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VITAMIN ADVERTISING IN JAMA

* Dr. Mathias Rath sells vitamin supplements.

* He paid for an advertisement in the Journal of the American Medical Association asking for clinical studies on vitamins, particularly those that he sells.

*He then paid for radio and print advertisements claiming that : "In the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Mathias Rath ... invited doctors to participate in vitamin clinical studies." And that: "Could it be that vitamins are effective, but less profitable, than pharmaceutical drugs?"

Do you see anything wrong with this picture? Dr. Rath is in the business of making money and he makes money by selling vitamins.

The first statement in his radio and print advertisement claims that Dr. Rath invited doctors to participate in clinical studies in the Journal of the AMA. This sounds like he wrote an article that was accepted by the editors and that he respectfully invites doctors to do studies. It implies that the editors approved of his invitation and that he presented evidence that the effect of vitamins on health has not been studied. Remember all he did was purchase an ad.

How about his rhetorical question, "Could it be that vitamins are effective but less profitable than pharmaceutical drugs?" This implies that drug companies are dishonest in that they force you to take drugs, when vitamins, such as he sells, would be more effective in treating disease. This is ridiculous. Most of the vitamins pills that you buy are made by drug companies.

The Journal of the American Medical Association is so disgusted with Dr. Rath's misleading advertisements for his vitamin supplements that they sent letters to members of the media and the Food and Drug Administration warning that mentioning the Journal of the American Medical Association is an abuse of the use of their name and the are concerned that it is used for "the purpose of advancing the private interests of a commercial advertiser."

There is no evidence anywhere that vitamin pills offer any health benefits that cannot be obtained from eating foods that contain these vitamins. Furthermore, Dr. Rath's add can lead some people to think that doctors generally and the American Medical Association, in particular, don't want you to be healthy because they want you to be sick and buy drugs, //when you could be healthy if you took vitamin pills. This is ridiculous.

Letter to the media and FDA June 12, 2000 and June 26, 2000

Checked 1/7/04

June 2nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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