Health

Thanks for the Opportunity

Leslie Green at Stapleton Communications has a bachelor's degree in Marketing Communications from California Polytechnic State University, which must be where she learned how to stonewall reporters while still sounding upbeat. A detailed new investigative report charges her client, AXT Inc., with poisoning its workers with gallium arsenide, a potent carcinogen used to make semiconductors.

No

'Anti-Chemical' = Pro-Public Health

"Industry officials are expressing grave concern that a growing alliance between environmentalists and patient advocacy groups to link exposure to harmful pollution with chronic diseases and life-long disabilities could add credibility to activists' calls for stricter environmental requirements," Inside EPA reports.

No

FDA Seeks a Few Good Flacks to Pat Itself on the Back

"The Food and Drug Administration is looking to hire a PR firm to help it celebrate its 100th anniversary on June 30, 2006," O'Dwyer's PR writes. "It is looking for a campaign based on the 'Protecting and Advancing America's Health' theme. The PR firm is to use the campaign to celebrate the FDA's accomplishments and further its 'mission to promote and protect the public health for future generations.'" Before FDA knocks itself over patting itself on the back with its tax-subsidized PR campaign, let's look a little harder at its record versus its mythology.

No

Medicare For Lobbyists

"Rep. Billy Tauzin delivered a $540 billion prescription-drug benefit for Medicare. Now, the Louisiana Republican is leaving Congress for a $2 million-a-year job in the drug industry. When it comes to exposing your principles, Rep. Tauzin makes Janet Jackson look coy," the Palm Beach Post writes. Tauzin, who chaired the House Science and Commerce Committee, pushed through the early morning passage of the Medicare bill in December.

No

Same Money Politics. Less Accountability.

"Same Medicare. More Benefits." is the theme of a publicly-funded $12.6 million advertising effort promoting the new Medicare law. Critics of the ad campaign include Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy and the conservative National Taxpayers Union, who called it "an election-year ploy." The Wall Street Journal reports that National Media, a firm already working for the Bush/Cheney campaign, is getting a piece of the new ad campaign pie.

No

Drug Researcher Continues To Challenge Industry Claims

A Canadian professor of pediatrics and medicine vows to continue speaking out on the risk of a drug used to treat thalassemia, a hereditary blood disorder. Dr. Nancy Olivieri lost her attempt to get her research on the harmful side effects of deferiprone looked at by the committee for proprietary and medicinal products (CPMP) that regulates drugs in Europe. "This ruling guarantees that only a drug company attempting to sell a drug will control the content of the scientific data submitted or not submitted to the European CPMP," she said.

No

Bush Sweet On Sugar

The World Health Oragnization's leading scientists are accusing the Bush administration of putting the sugar industry's interests ahead of the global fight against obesity. The Observer reports, "Professor Kaare Norum, leader of the World Health Organisation's fight to prevent millions developing diet-related diseases, has sparked an international war of words with a highly critical letter to US Health Secretary Tommy Thompson. In it he tells of his grave concern over American opposition to the WHO's blueprint to combat obesity.

No

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