Posted 07 January 2014
A formal complaint was laid on 25 June 2012 against the Solal pharmacists, Brent Murphy and David Arthur, and the Solal medical practitioner, Dr Craige Golding. To date (06 January 2014) no result has been received.
Below follows my complaint. Readers can decide whether the complaint has merit or not.
25 June 2012
1. The Registrar: HPCSA
P.O. Box 205
553 Vermeulen Street (cnr Hamilton street)
2. The Registrar: SAPC
c/o Thabo Boase: Manager
Private Bag 40040
591 Belvedere Street
Re: Complaint against Dr Craige Golding HPCSA Registration number: MP 0412104; Mr Brent Murphy SAPC Registration number 0013294; and Mr David Arthur SAPC Registration number 0010140
I, Dr Harris Steinman, wish to complain against a healthcare practitioner, Dr Craige Golding and two pharmacists, Mr Brent Murphy and Mr David Arthur. I have submitted this complaint jointly to the two different statutory Councils concerned with regulation of their professions as the individuals work together for a company known as Solal Technologies (Pty) Ltd and the complaints I am making arise from their activities as employees of Solal Technologies. I therefore request that the HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa) and the SAPC (South African Pharmacy Council) investigate my complaints against these individuals.
As this complaint is being laid individually against a medical practitioner and two pharmacists and collectively in their capacities as directors of Solal Technologies; and as the complaints are interrelated, I am submitting the same document to both the HPCSA and SAPC. The rationale will be self-evident on perusal of the complaint. I apologise for not using the email complaint form which is made available on the SAPC website, and I hope this letter will be sufficient. Should I have left out any pertinent or required information, I will gladly provide it.
The individuals I am laying complaints against are:
- HPCSA complaint.
The medical practitioner: Dr Craige Golding MP 0412104, a director of Solal, practises at the Integrative Medical Centre 20 Ballyclare Drive, Bryanston, Sandton, 2191. Tel: 011 463 0036 Fax: 011 463 9832.
- SAPC complaint 1.
The pharmacist, Mr David Arthur, P00359 (Reg No 0010140) a director of Solal and associated with the Integrative Medical Centre 20 Ballyclare Drive, Bryanston, Sandton, 2191. Tel: 011 463 0036 Fax: 011 463 9832.
- SAPC complaint 2.
The pharmacist, Mr Brent Murphy, P08970 (Reg No 0013294) a director of Solal, 20 Ballyclare Drive, Bryanston, Sandton, 2191. Telephone +27 11 783-3939
This complaint is unusual and requires an explanation as to its origins.
A formal complaint was laid against me with the HPCSA (Reference MP 0223662/2332228(MED-2)), arguing in essence that I had acted contrary to the HPCSA code of ethics: “A practitioner shall not cast reflections on the probity, professional reputation or skill of another person registered under the Act or any other health act.”
In constructing my defence, it became clear that the above named individuals had themselves individually and collectively acted contrary to their respective professions’ regulatory codes. In submitting my complaint against these three individuals to both the HPCSA and SAPC, I trust that both regulatory authorities will agree with the approach I have taken in consolidating the complaints. Should either Council wish me to lodge separate and/or individual complaints, I will gladly do so.
- Status of Solal Technologies/Defendants
Apart from their various professional qualifications and registrations with the HPCSA and SAPC respectively, Dr Craige Golding, Mr Brent Murphy and Mr David Arthur are directors of Solal Technologies:
Solal operates or is associated with, among other, these entities:
- “SOLAL TECHNOLOGIES FINE PHARMACEUTICALS” with a licence number of GP00035W and the account number is Y52793. The recorded owner of the pharmacy is Solal Africa Technologies Distributors (Pty) Ltd, and the registration number of this company under the Companies Act is 2001/013489/07.
(Legal Enquiry_0232_H Steinman_Services of wholesale pharmacy_20120601.pdf)
- SOLAL TECHNOLOGIES (PTY) LTD is a separate company not registered with SAPC
- Integrative Medical Centre (www.imcmed.co.za)
- Compounding Pharmacy of South Africa [Licence no GP00254C; Owner – ANTIAGING TECHNOLOGIES CC (CC3335); Responsible Pharmacist AP Louw (P26649); 20 Ballyclare Drive Bryanston Sandton 2199; (011) 4630310] Note that the physical address is the same as that given for Solal Technologies itself.
- Health Intelligence Magazine has Mr Murphy as one of its editors and Dr Golding and Mr Arthur are members of its “medical advisory board”.
- Status and/or Credentials claimed by Defendants
a. Dr Craige Golding MP 0412104
Dr Craige Golding holds the following qualifications. “Specialist Physician; MBCHB (cum laude) (PRET); FCP (SA); ABAARM: Board Certified Anti-Aging Physician American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine; FAARM: Fellowship in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine.” among others.
However, according to the HPCSA register, Dr Craige Golding is registered as a “specialist in medicine” only. (http://iregister.hpcsa.co.za/PractitionerView.aspx?FILENO=1994018372)
Dr Golding is a director of Solal and also practises at the Integrative Medical Centre in Sandton. I would argue that the purpose of Dr Golding advertising these qualifications on numerous websites, are not only to legitimately show his prowess and skills, but ALSO to tout for patients, to lend credibility to the products being developed and marketed by Solal, and to create the impression that “anti-aging” is a recognised specialty in South Africa. This is illustrated elsewhere in this submission, and also in Attachment Ai and Attachment Aii (http://www.antiagingdoctor.co.za/)
On the website “Anti-aging doctor” http://www.antiagingdoctor.co.za/ [http://www.freezepage.com/1340534193WTWSIYUZCR] (which appears to be Dr Golding’s personal site) the banner states in large letters: “Anti-aging doctor” and below that: “Dr Craige Golding – Board Certified Anti-Aging Physician”. I contend that both these appellations are advertisements/descriptors in contravention of the code of conduct of the HPCSA.
Dr Golding’s qualifications and description of himself as an “anti-aging physician” are publicly advertised in the magazine, Health Intelligence, and on several websites. I have pointed out on CamCheck for the information of consumers that:
“The anti-aging qualifications of Dr Craige Golding are not recognised by the American Board of Medical Specialties — even though the Solaltech advertising states that he has “two board certified courses” which is meant to confuse the public into thinking that they are recognised by the American Board.[They are recognised by an independent Board which is not affiliated with the American Board of Medical Specialties.] And they’re certainly not recognised by the HPCSA. It is misleading to imply that he is a specialist in anti-aging medicine. (He is a specialist physician though.) American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) mention: “The medical establishment does not recognize aging as a disease to be cured.”
“And antiaging is not a medical specialty, according to the American Medical Association and the American Board of Medical Specialties (which puts the “board” in “board-certified”). But doctors are signing up with organizations such as the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and the Age Management Medicine Group, attending their conventions, learning about the latest purported anti-aging techniques — and using their own offices and equipment to hawk treatments to patients.” (emphases added)
See: http://www.abms.org/News_and_Events/MediaMentions/ABMS_IntheNews_JulyAug2008_WEB.pdf – p24/69” The original can be found at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121561448291739263.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
Furthermore Dr Craige Golding initiated correspondence with me requesting that I remove what he referred to as: “unfounded, derogatory and defamatory statements concerning [him]self.” (Appendix A) I responded by pointing out that “anti-aging specialist” was not recognised as a speciality by the HPCSA. I supported my argument sharing a personal communication I had had with the HPCSA which confirmed this (Appendix A ii). Dr Golding denied that my interpretation of the HPCSA rules was correct and continues to make claims of being an “Anti-aging specialist” or variations thereof. He also claims to be a “specialist in integrative medicine” which is also not a speciality recognised by the HPCSA. See the following:
- “Specialist physician in anti-aging medicine”: http://www.antiagingdoctor.co.za/ (http://www.freezepage.com/1337349163TJWLXWPPTX)
- “Specialist in Integrative and Age Management Medicine”: http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/home/?u=e601fef019401970d75e42400&id=1a307615ac (http://www.freezepage.com/1337350036PHAYTGFQFX)
- “Specialist in Integrative and Age Management Medicine”: http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=e601fef019401970d75e42400&id=6f8aeda95f
At http://www.cavibrands.co.za/business_solal2.html, Dr Golding’s range of HPCSA and non-HPCSA recognised qualifications is made explicit:
“Specialist Physician/Internist: MBChB (Cum Laude) (Pret), FCP (SA), ABAARM: Board Certified Anti-Aging Physician American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, FAARFM: Advanced Fellowship in Anti-Aging, Regenerative and Functional Medicine, FICT: Fellowship in Integrative Cancer Therapies, ACAM: Certified Chelation Therapist, MS USF: Masters in Medical Sciences University of South Florida (Magna Cum Laude), NUGO (European Nutrigenomics Organization): Full Certification in Nutrigenomics, Proteomics, Metabolomics, Faculty Member AAAM (American Aesthetics and Anti-Aging Society): International Lecturer”
“Dr Golding practices at the Integrative Medical Centre. His interest in preventive medicine and addressing the causes of illness resulted in him gaining further qualifications in the US. In 2007, he completed his Fellowship in Anti-Aging Medicine (FAARM) and obtained Board Certification in Anti-Aging Medicine (ABAARM) from the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine. Dr Golding is the first certified anti-aging physician in Africa.”
Although there is no prohibition on stating a range of degrees and qualifications, inferences can be drawn as to what this means in terms of Dr Golding’s scope of practice and whether or not he confines his practice to that of a “specialist physician”.
The HPCSA states:
CONDITIONS OF PRACTISING AS A SPECIALIST
14.(1) A medical practitioner or a dentist who holds registration as a specialist in terms of the Act,
(a) in the case of a speciality, confine his or her practice to the speciality or related specialities in which he or she is registered;
(b) in the case of a subspeciality, confine his or her practice mainly to the subspeciality in which he or she is registered,
and the retention of his or her registration as a specialist in the relevant speciality, related specialities or subspeciality shall be contingent on whether he or she so confines his or her practice. (emphasis added)
I have confirmed with the American Board of Medical Specialties that Dr Golding’s “qualifications” are not recognised. (Appendix A iii). “The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a not-for-profit organization, assists 24 approved medical specialty boards in the development and use of standards in the on-going evaluation and certification of physicians. ABMS, recognized as the “gold standard” in physician certification, believes higher standards for physicians means better care for patients.” http://www.abms.org/
I believe it should be noted that Dr Golding has previously admitted to being guilty of unprofessional conduct in a charge against him by the HPCSA, although on completely unrelated grounds. (Appendix F)
In summary, my complaint against Dr Golding is that i) he is misrepresenting and advertising himself as an “anti-aging specialist,” a specialist in “age-management medicine” and as a specialist in “integrative medicine.” I can find no evidence that any of these disciplines are recognised as specialities or subspecialities by the HPCSA; ii) as a Director of Solal Technologies he is in part responsible for their illegally advertising and making Scheduled Substances available to the public. This contravenes several aspects of the Medicines and Related Substances Act, 1965 (Act 101 of 1965).
b. “Dr” David Arthur (P00359 (Reg No 0010140))
At http://www.imcmed.co.za/doctors.html, Mr David Arthur describes himself as “Dr” David Arthur on the Solal-associated Integrative Medical Centre website, claiming the following credentials:
“Clinical Pharmacist – B.Pharm (Wits), ABAAHP Diplomate, Board Certified (American Board of Anti-Aging Healthcare Practitioners), FAARM: Advanced Fellow in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, MPS.
“David is one of the co-founders of the Integrative Medical Centre (IMC), where he practises with a focus on getting to the root causes of disease and illness. He looks beyond superficial physical symptoms, focusing also on the relationship between emotional and physical health. His international studies have given him a strong understanding of the benefits and harm that conventional medicines can bring to the body. He knows how to use natural supplements as alternatives to prescription medicines and how to combine natural and prescription medicines to reduce side effects often associated with conventional therapy.” (emphasis added)
It should be noted that Mr Arthur does not have a “PharmD” degree nor a PhD which would entitle him to call himself “Dr”. Furthermore, to the best of my knowledge, the SAPC does not yet have a registration category “clinical pharmacist”. It would appear that he is practising outside of the scope of a pharmacist in “diagnosing” (i.e. “getting to the root causes of disease and illness – looking beyond superficial physical symptoms – focusing on the relationship between emotional and physical health”). I believe this to be a contravention of Good Pharmacy Practice. I am also concerned that when Mr Arthur prescribes natural supplements as alternatives to prescription medicines he may not first be consulting the original prescriber of the prescription medicines.
Mr Arthur is also contravening the SAPC’s code of conduct by referring to himself as “Dr”, and by describing himself as a “clinical pharmacist”. Furthermore as a Director of Solal Technologies he is in part responsible for their illegaly advertising and making Scheduled Substances available to the public. This contravenes Good Pharmacy Practice and several components of the Medicines and Related Substances Act, 1965 (Act 101 of 1965).
c. Mr Brent Murphy (P08970 (Reg No 0013294))
Mr Brent Murphy heads up Solal Technologies’ product development team he is directly responsible for products without sufficient evidence of efficacy and the misleading and inappropriate claims being made for these products. He is also an editor of Health Intelligence Magazine which makes numerous misleading and false claims as documented in this submission.
- Operating illegally
a.) As previously mentioned, Solal operates or is associated with, among other, these entities:
“SOLAL TECHNOLOGIES FINE PHARMACEUTICALS” with a licence number of GP00035W and the account number is Y52793. The recorded owner of the pharmacy is Solal Africa Technologies Distributors (Pty) Ltd, and the registration number of this company under the Companies Act is 2001/013489/07.
SOLAL TECHNOLOGIES (PTY) LTD is however a separate company not registered with SAPC, and thus not entitled, I am informed, to sell any scheduled substances. Solal Technologies (of which the three persons I am complaining about are directors) is the company advertising on the Solal website (www.solaltech.com). Solal Technologies IS however selling scheduled substances (including schedule 5 products). (Appendix O)
b.) Furthermore, the HPCSA Policy Document on Undesirable Business Practices Section 2.2.2: “Employment of Practitioners states that “all employing institutions [e.g. the Integrative Medical Centre] should be accredited by the HPCSA subject to the condition that the practitioner’s clinical independence is not violated by the employing body and that the employing body also does not exploit the practitioner or make the practitioner to violate Council ethical rules.” (page 6 of 13) http://www.hpcsa.co.za/downloads/conduct_ethics/undesirable_business_practices.pdf.
I do not have evidence that the Integrative Medical Centre is accredited by the HPCSA. Is the Integrative Medical Centre accredited by the HPCSA? From my view point, it seems that “Solal Technologies (Pty) Ltd” of which the three individuals in my complaint are directors may well be, as an employing body “exploiting practitioners” and making the practitioners violate Council ethical rules in the ways outlined in this complaint.
- Acting contrary to HPCSA or SAPC regulations
- Dr Golding offers a number of non-validated medical tests which I believe should be considered under the Perverse Incentives clause (clause 4.8 from the document referred to under point 3(b) above). This clause states: “Undesirable practice enriching a practitioner either financially or in kind at the cost of a payer of professional practice with no evidence based of scientific basis or cost effective considerations. Providers should not allow financial incentives to influence their judgements of appropriate therapeutic alternatives or deny their patients access to appropriate services based on such inducements. Their patients’ interests must always come first.” (page 9 of 13)
I argue that Dr Golding (and Mr Arthur), based at the Integrative Medical Centre, prescribe and dispense remedies to patients, including Solal remedies, which have no scientific evidence and/or benefit.
- “Dr Craige Golding, a specialist physician in anti-aging medicine and medical director of Solal . . .”; and
- “And yet many of these degenerative diseases of aging are largely preventable or reversible, if one can intervene early enough using anti-aging treatments, like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fats, nutraceuticals, herbal extracts, chelation therapies, intravenous nutrients and other intravenous treatments such as glutathione, hydrogen peroxide, phospholipid exchange, and measures like lifestyle modification. Hormone balancing (sic) and neurotransmitter assessment (sic)and normalisation are also offered in anti-aging medicine”; and
- “For example, chromium and other nutraceuticals such as alpha lipoic acid and Egcg can reverse or even prevent diabetes – and our goal is to ensure a healthy life without the burden of the chronic diseases of aging.”(my emphasis)
- “Chelation therapy is showing promise for the treatment of heavy metal toxicity – and treatment of this is unique to anti-aging medicine. Heavy metal toxicity can be tested for quite easily through urine tests, MELISA blood testing or hair sampling. We are all exposed to heavy metal toxicity and the consequences can be dire if not dealt with, contributing to conditions like heart disease, vascular disease, dementia and cancer.” (my emphasis)
- “Golding is also very enthusiastic about the nutritional treatment of cancer by means of intravenous nutrients. In 2007, Dr Shari Lieberman presented her successful case studies to the Fellowship in Anti-aging. She has seen very positive results using nutraceuticals and high doses of intravenous vitamin C. Golding hopes to introduce this to South Africa in the course of 2008.”(my emphasis)
http://www.solaltech.com/drgraige.htm or http://www.freezepage.com/1337506254MFIKKPPRGN
URL text attached as Attachment A.
- Dr Craige Golding and Mr David Arthur, as members of the Integrative Medical Centre, in my view have been: over-servicing patients and using unverified treatment-modalities on patients; and obtaining remuneration through perverse financial incentives through:
- intravenous treatments such as hydrogen peroxide, phospholipid exchange
- Egcg (sic) (EGCG) for “reversal” of diabetes Attachment A.
- In my view Dr Golding and his colleagues have also contravened Rule 12: “A practitioner shall not cast reflections on the probity, professional reputation or skill of another person registered under the Act or any other health act.”
Solal (of which they are Directors and can be held responsible for statements made by Solal) have made several allegations against me in a public forum, DrugInfo, where they have, among other, claimed that I am “untruthful” and “dishonest” for not disclosing that I am being financially remunerated by the Sugar Association of South Africa or “Big Pharma”. Despite my denials and protestations, and the same complaint having been investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) and found to be unsupported, Solal has not retracted such claims.
- Dr Golding, Mr Murphy and Mr Arthur are acting contrary to the HPCSA’s (and/or SAPC) code of conduct in the following ways: (http://www.hpcsa.co.za/downloads/ethical_rules/ethical_rules_of_conduct_2011.pdf):
- i. “canvassing” means conduct which draws attention, either verbally or by means of printed or electronic media, to one’s personal qualities, superior knowledge, quality of service, professional guarantees or best practice;
Comment: This contravention by the complainants themselves is explicit in the documents supplied by the complainants, where the one or more of them use “qualifications” from non-accredited centres to enhance their reputation, and Dr Craige Golding advertises his expertise as an “Anti-aging specialist” as part of Solal Technologies “anti-aging” marketing thrust.
- ii. Solal makes claims or markets some products based purely on no scientific support, or alternatively pseudoscience. (Appendix G – analysis of an article in Health Intelligence encouraging readers to discontinue their antidepressant therapy, Appendix H – a deconstruction of Solal’s “Anti-aging pill” claims [no longer marketed], Appendix I – a demonstration of inappropriate use of science to make claims about human health) Indeed many more examples can be supplied to the HPCSA to support my argument, but these three are simply so outrageous that they will suffice. (Section 6 below provides other examples in the context of advertising).
- iii. “touting” means conduct which draws attention, either verbally or by means of printed or electronic media, to one’s offers, guarantees or material benefits that do not fall in the categories of professional services or items, but are linked to the rendering of a professional service or designed to entice the public to the professional practice, and,“Advertising and canvassing or touting”
(1) A practitioner shall be allowed to advertise his or her services or permit, sanction or acquiesce to such advertisement: Provided that the advertisement is not unprofessional, untruthful, deceptive or misleading or causes consumers unwarranted anxiety that they may be suffering from any health condition..
Comment: The defendants (individually or as directors of Solal) are acting contrary to these clauses as detailed above and elsewhere in this submission, and in Appendix M.
In Appendix M, I argue that as directors of Solal, Dr Golding, Mr Murphy and Mr Arthur, have:
- Not been truthful and honest by explicitly indicating that the consumer magazine, Health Intelligence Magazine, is in fact Solal influenced and directed. Many articles are written by Solal directors and staff. Health Intelligence Magazine is therefore effectively an advertisement for Solal products – a “disguise” for the surreptitious marketing of Solal products; and
- Health Intelligence Magazine have published a number of articles, including the example of an article which is unscientific, untruthful, deceptive, and casts aspersions on established and well accepted registered medicines, resulting in confusion, anxiety and suffering by consumers who have read this article, and others published in this magazine (Appendix G);
- An example of this “confusion, anxiety and suffering” is represented by a health practitioner’s letter in Appendix M- Part 2 following an article in which Solal claims that anti-depressants cause cancer, recommending by implication that readers immediately cease using anti-depressants and instead implement a “natural protocol” (not explicitly stated to be a mix of Solal products) (The original article is provided as Attachment B;) and that therefore
- Solal and their directors are contravening the “Advertising and canvassing or touting” rule which states: “[P]rovided that the advertisement is not unprofessional, untruthful, deceptive or misleading or causes consumers unwarranted anxiety that they may be suffering from any health condition”. (Another example is Solal’s product called “Burnout”, advertised on its website for “adrenal fatigue” – a medically unrecognized diagnosis claimed to cause dozens of common symptoms for which their advocates provide hormones and/or dietary supplements.(Appendix B – Part 2) This practice is also referred to as “disease mongering.”
- iv. “specialist” means a practitioner who is registered as a specialist in a speciality or subspeciality (if any) in terms of the Regulations relating to the Specialities and Subspecialties in Medicine and Dentistry, published under Government Notice No. R. 590 of 29 June 2001, and who confines his or her practice to such speciality or subspeciality;
Comment to iv: As detailed above – I submit that Dr Golding is not confining his practice to what is recognised to be that of a specialist in medicine.
- v. 12. Professional reputation of colleagues
A practitioner shall not cast reflections on the probity, professional reputation or skill of another person registered under the Act or any other Health Act.
Comment: As discussed above. Significantly, I have not commented on any aspect of Dr Golding’s work for which he is registered with the HPCSA (i.e. as a specialist physician) – only for work for which he is not registered and which he advertises.
- vi. Other pertinent rules which may be applicable to Dr Golding and which he has acted contrary to:
23. Medicine and medical devices[Heading substituted by GN R68/2009] (1) A practitioner shall not participate in the manufacture for commercial purposes or in the sale, advertising or promotion of any medicine or medical device or in any other activity that amounts to selling medicine or medical devices to the public or keeping an open shop or pharmacy. [Subrule (1) substituted by GN R68/2009]
(2) A practitioner shall not engage in or advocate the preferential use or prescription of any medicine or medical device which, save for the valuable consideration he or she may derive from such preferential use or prescription, would not be clinically appropriate or the most cost-effective option. [Subrule (2) substituted by GN R68/2009]
(d) such practitioner does not over-service patients and to this end establishes appropriate peer review and clinical governance procedures for the treatment and servicing of his or her patients at such hospital or health care institution;
(e) such practitioner does not participate in the advertising or promotion of the hospital or health care institution, or in any other activity that amounts to such advertising or promotion;
Comment: The defendants (individually or as directors of Solal) are acting contrary to these clauses as detailed above and elsewhere in this submission.
- Acting contrary MCC and/or SAPC regulations
Solal, and therefore its directors, including Dr Craig Golding, Mr Brent Murphy and Mr David Arthur are selling scheduled substances over the internet which requires prescriptions (Appendix O).
Furthermore, the Code of Conduct (which has since 2008 been binding on those registered with the SAPC), states among other:
“1.1 .4 A pharmacist must not give an impression to a potential purchaser that any product or food supplement associated with the maintenance of or enhancement of health is efficacious, when there is no evidence of efficacy, as confirmed by the registration with the Medicines Control Council.
1 .1.5 A pharmacist must remain professionally competent and abreast of the latest developments in the health area in which he/she functions in accordance with his/her scope of practice.”
I have illustrated in this submission many examples illustrating how Mr Brent Murphy and Mr David Arthur have acted contrary to these clauses, in particular Appendix B – part 1, Appendix B – part 2, Appendix N, Appendix M- part 3, and examples below in Section 6.
- Products and claims
Solal Technologies (Pty) Ltd (for which the individuals complained about in this complaint are Directors) have advertised in the consumer print media making claims for a range of their products. Consumer complaints have been laid with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) arguing that the claims for the products could not be substantiated by adequate and acceptable scientific standards. The ASA have issued at least 15 adverse rulings (Appendix B– part 1) against Solal for not being able to adequately substantiate their claims, yet they persist in producing new products and making claims for these products that have inadequate scientific support for. As Dr Golding, Mr Murphy and Mr Arthur are directors of Solal, they can be considered complicit in and responsible for these misleading claims and unsubstantiated products.
Significantly, and of great concern, is that Solal have directly and also through Health Intelligence magazine made claims that may induce fear in consumers, or have given false information that may result in adverse health consequences to consumers, or resulting in delays in obtaining medical advice. These include the following (a selection):
- Solal Technologies sells supplements (31/03/2011) that it claimed are remedies or prophylactics for a whole range of diseases, including HIV, cancer, hypertension and depression. Appendix P
- Sugar causes cancer: Fear mongering Appendix B
- “Too much sugar may accumulate fat and make learning difficult”: Fear mongering – Attachment F Précis: Solal supported these claims with two references:
The first reference referred to a study published in 1982 and conducted in male weanling carbohydrate-sensitive BUE rats. One cannot extrapolate this study to human subjects for a number of reasons:
- Studies in rats often cannot be substantiated in humans
- The rats were not normal rats but rats rendered carbohydrate-sensitive.
- Only male rats were used.
The second reference was just as highly misleading: the study was not only conducted in an animal model, but sugar (carbohydrate) was not investigated as the singular cause of brain changes. The diet investigated was specifically a high-calorie diet, a combination rich in saturated fat and refined sugar, in order to mimic the typical diet of most industrialized western societies.
- “More than 80% of South Africans tested are deficient in vitamin D3, which is essential for heart health and significantly reduces the risk of many cancers”: Fear mongering.
- Vitamin D is more effective than the flu vaccine: Results in consumers being dissuaded from vaccination
Solal advert “Vitamin D is as effective as a vaccine”:
- “Antidepressant dangers exposed”, e.g., antidepressants causes cancer: Resulted in at least one documented consumer from stopping treatment (and considering replacing it with Solal’s untested “natural protocol”
Original article attached as Attachment B
Deconstructed by Prof Roy Jobson in Appendix G
- Solal’s product called “Burnout”, advertised on its website for “adrenal fatigue” – a medically unrecognized diagnosis claimed to cause dozens of common symptoms for which their advocates provide hormones and/or dietary supplements.(Appendix B –Part 2) Also known as disease-mongering.
- An unproven product called “breast protection formula” which they claim can “prevent” the development of breast cancer in women at high risk of developing it.
- Craving Control, an advert in Beeld Newspaper, June 15, 2011: Supplements which Help Stop Smoking. At http://www.solaltech.com/new/shop/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=5252 the following claims are still being made (28 May 2012) – “Reduces addictive cravings for cigarettes, alcohol, recreational drugs and food. Synergistic ingredients that work via multiple mechanisms”
- The Anti-Aging Pill: a product that claimed “resveratrol extends the life of every species it’s given to” and which “slows aging”. Evidence extrapolated from worms. Appendix H This product is no longer being marketed after the scientific basis was shown to be implausible.
- Solal “Medicine Making You Sick” – the advertisement is headed “Is your medicine making you sick?” (20 Oct 2011), and states, , inter alia, as follows:
- “Whilst pharmaceutical medicines have life-saving benefits, many of them have serious side effects, ranging from insomnia (caused by most antidepressants) to heart failure (caused by cholesterol-lowering medicines).
- A large number of these side effects are a result of nutrient deficiencies that these medicines cause. In other words, a pharmaceutical medicine can rob you of nutrients, resulting in health problems. These medicines act as anti-vitamin pills, taking away the substances you need for good health. The only solution to averting pharmaceutically-induced nutritional deficiencies is to replace the depleted nutrients through nutritional supplementation.”
As Mr Brent Murphy heads up Solal Technologies’ product development team, he is directly responsible for allowing products without sufficient evidence of efficacy to be marketed and for allowing the misleading and inappropriate claims being made for these products.
It is to be noted that despite evidence being provided to Mr Murphy, Dr Golding and Mr Arthur as directors of Solal, they allowed the continued marketing of certain of these products to the consumer. The evidence was posted to a consumer blog, CamCheck (www.camcheck.co.za) and discussed on DrugInfo, an email discussion group for health professionals. In other words, despite being shown to have no scientific support, Solal continued to market certain products to consumers.
- Specific applicable SAPC regulations
I argue that Mr Brent Murphy and Mr David Arthur are acting contrary to a number of SAPC rules, (illustrated with multiple examples in this submission), among other and including:
- “Ethical rules for which the Council may take disciplinary steps”
Advertising and touting:
5.1 Advertising of medicines or of his/her professional services in a manner-
(a) that is not factually correct;
(b) that is misleading;
(c) that harms the dignity or honour of the profession;
5.2 The advertising of medicines in a manner –
(a) That disparages any other product, medicine or substance
Comment: as reviewed in Section 6: Products and claims.
Furthermore, it is consistently stated on the Solal website that their products are better than others because of the high quality of their ingredients and the formulation of the products.
- B. From the Government Gazette:
1.1 Principle: A pharmacist’s prime concern in the performance of his/her professional duties must be for the welfare of both the patient and other members of the public.
1.1.1 The pharmacist’s goal in the provision of medicine therapy should be to achieve definite therapeutic outcomes towards patient health and quality of life.
1.1.4 A pharmacist must not give an impression to a potential purchaser that any product associated with maintenance of health or a food supplement is efficacious when there is no evidence of efficacy confirmed by the MCC.
Comment: as reviewed in Section 6: Products and claims.
1.2 Principle: A pharmacist must uphold the honour and dignity of the profession and may not engage in any activity which could bring the profession into disrepute.
1.2.1 A pharmacist must have due regard for the reasonably accepted standards of behavior both within and outside his professional practice.
1.2.2 Any breach of the law, whether or not directly related to a pharmacist’s professional practice may be regarded as bringing disrepute and may be considered to be a misconduct.
1.2.3 A pharmacist must not use or permit the use of his/her qualifications or his/her position as a pharmacist to mislead or defraud.
Comment: I would argue that selling products with no proven efficacy, and/or not legally permitted in South Africa e.g., stevia applies.
1.6.3 Perverse Incentives
(c) In order to prevent perverse incentives the following is not permissible nor is it ethical for a pharmacist, pharmacist intern or pharmacist’s assistant to engage in the following actions:
(i) advertise or endorse or encourage the use of any health establishment or medicine, complementary medicine, veterinary medicine, medical device or scheduled substance or health related product or health related service in a manner that unfairly promotes the practice of a particular health care professional or a health care facility for the purpose of improper financial gain or other valuable consideration;
Comment: I would argue that the pharmacists involved have engaged in these actions as demonstrated in my complaints.
k. Publicity must not abuse the trust or exploit the lack of knowledge ‘of a consumer/patient.
Comment: I would argue that through the vehicle of Health Intelligence Magazine, the pharmacists involved have abused the trust and exploited the lack of knowledge of consumers; as reviewed in Section 6: Products and claims
1.7.2 Publicity for service – Touting
a. Without limiting its generality ‘touting or attempting to tout for prescriptions or business with regard to the sale of medicine” which include the following:
(i) any unsolicited approach directly to a member of the public by way of a telephone call, electronic means, or a visit made without prior appointment;
Comment: I would argue that the Solal Website is used for touting for business with regard to the sale of medicines.
1.13 The Use Of Trading Titles, Brand Names And Logos
Principle: A pharmacist and/or registered pharmacy owner must ensure that all trading titles, brand names and logos, are approved and recorded with Council.
1.13.1 No person issued with a license in terms of Section 22 of the Act and no pharmacy shall adopt and use a trading title, brand name or logo for a retail pharmacy or an institutional pharmacy without the prior written approval of the Council.
Comment: Solal claims in its slogans that they are “anti-aging specialists” and that its products are “prescribed by doctors, recommended by pharmacists” would appear to contravene this principle. Is there evidence that Solal’s slogans were given the prior written approval of the Council?
(e) names which may cause the public. to be misled, will not be approved;
Comment: Solal markets products such as “Burnout”, “Breast Protection Formula”, “Stress Damage Control” among others. Have these names been approved? See also Appendix Q.
Note: “Stress Damage Control” is claimed to be “scientifically formulated” and in a letter dated 1984 01 27, the Medicines Control Council confirmed that a product cannot claim to relieve stress unless it is registered as a medicine and the claim has been approved by the MCC.
Ethical Rule 10 – Harming the dignity of the profession
Comment: I would argue that as illustrated in this submission, that Mr Brent Murphy and Mr David Arthur, have harmed the dignity of the profession in multiple ways, that they remain unrepentant in spite of numerous ASA rulings, and continue to act in a manner that continues to cast aspersions on the profession.
Dispensing without valid prescriptions
Comment: This refer to the dispensing of schedules substances as illustrated in Section 5.
- Threatening and intimidation of individuals who present opposing views.
The individuals complained of, acting together as Solal, have attempted to intimidate, and have threatened a number of individuals with defamation suits. Under the guise of claiming to have been defamed, they have in fact attempted to prevent fair and scientifically accurate comments from being stated, or the laying of complaints against their products’ claims with the ASA. The list below includes known individuals or organisations threatened with legal action.
- Dr Harris Steinman
- Prof Jobson
- Rene Smallberger in her personal capacity and as president of ADSA (The Association for Dietetics in South Africa)
- Kevin Charleston (a consumer who laid complaints with the ASA against claims for Solal’s products)
- Treatment Action Campaign and SECTION27 (formerly AIDS Law Project).
- Advertising Standards Authority
In conclusion, the array of complaints against Dr Craige Golding, Mr Brent Murphy and Mr David Arthur in their individual capacities and collectively as Directors of Solal are serious, are indefensible, and in particular are a flagrant disregard for the Ethical rules of both the HPCSA and the SAPC. I am of the view that it is not in the public interest for these individuals (and Solal) to continue to aggressively market many unsubstantiated products in spite of these issues having been highlighted and made known to them.
I request both the HPCSA and SAPC to consider appropriate actions against these individuals.
I would further request that the Pharmacy Council investigates whichever company licenced with it is manufacturing and selling Scheduled substances whichever Solal company.
I would also request that the Pharmacy Council investigates the “Compounding Pharmacy of South Africa” (which shares the same physical address as the “Integrative Medical Centre”) and its activities; and whether or not they meet the requirements of the Pharmacy Act (and the Medicines Act). In particular I would request that the (prescribing), compounding and dispensing of “bio-identical hormones” be investigated.
I request that the HPCSA take into consideration that in spite of my colleagues and I having over a number of years brought to the attention of Dr Craige Golding, Mr Brent Murphy, Mr David Arthur and Solal that their actions are contrary to Medicines and Foodstuffs legislation, and a number of HPCSA and SAPC Ethical rules, that they have flagrantly continued to ignore these and instead have vexatiously attacked such individuals, including the ASA , and as a further resort, which I consider malicious and intended to “shut me up”, laid a complaint under consideration with the HPCSA against myself for pointing this out.
It is my conjecture that the defendants may purposefully be ignoring the HPCSA and SAPC Code of Ethics with the belief that the maximum penalty if found guilty, to be no more than a minor financial irritant compared to the profit to be made by ignoring these codes: there appears to be no other explanation as to why the codes were ignored.
Appendices and Attachments
A personal communication with Dr Craige Golding where it is made clear that he is using “anti-aging” qualifications contrary to the HPCSA regulations.
ASA rulings against claims for Solal products.
Complaint to South African Pharmacy Council against Dr Beverley Summers (May 2009) demonstrating their inability to pursue the complaint.
Communication with the MCC regarding Modul8’s AIDS cure claims
Letter to Public Protector regarding a lack of response to my complaint to the MCC regarding Modul8’s AIDS cure claims.
Dr Golding found guilty of “unprofessional conduct or conduct which when regard is had to your profession”
‘Sad facts about happy pills’ – not so many facts! – a deconstruction by Prof Roy Jobson of an article published in Health Intelligence against anti-depressants.
Titled “Is an “anti-aging pill” possible?” – a deconstruction of the science used by Solal in support of an anti-aging pill, showing that not a single reference is appropriate.
Titled “Solal – Too much sugar claim No. 2” in which Solal Technologies placed an advert in the Durban Mercury of 03 March 2011, in which the claim was made that “[T]oo much sugar may accumulate fat and make learning difficult”, showing that not a single reference is appropriate. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of pseudoscience is the extrapolation of substandard animal studies to humans.
Confirmation of a posting where I make it clear that the statement “blood on our hands” was not attributed to Solal per se.
DrugInfo posting of: “Solal have been selling and using the sweeteners stevia and erythritol for some time now – these are NOT permitted and are illegal.” [This is now out of date, as the legislation now exists.]
Mrs Allison Vienings has substantiated a number of “therapeutic products” for companies with the ASA. Not a single product had been investigated in human trials at the time of substantiation.
Part 1: An article by Kevin Charleston, who investigated the magazine, Health Intelligence and argues that as Solal does not explicitly show that it is the owner and editor of the magazine, that this amounts to hidden marketing and touting
Part 2: Letter from practitioner expressing concern of the impact of the article on patients
Part 3: A deconstruction of the anti-“anti-depressants”article published in Health Intelligence – Original article attached as Appendix G.pdf
A deconstruction of Solal’s Anti-Aging Pill showing that the evidence for effects in humans is extrapolated from earthworms and rats.
Health Intelligence – misguiding the public? An article by Prof Roy Jobson where he argues that Solal’s magazine, Health Intelligence is misleading the public, giving false information, and therefore causing harm to both the consumer and the health profession.
A list of products that Solal claims has efficacy in AIDS/HIV and other conditions
Complaint to ASA regarding Solal Stress Damage Control
Comments from readers of CamCheck appreciative of being warned about unsubstantiated products.
Legal Enquiry_0232_H Steinman_Services of wholesale pharmacy_20120601
SAPC response to enquiry re: Solal scope of services
Dr Golding promotes unsubstantiated treatments such as “chelation therapies, intravenous nutrients and other intravenous treatments such as glutathione, hydrogen peroxide, phospholipid exchange,”
Original article of “Sad facts about happy pills” in Health Intelligence
Solal advert “Vitamin D is as effective as a vaccine” – The deconstruction by Die Burger’s journalist, Elsabe Britz
ASA Ruling of “Vitamin D is as effective as a vaccine” advert
ASA Ruling of Solal’s appeal of “Vitamin D is as effective as a vaccine” advert
ASA complaint about Solal’s claim that “[T]oo much sugar may accumulate fat and make learning difficult”.