Having blogged about it yesterday, I thought that would be it … but no, I’m back on the case again today. So whats new? Well, Ben Goldacre, a Doctor and also the writer of the Guardian’s Bad Science column, has an article all about it in today’s Guardian (Gosh, I’m beginning to sound like an add for the Guardian these days). Anyway, he does indeed offer a few additional insights that are worth noting.
OK, at its core, its the same story …
Maria Hatzistefanis is a star of lifestyle pages and the owner of Rodial, the cosmetics company that sells a product called Boob Job which, it claims, will give you a “fuller bust” “increase the bust size” and “plump up the décolleté area” with “an instant lifting and firming effect”, and deliver an increase of half a cup size in 56 days. Or rather an increase of “8.4%”. It’s all very precise.
However, Ben also then goes on to say …”I’m not going to lose sleep over anybody who buys a magic cream to make their breasts grow bigger. What worries me is that Hatzistefanis’s company is making libel threats against a doctor, simply for daring to voice doubts at these claims.” Well yes, but the fact is, there is no evidence here that this stuff works, so either its a scam, and the customers are being ripped off, or it does work, in which case a cream that truly does alter human physiology by up to 8.4% warrants a lot more study before it can be declared safe for human use.
But putting all that aside, there is also some new information here in Ben’s article. Apparently the letter sent by Rodial’s lawyers to Dr Nield (the plastic surgeon who expressed concern) said, “Our client on request would have provided all information required on clinical assessment and product ingredients.” Well, it turns out that statement is an outright lie, because when Ben asked them for that information, they refused.
Ben also goes on to say …
When Sense About Science, who have helped drive the campaign for libel law reform in the UK, put out a press release about Rodial threatening Dr Nield with libel, they were contacted by Hegarty, the firm of solicitors for Rodial. They seemed to be trying to stop people from daring to talk about the existence of their libel threat.
So, with gagging directives from the lawyers who represent Rodial flying all over the place, it all looks very suspicious, in fact its this very behaviour that more or less confirms, by their own hand, that they have no evidence and are now frantically trying to cover that fact up.
The truly frightening thing here is that if the threat of libel is deployed against doctors on a regular basis then we are all up a well-known creak. Think about the position this places doctors in, you do remember them now don’t you … the folks whom you depend upon to give you impartial guidance about your health, well they would be legally forced to stay silent on all such matters and so you would not be able to ask them for guidance ever again.
If, on the other hand, you don’t wish to live in a world where all Doctors and scientists are gagged, then its time to demand a change in the libel laws … so click on over to sense about science and sign up to support them.
You can read Ben’s article by clicking here
Oh, and don’t go buying any magic cream that claims to increase your boobs without any evidence … be skeptical. They claim they have evidence, but when asked, then refused and instead appear to have their lawyers on speed dial instead.