by Keith Stewart
Earlier this week the Chief Medical Officer of the Auckland District Health Board, Dr Margaret Wilsher issued a statement saying, “no evidence exists to confidently say that high-dosage Vitamin C therapy is either safe or effective.”
She lied. High dose intravenous vitamin C branded as Astor L 500 was gazetted as a fully registered medicine by Medsafe in January this year. To satisfy Medsafe Astor L 500 is required by law to have a safety record that indicates no risk or harm to health. Put simply, Dr Wilsher, it is safe. If you have a problem with that, take it up with Medsafe.
Dr Wilsher and the entire membership of the Auckland City Hospital Clinical Practice Committee, who advised her, should be prosecuted by the Ministry of Health for their failure to act in the best interests of the public they serve.
According to the Medical Council of New Zealand, “Good doctors are…honest and trustworthy and act with integrity.”
Neither Dr Wilsher nor Dr David Geller, a member of her Clinical Practic Committee, have shown themselves to be either honest or turstworthy, and in the case of Dr Geller, has failed “…to keep [their] knowledge and skills up to date.”
By the Medical Council’s own definitions, neither is a “good doctor” and it is the responsibility of the Minister of Health to question why they hold their current positions and if that situation should continue. Indeed, it is difficult to read through the Medical Council’s Good Medical Practice guide and find any expectations that either of these individuals fulfil.
Dr. Geller even went so far as to declare, in a debate about the science of vitamin c treatment during his appearance on 60 minutes last Wednesday, that, “We as a group believe it’s harmful”. I assume he meant “we” to be the Clinical Practice Committee, but surely this is a debate about the science of the situation, so what he or his group “believe” is irrelevant.
They might believe, as Dr Geller expressed as a possibility, that a passing bus is capable of curing a critically ill patient, they might believe in the dead all travelling to paradise after Auckland City Hospital’s treatment fails. They might even believe in the God of Abraham, but these beliefs are of no value in considering the efficacy of vitamin C as a valid or valuable treatment.
Dr Geller and his fellow committee members might believe that vitamin C is dangerous and ineffective, but that is not their role. Their role is to consider the scientific literature and make a scientifically relevant judgement. Anybody who is familiar with the literature, from the fundamental scientific work of Linus Pauling to the latest research conducted in New Zealand on the value of vitamin C as a cancer treatment, knows that Dr Geller and his friends have not done that.
Perhaps Dr Geller should look for an alternative career as a priest, rabbi or mullah, someone for whom belief, not science, is professionally important. He should take Dr. Wilsher with him.