Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards

Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards

Most everyday foods are quite deadly.

Dihydrogen monoxide (water) is proven to cause drowning. Should we stop promoting drinking it?

Sodium chloride (table salt) is associated with high blood pressure/hypertension.

We could stop promoting it, but not only is it used to preserve food, but sodium is essential for nervous and muscular function, as well as, ironically enough, controlling blood pressure.

Cholesterol? Associated with heart disease. But without it, you’re dead. No, that’s not hyperbole. Cholesterol is essential for proper cell functioning.

Coffee is associated with digestive issues, high blood pressure, insomnia, increased heart rate, addiction and some other issues.

But coffee is a staple of the mornings of many, due to some positive effects, including increased alertness and antioxidant properties. Tea, by the way, is very similar.

Cigarettes have been proven to be harmful to the human body in any quantity, even with a filter.

So seeing a medical professional sitting on the board of directors of such a company would be a serious ethical conflict of interest.

But nobody would bat an eye if a medical professional were part of a company that sold or manufactured water, or coffee, or herbal tea, or table or rock salt, or meat or dairy foods of any kind. You know why? Because everybody understands that all foods are dangerous only when abused.

(Even fruits can lead to diabetes, and fish can lead to high cholesterol levels, when abused.)

When eaten in their correct proportions and in moderation, they can be quite beneficial to one’s health.

There is quite some debate as to whether the positive effects of a moderate amount of alcohol outweigh or balance out the negative effects.

I don’t know of a single medical professional who would tell a non-drinker to start drinking to improve their health and, worse, actively promote drinking.

I do know that just about all of them would say that if you’re already a drinker, keep it moderate, since that could be beneficial.

I also know that alcohol is not only used for consumption —alcohol is found in quite a few products, from hand sanitisers to perfumes.

I don’t pretend to know what Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards’s role is in Angostura (assuming there is one), but I’m totally certain that Angostura does not go out of its way to encourage anybody to abuse alcohol; Angostura does not deal only in alcoholic beverages; and no medical professional would in their right mind advertise and promote alcoholic beverages.

To claim that Dr Richards is in some kind of ethical or professional conflict because she’s somehow promoting alcoholism (where’s the evidence of this?) by being a part of a company that deals partially in alcoholic products is as dumb as saying a medical professional should not be a part of a water bottle company.

Because, you know, people die every year from drowning, and some people are simply addicted to the stuff, drinking far more water than their body needs (which, to be honest, is actually harmful).

To be clear, it is not an ethical or professional conflict to be part of something that is fine in moderation, but deadly in excess.

It’s the consumer, not the manufacturer, who gets to decide if the product is used as recommended, or abused.

You know, it’s funny. I constantly hear people complain that it’s “my body, my choice” when it comes to taking a Covid-19 vaccine (and abortion, where that is legal).

But somehow everybody abandons that line when it comes to choices about every other aspect of their health.

It’s hard to take people seriously when they don’t even take their own principles seriously, but choose to criticise others.

Dr Abdool-Richards, you probably won’t know me, but I implore you and your team to keep doing what you do to encourage people to get vaccinated.

We need more people to actually care, like you showed in the last news conferences.


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