Woman offering Aids cure 'a charlatan': Pamphlet claimed drug could treat cancer and other diseases

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The Independent Online
A WOMAN who styled herself as a doctor and priest was 'a fraud and a charlatan' because she said she could cure Aids and cancer using a wonder drug, a jury was told yesterday.

Elizabeth Marsh, 49, who has no medical qualifications, made the claims for the drug, known as CH6 and Cancell, in a pamphlet that she wrote, Isleworth Crown Court in west London was told.

'The pamphlet said it is a wonder drug which cures cancer and Aids and a lot more besides, rather like old patent medicines in the 19th century, sold in the Wild West and other places, claiming to cure every disease known to man,' David Ross, for the prosecution, said.

But Mr Ross said that it was his case that the pamphlet, Cancer and Aids: Is There Any Hope Left for Us?, contained 'dangerous nonsense and pseudo-scientific claptrap'.

Mrs Marsh, of Northolt, Middlesex, who puts an impressive array of letters after her name - MD (MA), Phd, DAc, DHom, Fhom, DTsy - denies issuing a misleading advertisement in relation to the pamphlet.

The prosecution is being brought by the Department of Health under the Medicines Act, introduced in 1968 after the Thalidomide scandal, which bans the production or sale of a drug unless it has been proven safe and effective in clinical trials.

The court was told that government officials began making inquiries about the drug after the pamphlet was sent to the Laurel Tree public house in north-west London, which is used by homosexuals.

Mr Ross said that Mrs Marsh, who claimed to have been ordained a priest in 1986, had arranged for the publication of the document and that although it was purportedly written by someone called Mary Elliott, MSc Phd, the real author was Mrs Marsh.

The pamphlet claimed that the drug could also cure multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, haemophilia, asthma, herpes, sickle cell anaemia and other blood disorders. 'The claim to cure cancer is nonsense and the other claims in the brochure are nonsense as well,' Mr Ross said.

The pamphlet further outlined how the drug, developed in the United States in 1938 by James Sheridan and Edward Sopcak, had been suppressed by the US Food and Drug Administration, which licenses new drugs.

'It is suggested that the federal authorities refused to recognise the drug and had done everything they could to suppress it,' Mr Ross said. 'It is also suggested that there is a conspiracy between doctors, drug companies and the Government to stop people getting it.'

It goes on to say that trials had been started by several drug companies, but had been inexplicably dropped and that national cancer institutions in the US had not given out information about it because they feared losing government funding which would bring down their 'ivory cash towers'.

However, the pamphlet said that the drug was available free of charge from the Bio Medical Care Centre in Greenford, west London, though those who wanted it would have to pay a fee for a consultation and blood tests.

Mr Ross said that Mrs Marsh, who was 'extolled in the pamphlet as a person of learning and an authority in the field', even though she had no medical qualifications, 'was a fraud'.

He added: 'Whether she is a crank or a crook does not make a great deal of difference as far as the Act is concerned. The Crown says that it is wrong, and criminally wrong, to make unsubstantiated claims about the cure of serious diseases, particularly cancer and other life-threatening conditions.

'Patients with these diseases may be tempted to try unconventional, untested cures and give up what hope they have from conventional medicine. It is wrong to make such claims unless you can support them. There is no evidence - apart from the contents of this self-serving pamphlet - that this drug cures cancer.'

The trial continues today.