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ADHB Favours Death to Alternatives

Media Release

ADHB Favours Death to Alternatives

Ron LAw, Risk & Policy Adviser

“The Auckland District Health Board’s claim that it found no evidence that would allow it to say high-dose Vitamin C treatment is either safe or effective is absurd and pseudo-science,” says Risk & Policy Adviser Ron Law.

To deliberately condemn patients to death without even trying Ascor L 500 is surely exposing the Auckland District Health Board and its practitioners to ridicule and claims of malpractice.

Minister’s consent for Ascor L 500

Five years after the submission of an application for a licence to market high-dose (500mg/mL) intravenous vitamin C Ascor L 500 as a registered medicine, the Minister of Health gave his approval in January 2010 under s20 of the Medicines Act 1981. The gazette notice was issued on 21 January 2010 (see http://tinyurl.com/25ypswh).

Another brand of high-dose intravenous vitamin C (100 mg/mL) was licenced nearly a decade ago as a medicine.

The Minister only consents to medicines with proven safety and efficacy.

The medical literature is littered with papers on high dose vitamin C therapy spanning some 60 years. High-dose intravenous Vitamin C treatment is proven safe, especially in the context of a patient condemned to death by his doctors.

Safety

The Ministry of Health has confirmed to me today [15 September 2010] that high-dose intravenous vitamin C branded as Ascor L 500 is a fully registered medicine and is classified for general sale, “because its use generally poses a low risk of harm to health. Technically a supermarket could sell it, however as it is an injectable medicine realistically they won't.” [Response on file.]

In other words, intravenous ascorbic acid in the form of Ascor L 500 is so safe that it does not even require a doctor’s prescription, nor does it require being sold through a pharmacy; it can be sold anywhere!

The medical literature is littered with evidence that high-dose intravenous Vitamin C treatment is safe and, especially in the context of a patient condemned to death.

The guardian of evidence-based medicine, the Cochran Reviews, have even undertaken meta-analysis reviews of vitamin C therapies.

The Cochran Reviews have confirmed safety in pharmacokinetic studies where participants were administered up to 100 grams of vitamin C intravenously within a few hours without any reported adverse effects, indicating the safety of such a large dose. They note studies that have reported administration of over 100 grams per day of vitamin C orally to pneumonia patients, which indicated safety of such high doses.

The fact that the Auckland District Health Board’s so-called clinical practice committee could find zero evidence of safety means that they simply did not look; the only other explanation is that their bias and prejudice got in the way of objectivity.

Efficacy

Given that Ascor L 500 is a fully registered medicine it can be used for any purpose by any doctor whether for the conditions used to license the substance or not. Therefore, there is no legal reason not to prescribe Ascor L 500 to any patient by any doctor.

High dose vitamin C is well researched and has a research pedigree extending over six decades.

Whilst the Cochran Reviews concluded that “In ordinary middle-aged Western populations, there is no rationale to study the prophylactic effects of vitamin C. [However] study of the therapeutic effects of vitamin C on pneumonia patients is well justified.”

(Hemilä H, Louhiala P. Vitamin C for preventing and treating pneumonia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009.)

Ethics

It is incumbent on medical practitioners to, “First Do No Harm.” The ADHB’s medical practitioners would appear to have put their beliefs before the welfare of their patients.

In effect, they have deemed that they would rather that their patients died than try a proven safe and very cheap alternative. Asco L 500 is not an alternative medicine. By law and by definition it is a fully licensed medicine given the full approval of the Minister of Health in January 2010 that any medical practitioner can use for any therapeutic purpose.

To deliberately condemn patients to death without even trying Ascor L 500 is surely exposing the Auckland District Health Board’s practitioners to further ridicule and claims of malpractice.

ENDS

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