Matthias Rath's Cancer Treatment Criticized

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

The Swiss Study Group for Complementary and Alternative Methods in Cancer (SKAK) and the Swiss Cancer League (SCL) is warning against the theories and products of Matthias Rath, M.D. According to the report, Rath claims that:

The SKAK/SCL report concludes that Rath's underlying assumptions have never been scientifically tested and, based on current state knowledge, a cancer-preventing or curing action is not proven for any of his products, which cannot be legally marketed in Switzerland.

Rath also claims that conventional cancer therapy has never demonstrated a life-prolonging effect and often accelerates the disease's progress. This statement is false. Ads he has placed in many large newspaper have praised "natural health" methods and described the war against Iraq as part of a conspiracy to create a climate of fear that would enable the "drug cartel" to remain viable [2].

In 2000, the British Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint against claims in a Matthias Rath Ltd. newsletter—"GOOD HEALTH, do it yourself"—which had stated that the company's vitamins could prevent heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and other conditions mentioned in the newsletter [3]. In 2002, the agency upheld a complaint against a claim by the Health4Us Foundartion of Emeryville, California, which had advertised in a British press that Rath's "remarkable natural approach is capable of controlling the spread of cancerous cells in the human body without damaging healthy cells." [4]

In 2005, the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa ordered the Dr. Rath Foundation Africa to stop advertising that dietary supplements are safer and more effective than chemotherapy against HIV infections. The challenged ad, published in the November 26, 2004 Mail & Guardian, was headlined "Why should South Africans continue to be poisoned with AZT? THERE’S A NATURAL ANSWER TO AIDS.” The objectionable claims included:


  1. Dr. Matthias Rath's Cellular Health™. Berne, Switzerland: Swiss Cancer League, 2003.
  2. Dr. Rath's Open Letter Campaign. Dr. Rath Health Foundation Web site, accessed Aug 26, 2003.
  3. Matthias Rath Ltd. British Advertising Standards Authority adjudication, Nov 8, 2000.
  4. Health4Us Foundation. British Advertising Standards Authority adjudication, Oct 30, 2002.
  5. Ruling of the ASA Directorate in the Matter between Treatment Action Center and Dr Rath Health Foundation Africa, March 9, 2005

This article was revised on March 15, 2005.

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