Wake-up Call

Resist the Corporate State

Posts Tagged ‘Marketing

US Probes Corruption in Big Pharmaceuticals

leave a comment »

Friday, 13 Aug 2010 

By: Stephanie Kirchgaes, Financial Times

The US Department of Justice is scrutinizing payments by leading pharmaceuticals companies for hospitality, consultants, licensing agreements and charitable donations in markets around the world as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe.

GlaxoSmithKline [GSK-LN  1224.50    28.50  (+2.38%)], Pfizer [PFE  16.15 -0.05 (-0.31%) ], Bristol-Myers Squibb [BMY  26.3925 0.0625 (+0.24%) ] and Eli Lilly [LLY  35.74 -0.86 (-2.35%) ], among others, have disclosed being contacted by the DoJ and Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the investigation. Merck [MRK  35.062 0.022 (+0.06%) ], the US drugs group, announced last week that it had also been contacted and was co-operating with investigators.

An industry attorney familiar with the probe said that the DoJ was looking at whether pharma companies had ignored a “systematic risk” inherent in the global drugs business and ignored obligations under local and US anti-bribery law.

The highly regulated nature of the business, combined with the fact that healthcare officials in many non-US markets were government funded, made the industry a natural target for such a probe, the person added.

The investigation is at a relatively early stage but is considered a priority for the DoJ.

While hospitality – including meals and all expenses-paid travel for conferences – has long been considered a potential risk for pharma groups, the DoJ’s probe is looking at all aspects of companies’ dealings in non-US markets, people familiar with the matter say. That includes the recruitment of physicians for clinical trials. In some markets, the same physicians may serve on regulatory boards that approve or deny drugs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by laudyms

August 13, 2010 at 9:24 am

Millions of patients should never be prescribed antidepressants, scientists say

with one comment

June 16, 2010   David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Roughly half the population should never be prescribed antidepressant drugs because they are only likely to become more depressed, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute and published in the journal Neuron.

Scientists have known for some time that antidepressant drugs only work in about half of patients. Research has discovered that although the drugs are designed to raise circulating levels of the neurotransmitter chemical serotonin in the brain, they actually produce the opposite effect in large numbers of people.

“The more antidepressants try to increase serotonin production, the less serotonin [they] actually produce,” researcher Rene Hen said.

An estimated 11 percent of U.S. women and 5 percent of men in non-institutionalized settings are currently taking antidepressants.

Genetic and brain imaging studies have led some scientists to believe that the explanation for this effect lies in the actual make up of the brain, specifically in the numbers of 1A serotonin receptors found in the raphe neurons deep in the brain’s center. Although higher numbers of these receptors on raphe neurons are correlated with decreased responsiveness to antidepressants, scientists have had trouble testing the hypothesis directly.

In the new study, scientists genetically engineered mice to contain either high or low numbers of 1A receptors in their raphe neurons. They found that in mice with higher levels of receptors, antidepressants actually lowered serotonin levels rather than lowering them — consistent with the effect seen in people whose bodies resist the drugs.

The researchers then lowered the number of receptors in these mice and re-tested them. The mice then became responsive to the drugs.

“By simply tweaking the number of receptors down, we were able to transform a non-responder into a responder,” Hen said.

Rather than suggesting that antidepressant use be scaled back, however, Hen and colleagues expressed eagerness to find ways to suppress the activity of some of the 1A neurons in the raphe receptors of people who are resistant to the drugs, so that everyone can be treated with them equally.

Sources for this story include: www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthne… ; www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/….

Written by laudyms

June 17, 2010 at 10:11 am

Why Facts No Longer Matter

with 2 comments

by Anne Landman   April 28, 2010   PRWatch.org

A recent PRWatch blog discussed how corporations are increasingly turning to cause marketing to get around people’s ability to tune out their daily deluge of advertising. Cause marketing, or “affinity marketing,” is a sophisticated PR strategy in which a corporation allies itself with a cause that evokes strong emotions in targeted consumers, like curing cancer, alleviating poverty, feeding the hungry, helping the environment or saving helpless animals. The relationship avails the company of a more effective way to grab the attention of their audience, by telling them compelling stories linked to the cause, for example tales of survival, loss, strength, good works, etc. Once the company gets your attention, it links its name and brands to the positive emotions generates by the cause. The company then leverages that emotion to get you to buy the stuff they’ve linked to the cause — and improve its corporate image.

Cause marketing works, which is why its use is spreading like wildfire. The operative word that the whole idea turns on is “emotion,” because the ability to manipulate people depends completely on generating an emotional connection that the company can exploit.

Emotional Exploitation and Public Policy

Entire industries exploit emotions not just to sell goods, but also to influence public policy. Tobacco industry documents provide an excellent example:

In 1998, California’s Proposition 10, a measure to raise cigarette taxes, made it onto the ballot was headed for a statewide vote. Naturally, the tobacco industry opposed it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Questions and answers on nanotech safety

leave a comment »

Here are two articles about  nanotechnology safety: one somewhat reassuring, the other not so much. It appears we must educate ourselves, since labeling and consumer protections are not priorities:

2020Science Andrew Maynard February 12, 2010

24 questions and answers on nanotechnology safety

Well I guess I set myself up good and proper – I should have realized that in asking people for their questions on nanotechnology safety last week, they would actually want answers!

read more here

and the next article

Hazards Magazine

Dangers come in small particles

Hundreds of nanotechnology applications are already in commercial production despite a huge health and safety question mark. Hazards looks at how an industry the safety authorities admit they know precious little about has been allowed to grow, unregulated, into the biggest thing since the microchip.

read more here

See also: Risks of Nano-technology

Supermarket News Forecasts Non-GMO Uprising

leave a comment »

Jeffrey Smith Huffington Post January 8, 2010
Author and founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology

For a couple of years, the Institute for Responsible Technology has predicted that the US would soon experience a tipping point of consumer rejection against genetically modified foods; a change we’re all helping to bring about. Now a December article in Supermarket News supports both our prediction and the role the Institute is playing.

“The coming year promises to bring about a greater, more pervasive awarenes” of the genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply, wrote Group Editor Robert Vosburgh, in a trade publication that conventional food executives and retailers use as a primary source of news and trends in the industry. Vosburgh describes how previous food “culprits” like fat and carbs “can even define the decade in which they were topical,” and suggests that GMOs may finally burst through into the public awareness and join their ranks.

Read the rest of this entry »