In early January, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce began investigating celebrity endorsements in television ads for brand-name drugs. The investigation was sparked by Pfizer's commercials for its best-selling cholesterol drug Lipitor. These direct-to-consumer (DTC) ads feature Dr. Robert Jarvik, a pioneer in the development of the artificial heart. Viewers are not told that Jarvik is not a cardiologist, nor is he licensed to practice medicine. His presentation as a trusted expert, Pfizer presumably hopes, is enough to persuade viewers to ask their doctors for Lipitor by name. And that would help erode the increasing competition from generic alternatives.
Low-income California communities concerned with environmental justice have launched a 21-point "Environmental Justice Movement Declaration." Their position is a challenge to the policies of Gov.
French researchers are concerned that consumer demand for hybrid cars, fueled by advertising and PR, is slowing down the development of genuinely sustainable green auto technologies.
When the dangers of smoking first became widely known, cigarette companies secretly hired biomedical scientists to create confusion.
"Education is the key to stemming illegal downloads of music and other content," concluded a new study.
"Here's a recipe for academic controversy," observes Richard C. Paddock: "First, find dozens of hard-core teenage smokers as young as 14 and study their brains with high-tech scans. Second, feed vervet monkeys liquid nicotine and then kill at least six of them to examine their brains. Third, accept $6 million from tobacco giant Philip Morris to pay for it all.
Scientists in eight Arctic nations prepared "a landmark assessment of oil and gas activity" in the region over six years, including "a clear set of recommendations on how to extract safely what are thought to be up to one quarter of the world's energy reserves." But the United States government blocked the report's release, as it prepares "to sell off exploration licenses for the frozen Chukchi Sea off Alaska, one of the last intact habitats of the polar bear." One of the authors of the report said the U.S. move "could be linked to activities in the Chukchi Sea ...
The case of Pierre Meneton is fueling demands for legal protections for whistleblowers in France. Meneton is a researcher for the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research. He is going to court on January 31, 2008, to face charges of defamation. Several industrial salt producers are suing Meneton for a comment he made during an interview in March 2006. "The lobbying of salt producers and agribusiness is very active.