Government Health Agencies and Their Chemical Brothers

The U.S. Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction "was established within the National Institutes of Health to assess the dangers of chemicals and help determine which ones should be regulated," reports Marla Cone. "But much of the agency's work has been conducted by a private consulting company ...


Industry Funding Skews Breast Cancer Research

As had previously been shown with "heart, stroke and bone marrow cancer research," a review by medical researchers found that "breast cancer studies funded by drug companies are more likely to yield positive findings than those without pharmaceutical industry backing." Researchers at the University of North Carolina "looked at 140 studies published in 2003, 1998 and 1993 in 10 medical journals on breast cancer therapies, nearly half of which were deemed to have had drug company involvement in the for


Appetite for Profit: An Interview with Michele Simon

Appetite for Profit book coverIn December 2006, I interviewed author Michele Simon about her book, "Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines our Health and How to Fight Back." The excerpts below are from that original interview, which took place on WORT, community radio in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information on Michele and her work, please visit her website.

Judith Siers-Poisson (JSP): How did you personally become so involved and interested in food politics?

Michele Simon (MS): It started about 10 years ago when I was struggling with my own weight and turned to a vegetarian diet and, lo and behold, I lost the weight I was struggling with. And then, from there, I started to learn all of the other ways our diet impacts our own health, in addition to the environment, animal welfare, and labor, and so many aspects of society -- I was just amazed at how much was impacted by those food choices.

University of Virginia Gets an "F" in Tobacco Industry Studies

On February 9, 2007 the University of Virginia [ announced] its acceptance of a $25 million gift from cigarette maker Philip Morris to support biomedical research and "business leadership." In its press release, UV said the gift created a partnership between PM and UV "in a number of key areas in which they share a common interest." A medical school finding common interest with Philip Morris is somewhat of a stretch. It strikes me as a conflict of interest for a medical school to profit from a product that [ kills 440,000 Americans annually]. Moreover, tesearch on tobacco industry documents published in [ October 2004 in the medical journal Academic Medicine] shows that funding research, and particularly biomedical research, is how the tobacco industry buys legitimacy. Author Nathaniel Wander said that he found "PM wanted to be seen to contribute to medical research to counter the image of harm caused by its cigarettes." The exposure of Philip Morris' internal PR strategies notwithstanding, UV glowed over its new-found partnership with a tobacco company found [ guilty in federal District Court last August] of participating in a massive 50-year scheme to lie, conspire and defraud the public about the dangers of smoking. Maybe UV hasn't read its medical journals. Academicians have known for some time about the [ covert influence of the tobacco industry on research]. It is also well established that making grants to carry out external biomedical research been long the centerpiece of the tobacco industry's decades-long propaganda campaign to keep the public confused about the health hazards of smoking and, more recently, the hazardous effects of secondhand smoke on nonsmokers.

The Gori Truth: Tobacco Industry Payments to Toxicologist Undisclosed

As part of a program to give voice to a select group of think tanks, on January 30 the Washington Post printed an article by toxicologist and epidemiologist Gio Batta Gori, titled "The Bogus 'Science' of Secondhand Smoke." Gori claims that many published studies on the health hazards of secondhand smoke are bas


Censorship of Climate Scientists Heats Up

"Prompted by reports that [Bush] administration appointees, including a former oil industry lobbyist who was chief of staff at the [White House] Council on Environmental Quality, edited climate change reports or pressured scientists to tone down statements about the dangers of global warming," the U.S.


BBC: Drug Firm and U.S. Doctor Consulted on Media Message for Antidepressant

A University of Pittsburgh child psychiatrist who conducted company-sponsored clinical trials on adolescent use of the antidepressant Paxil also conferred with the company on how to respond to press inquiries challenging the safety of the drug for adolescents, reports the BBC investigative program, Panorama. The psychiatrist, Dr. Neal Ryan, sent emails to GlaxoSmithKline dating to 2002 requesting media advice.



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