Under the strange Bizarro rules that right-wing pundits use to interpret politics in the United States, election season is the time when no one is supposed to discuss any of the things that might actually have a serious impact on their voting decision.
The case of a judge granting an injunction to prevent a group of medical professionals publishing a critical review of the herbal drug Tebonin has the editor of a major drug bulletin worried. The editor of Australian Prescriber, John Dowden, notes that in two other instances where drug companies sued drug bulletins, the judgements favoured the publishers.
The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against a Scottish energy utility that claimed that a tree planting scheme funded by consumers volunteering to pay a higher tariff would offset their carbon emissions. The ASA told Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) to withdraw a brochure promoting the scheme. SSE had argued that the average household produced 4.65 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year from gas usage and household waste.
George Monbiot argues that journalists and media outlets routinely fail to ensure adequate disclosure of the funding sources when including interviewing staff from think tanks on global warming.
Following sharp criticism from Britain's Royal Society, Exxon Mobil says it is reviewing which of the groups "that challenge the scientific validity of concerns about global warming" it will continue to fund.
One of the marketing success stories in the world of herbal pills is the hype and advertising that has made Tebonin one of the big-time sellers. If you believe the ads, popping a Tebonin pill a day will relieve tinnitus (the ringing sound some people have in their ears), dizziness and even improve mental alertness. The promoters claim the drug, which is based on a patented extract from the ginkgo biloba tree, improves "impaired micro-circulation," reduces "free radicals" and "promotes optimum cell function."
According to the German manufacturer, Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co KG, eight million pills are consumed every day. Schwabe, like so many companies in the herbal supplements sector, trades on its feel-good image. "From Nature, For Health," its website claims. That's the story the company wants you to hear. However, when a small group of Australian doctors and pharmacists, AusPharm Consumer Health Watch, drafted a report raising doubts about the benefits of Tebonin, they discovered a company that was not so warm and fuzzy. Soon after sending a copy of their draft report to the company, they were hit with a writ seeking an injunction that may bury their critical assessment forever.
"I wondered why [nuclear power] was being pushed and pushed and pushed," said British parliamentarian Dai Davies, in response to news that "key consultants" working on the UK National Energy Review "have strong links to the nuclear industry." The Observer reports that AEA Technology handled public submissions for the review.