Bogus doctor convicted of promoting worthless drug: Woman's claims about curing Aids and cancer were nonsense

Ian Mackinnon
Tuesday 06 April 1993 23:02
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A WOMAN derided as a 'fraud and a charlatan' was yesterday found guilty of making a misleading claim about a wonder drug she said could cure Aids and cancer and treat a host of other ailments.

Elizabeth Marsh, whose promotion of the drug CH6 or Cancell was revealed in the Independent on Sunday two years ago, now faces up to two years' jail and an unlimited fine.

Judge Simon Evans said that he was putting off passing sentence until 11 May on Mrs Marsh, who styled herself as a priest and a doctor even though she has no medical qualifications, so that he could receive reports detailing her activities since she was charged.

Trading Standards Officers in Northern Ireland have already conducted an investigation into a clinic which Mrs Marsh, 49, has opened in Hollywood, County Down. Two other clinics which she ran in Cookstown, County Tyrone, closed down earlier this year.

Yesterday the jury of six men and six women took four and a half hours to reach an 11-1 majority verdict at the end of the seven-day trial at Isleworth Crown Court.

Mrs Marsh of Northolt, Middlesex, had denied issuing a misleading advertisement in relation to a booklet entitled Cancer and Aids. Is There Any Hope Left For Us? She was prosecuted by the Department of Health under the Medicines Act 1968 which makes it an offence to sell or produce any drug that has not been proven safe and effective in clinical trials.

The court had been told earlier that the booklet first turned up when it was sent to the landlord of the Laurel Tree, a pub in Camden, north London, popular with homosexuals.

The booklet claimed that the drug could cure cancer and 'eliminate the HIV virus 100 per cent' as well as providing an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, hepatitis, haemophilia, sickle cell anaemia, herpes, meningitis, asthma, cystic fibrosis and arthritis.

It further added that the drug, which had first been developed in 1938 in America, had been suppressed by a conspiracy of the US Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical companies who feared it would damage their markets.

However the Independent on Sunday investigation established that analysis of the substance by chemists in the US had shown that it had no medicinal properties and actually contained some toxic materials.

But the booklet and the covering letter which accompanied it asked for volunteers to take part in clinical trials for a 'vital life- saving project' involving the drug which was 'safe, non-toxic and had no side-effects'. No charge was made for the drug, but an initial consultation fee of pounds 95 was made.

The Independent on Sunday, however, found that those who took part in the trials at the Bio- Medical Care Centre, which Mrs Marsh ran from a house in Greenford, west London, could have suffered harmful effects because patients had to give up other medication.

David Ross, for the prosecution, told the jury that Mrs Marsh was a 'fraud and a charlatan. She said she could cure two incurable conditions, and two of the most frightening diseases. It was inevitable that she might attract people desperate enough to try her remedies'.

He said that the claims that it could cure the diseases were nonsense.

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