Specifically, vitamin salesman Matthias Rath and his associates in and outside of South Africa have indirectly caused the deaths of untold thousands of people from AIDS by pushing and lobbying for notions that anti-retrovirals kill and vitamins should be taken instead.
Vitamins are good. If you must pick the one or the other, medicine to block viral transmission is a hell of a lot better.
And, of course, when exposed, these second-hand murderers have sued people all over the place (with a notable lack of success). In author Ben Goldacre’s own words:
This is the “missing chapter” about vitamin pill salesman Matthias Rath. Sadly I was unable to write about him at the time that book was initially published, as he was suing my ass in the High Court. The chapter is now available in the new paperback edition, and I’ve posted it here for free so that nobody loses out.
Although the publishers make a slightly melodramatic fuss about this in the promo material, it is a very serious story about the dangers of pseudoscience, as I hope you’ll see, and it was also a pretty unpleasant episode, not just for me, but also for the many other people he’s tried to sue, including Medecins Sans Frontieres and more. If you’re ever looking for a warning sign that you’re on the wrong side of an argument, suing Medecins Sans Frontieres is probably a pretty good clue.
The chapter may be found here.