ALCAT – Dr John Pridgeon: An overview

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Posted 10 March 2014

Dr John Pridgeon is a general medical practitioner in Gaborone, Botswana.

If you have arrived at this page, it may be for you were searching for more information regarding him, the ALCAT, or for his allegations on his website. Here he makes the following claims:

“The best allergy test on the market, in my opinion, is the ALCAT Test for food and chemical intolerances.”

This is his opinion but consider this: the ALCAT has been around more than 2 decades the the number of research articles published on the benefits of this test are almost absent bar a few abstracts submitted to congresses. Contrast this with the IgE test, which has had over 20,000 articles published showing its benefits (or lack of). Simply: the consensus of allergy and intolerance health professionals is that the test just does not work.

“While the ALCAT Test is not perfect, it is certainly much more accurate than the IgG tests for delayed food allergies”.
Actually neither of them are accurate.

“I used to run this test in South Africa, before being thoroughly outmanouvred [sic] by Cape Town resident Dr Harris Steinman”

No, not outmaneuvered at all: I simply asked the Advertising Standards Authority to evaluate and rule on the claims that Dr Pridgeon was making for the ALCAT, arguing that there is no proof that this test is accurate or beneficial, and therefore would harm consumers. Dr Pridgeon was unable to supply the ASA with any contradictory evidence, i.e., proof that his claims that the ALCAT is accurate or beneficial were true. 

When Dr Pridgeon continued to make these claim in spite of the ASA ruling, and in spite of evidence to the contrary, in order to protect consumers I reported him to the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), the statutory body regulating health professionals. The HPCSA investigated my complaint, received a response from Dr Prigdeon, and then concurred with my complaint and “Committee resolved that the matter be referred to Undesirable Business Practices”.  This may be why Dr Pridgeon moved to Botswana.

“Steinman has spent the last 20 years cunningly ensconcing and ingratiating himself into the inner circles of practically every allergy or diet related organisation in South Africa, for the purposes of maintaining the allergy test monopoly he has created”.

I have no monopoly in allergy. I sell no tests, have no specific allergy clinics, and it is an insult to suggest that doctors and dietitians in South Africa are not able to review the evidence for themselves and make up their own minds whether the ALCAT works or not. The fact is this: that ALL allergy organisations throughout the world, including the Allergy Society of South Africa, agree that there is NO evidence to support the claims for the ALCAT. This appears to be completely lost on Dr Pridgeon – and worse, that he considers that I was responsible or could have had this degree of influence.

Note – if I had a monopoly as Dr Pridgeon claims, then his complaint to the Monopoly Commission would have been successful. It was in fact rejected.

[note note_color=”#effcb5″]Below is a “Whos Who” of many of the world’s leading Allergy Specialists and their professional medical organisations. Are they all wrong about ALCAT?

  • O’Keefe E, Steinman HA, Potter PC, O’Keefe S. Evaluation of the ALCAT test in reactions to food in the Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Poster: South African Gastroenterological Society Annual Congress. October 1993
  • Pitt A, Bateman ED, Steinman H, Potter PC. Lack of correlation between self-reported food intolerance, food challenge testing and results of the ALCAT system in chronic adult asthmatics. Allergy Society of South Africa Annual Congress. 1994;October
  • Pitt A, Bateman ED, Steinman H, Potter PC. Lack of correlation between self-reported food intolerance, food challenge testing and results of the ALCAT system in chronic adult asthmatics. (Abstract) Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology 1994;7(3):7
  • European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology: Sections-Interest Groups – Allergy Diagnosis – Controversial diagnostic tests. http://www.eaaci.net/site/content.php?l1=91&sel=323 (06 November 2007)
  • Ortolani, C.; Bruijnzeel-Koomen, C.; Bengtsson, U.; Bindslev-Jensen, C.; Bjorksten, B.; Host, A.; Ispano, M.; Jarish, R.; Madsen, C.; Nekam, K.; Paganelli, R.; Poulsen, L. K.; Wuthrich, B. Controversial aspects of adverse reactions to food. Allergy. 54(1):27-45, January 1999
  • Position Paper: Controversial aspects of adverse reactions to food. EAACI Adverse Reactions to Food Subcommittee. http://www.eaaci.net/site/Adverse%20reactions%20to%20food.pdf (06 November 2007)
  • American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: Allergy & Asthma Disease Management Center – Allergy Testing. http://www.aaaai.org/aadmc/ate/allergytesting.html. (06 November 2007)
  • Potter PC, Mullineux J, Weinberg EG, Haus M, Ireland P, Buys C, Motala C.The ALCAT test–inappropriate in testing for food allergy in clinical practice. S Afr Med J. 1992;81(7):384.
  • Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy: Cow’s Milk (dairy) allergy. http://www.medeserv.com.au/ascia/aer/infobulletins/hp_allergy_milk.htm (06 November 2007)
  • MedicDirect: Allergy Testing. http://www.medicdirect.co.uk/site_guide/default.ihtml?step=4&pid=2458 (06 November 2007)
  • Global Resources In Allergy (GLORIA™) – The Diagnosis of Allergic Diseases. http://www.3bel.dote.hu/oktatas2007/eload2007ang/ Nekam%20TOK%20eloadas%20Allergy.ppt (06 November 2007)
  • Teuber SS, Porch-Curren C. Unproved diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to food allergy and intolerance. Current Opinion in Allergy & Clinical Immunology. 2003;3(3):217-221.
  • Passalacqua G, Compalati E, Schiappoli M, Senna G. Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment and diagnosis of asthma and allergic diseases. Monaldi Arch Chest Dis. 2005;63(1):47-54.
  • Niggemann B, Grüber C. Unproven diagnostic procedures in IgE-mediated allergic diseases. Allergy. 2004;59(8):806-8.
  • Beyer K, Teuber SS. Food allergy diagnostics: scientific and unproven procedures. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005;5(3):261-6.
  • Anderson JA. Food allergy and food intolerance. ASDC J Dent Child. 1985;52(2):134-7.
  • Senna G, Gani F, Leo G, Schiappoli M. Alternative tests in the diagnosis of food allergies. Recenti Prog Med. 2002;93(5):327-34.
  • Wüthrich B. Unproven techniques in allergy diagnosis. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol. 2005;15(2):86-90.
  • ASCIA Position Statement: Unorthodox Techniques for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Allergy, Asthma and Immune Disorders. Dr Raymond J. Mullins on behalf of the Education Committee, ASCIA October 2004. http://www.allergy.org.au/pospapers/unorthodox.htm (accessed 6 November 2007)
  • Kleine-Tebbe J, Herold DA. Inappropriate test methods in allergy]. [German] Hautarzt. 2010 Nov;61(11):961-6.[/note]

What will it really take to make Dr Pridgeon appreciate the symphony of diametrically opposed views by the world’s leading experts in the field? Note- there are no major positive studies published in the peer-reviewed literature supporting the ALCAT – not a conspiracy but simply no researcher worth his salt could show that it works, including me.

“My nightmare was complete when I finally discovered that he had managed to secure many protective associations within ‘untouchable’ entities like ASASA (his contacts within the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa eventually were able to stop ANY advertising efforts I made, and I had to close the business) and DStv’s Carte Blanche”

The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) is an independent body that I have zero influence over. Consumers lay a complaint with the ASA, they ask the company to respond to the complaint, and the ASA make a ruling based on whether the respondent was able to prove that they were not misleading the consumer. Simple. Carte Blanche is an  actuality programme covering a variety of subjects, including “into abuse of the vulnerable”.

This is what the ASA states: “The Code of Advertising Practice is the guiding document of the ASA. The Code is based upon the International Code of Advertising Practice, prepared by the International Chamber of Commerce. This is internationally accepted as the basis for domestic systems of self-regulation. It forms the foundation of this Code in which the basic principles laid down in the International Code are related to the particular circumstances of advertising in South Africa.” 

“Unbelieveably, he is Carte Blanche’s allergy coinsultant!” [sic] 

No, I do no work for Carte Blanche, nor do I have any influence. I was simply included in an actuality program as one of the individuals whose opinion they sought out regarding a particular matter – as with any other investigative program aired on TV. I did not earn a cent from being interviewed for the insert.

“Sadly, I had neither the resouces [sic], nor the support from my principals, ALCAT in the USA , that would allow me to continue trying to trade, against all odds it seemed, in South Africa”.

Dr John Pridgeon is not being honest: the HPCSA, the statuary regulator of health professionals in South Africa, had investigated the charges laid against Dr Pridgeon, compared them with Dr Pridgeon’s response, and   “resolved that the matter be referred to Undesirable Business Practices“.  In other words, the HPCSA took action against Dr Pridgeon’s undesirable business practices. 

Dr Pridgeon should simply stop blaming others for his own actions which had the consequences it did.
[note note_color=”#f6fdde” radius=”4″]CamCheck posts related to ALCAT 

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