Big Pharma brainwashed UK Ministers want police inquiries against natural medicine healers
MPs call for police inquiry into bogus ‘cancer cures’ offer by alternative medicine practitioners
One alternative ”cure’’ involves the use of industrial strength bleach to treat autism and HIV
Laura Donnelly By Laura Donnelly, and Justin Stoneman11:00PM BST 24 May 2015
Cancer patients are being offered “fake cures’” by unscrupulous alternative medicine practitioners, the Telegraph has discovered amid calls for a criminal inquiry.
Experts say claims being made by a number of practitioners appear in breach of laws designed to protect the vulnerable from false claims about cancer.
Undercover footage obtained by this newspaper shows a series of practitioners telling cancer sufferers that their condition could be cured using treatments which experts say do not work and are “extremely dangerous”.
They include black salve, a highly caustic solution, as a cure for throat and skin cancers, a salt treatment for lung cancer, and the use of industrial-strength bleach to treat autism, Ebola and HIV.
The Telegraph obtained footage of an event in Sussex earlier this month on May 4, at which alternative medicine practitioners repeatedly told elderly and vulnerable cancer patients that the products could cure their diseases.
They were told that the treatments offered “a 100 per cent cure for any sort of skin cancer” and could work to treat throat cancer.
The event was shielded from public scrutiny, after concerns about the nature of claims being made by some of the speakers meant that two venues cancelled the booking, most recently after the Telegraph exposed the claims of the healer offering a bleach cure to treat autism.
The 1939 Cancer Act bars all practitioners from advertising any treatment as a cure for cancer.
But action is enforced by local Trading Standards offices, run by councils, and experts are concerned that the system is inadequate to protect the vulnerable.
In two decades, there have been just 21 convictions.
Last night MPs called on the police to investigate, saying the current arrangements were putting lives at risk.
Tim Loughton, MP for Worthing East and Shoreham, where the event took place, called for immediate action to protect the public.
“It is deeply worrying that this group are able to take advantage of vulnerable people,” he said. “I will be making urgent contact with the health authorities and the police to make sure that any breach of the Cancer Act is investigated.
“It is clearly important that action is quickly taken.”
Sarah Wollaston, Tory MP and recent chairman of the Commons Health Select Committee, said: “The Cancer Act was designed to protect people when they are at their most vulnerable from the snake-oil salesmen peddling false hope and fake cures.”
Dr Wollaston, a former GP, said successful prosecutions were too rare, while fines were insufficient.
She said: “The police and Trading Standards should examine the video footage.”
When contacted by the Telegraph, West Sussex Trading Standards refused to say whether they would investigate the matter.
Video footage of the Spirit of Health Congress was obtained by the Good Thinking Society, a group of science experts which pledges to promote rational debate.
Michael Marshall, project director, said the claims being made by practitioners at the event appeared to be illegal, involving highly dangerous substances which could cause serious harm.
He called on Trading Standards or the police to step in urgently.
“We believe it is vital that the authorities clamp down on misleading claims like these before vulnerable members of the public get seriously harmed,” he said. Prof David Colquhoun, a pharmacology expert at University College London, said: “It’s clear that many of the speakers at the Spirit of Health Congress made blatant claims to cure cancer. That is illegal.
“They are selling fake cures that will not only fail to cure cancer, but that will endanger the health of anyone who uses them,” he warned.
“I would like to see the police investigate these apparent breaches of the law, with prosecutions to send a clear deterrent to those peddling false hopes,” he said.
“People who sell fake cures deserve time in jail, not just fines,” he added.
Sussex Police did not respond to the calls for an investigation when approached by the Telegraph. Several speakers at the conference did not respond to requests for comment. Others denied claiming success rates for the products.
1939 Cancer Act: In need of treatment?
The 1939 Cancer Act is supposed to defend the vulnerable by prohibiting public advertisements offering to treat or cure cancer.
The law is little used — just 21 convictions from 1984 to 2013.
Last year a Harley Street practitioner was prosecuted and fined £19,000 for claiming he could cure cancer and HIV with “lifestyle changes and herbs”.
The act is enforced by Trading Standards offices, each run by a different council.
Most healers operate via the internet and events move locations, so the law is hard to enforce.
Prof David Colquhoun, a pharmacology expert at University College, London, said treating products as food rather than medicines did not properly protect the public.