to make her feel good. So how am I interfering or causing serious damage?

  2. Peter von Maltitz > Hi Peter, and thanks for coming here and commenting.
    Sadly, having viewed your website, I can already see that there is very little common ground between us.
    For me, your study and support of homeopathy is enough for me to declare you a fraud. And yes, I recognise that you may argue that you hold a different viewpoint from me, but in this case (and not wanting to sound hugely arrogant, but I’m going to anyway), mine is correct and yours is not.
    I have no respect for individuals who promote homeopathy as a valid therapy for anything.

    Onto the matter in hand, however.
    I agree that the TAC’s claims against you are merely that: claims. However, if you have done nothing wrong then surely the investigation will find that you have done nothing wrong.
    In my view, given the huge problems with ARV delivery and the history of Mbeki and Manto, anyone that sets up or takes part in an operation which offers alternative (untried, untested, unproven (and in some cases disproven)) therapies right next door to a Government HIV/AIDS clinic is asking for trouble. It’s simple a foolish thing to do: you’re playing with fire.
    Right there is enough reason for “people getting all upset and unhappy”, as far as I am concerned. The sooner that traditional medicine is completely separated from HIV/AIDS, the quicker we can begin to make inroads into the proper treatment of this virus and the misery which it brings. While some companies and individuals (Rath et al) have preyed on uneducated and frightened patients, all too many patients simply do not understand that – whether marketed as such or not – traditional remedies are not a substitute for ARVs. Offering traditional medicines right next door to a HIV/AIDS clinic perpetuates this misunderstanding and it should not be allowed.
    Please note that I am not just standing on some soapbox in the middle of Constantia, distant from these issues. I am speaking from experience, as I deal with HIV+ patients from informal settlements every single day of my working life.
    Peter, even if you are working for free, if you genuinely are not promoting your practices as a “cure for HIV or AIDS” as the TAC allege, while you continue to operate with HIV+ and AIDS patients, as far as I am concerned, you remain part of the problem.

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