Science

Pill Shills and Marketing Ills

Prescription pills"Prozac Nation: Revisited," a show that aired on U.S. National Public Radio member stations, "featured four prestigious medical experts discussing the controversial link between antidepressants and suicide. ... All four said that worries ...

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Industry Encourages More Regulation, USDA Declines

Mad Cow U.S.A. book coverThe U.S. Department of Agriculture has been criticized for not totally banning "downer" cows -- animals "too sick or hurt to stand for slaughter" -- from the food supply. So "when a coalition of major industry groups reversed their position and joined animal advocates and several lawmakers in calling for an absolute ban," why wouldn't the USDA agree?

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Painting Bottled Water Green

Glass of water"Suppose, for example, that you own a company that sells bottled water," which is "shipped, in its little plastic bottles, ten thousand miles from the bottling plant to the consumer," writes Steve Burns. "Could you possibly 'brand' such a product as eco-friendly?" If the company is FIJI Water, you'll try.

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Unhealthy Practices at Public Hospitals

At an inquiry into the problems facing cash-strapped public hospitals in New South Wales, Australia, neurologist Dr Suzanne Hodgkinson explained that doctors sought financial support of drug companies. "I had insufficient clerical support and so as to try and remedy that I approached a company to help me with that on a temporary, part-time basis. ... Quite a few senior doctors do try to raise money to help with the provision of services," she said. Hodgkinson raised A$20,000 for the position, but would not name the drug company funder.

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Ultraviolet Without the Sunlight

A review article published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggested that tanning at the beach or an indoor tanning booth can help avoid the dangers of vitamin D deficiency. However, the NEJM didn't disclose that the article's author, Michael Holick, has received more than $150,000 in research funding from the artificial tanning industry.

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Special Offer: Free Grass to Subject Your Children to Sludge

Sludge keeps rearing its ugly head. Scientists used federal grant money to "spread fertilizer made from human and industrial wastes on yards in poor, black neighborhoods to test whether it might protect children from lead poisoning in the soil." The residents were not alerted to any harmful ingredients in the sludge, and were assured that it posed no health risks for their families.

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