NHS chief attacks Paltrow's 'risky' health treatments
Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness brand Goop promotes treatments that carry “considerable risks to health”, the chief executive of NHS England has warned.
Sir Simon Stevens said the actress’s brand “peddles ‘psychic vampire repellent’; says ‘chemical sunscreen is a bad idea’; and promotes colonic irrigation and DIY coffee enema machines”.
These treatments carry “considerable risks to health”, said Sir Simon, with NHS advice stating “there is no scientific evidence to suggest there are any health benefits associated with colonic irrigation”.
In a speech at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre, the NHS boss also took aim at Goop’s TV series.
He said Paltrow and her team “test vampire facials and back a ‘bodyworker’ who claims to cure both acute psychological trauma and side-effects by simply moving his hands two inches above a customer’s body”.
The products sold by Goop, established by Paltrow in 2008 and valued at $250m (£191m), include a candle titled “This Smells Like My Vagina”.
The Oscar-winner recently explained it started as a joke, but that she regarded it as a “punk rock” statement of sorts.
Sir Simon also criticised “dubious wellness products and dodgy procedures” available from various online sources, and said the ease with which claims can spread has put misinformation “on steroids”.
“While the term ‘fake news’ makes most people think about politics, people’s natural concern for their health, and particularly about that of their loved ones, makes this particularly fertile ground for quacks, charlatans, and cranks,” said Sir Simon.
He said the spread of misinformation on established treatments was particularly worrying, with Russian social media bots and anti-vax lies damaging public faith in life-saving vaccines and creating serious health burdens.
The UK was one of four European countries to lose its measles elimination status last year.
At the time, the World Health Organisation said misinformation about vaccines was as contagious and dangerous as the diseases it helps to spread.