Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ribena Girls of Diesel Engine: VW & GSK!


Black current? Honest!

Black Currant Studies © 2012 Am Ang Zhang

© 2012 Am Ang Zhang

Now the story of Ribena has to be one of those sweet (sorry) stories one remembers for a long, long time.
Anna Devathasan (left) and Jenny Suo, New Zealand
Photo by Martin Sykes

In 2004 a science experiment by two 14-year-old high school girls in New Zealand brought embarrassment to the world's second-largest food and pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, whose Ribena sale is around $8 million a year.
"We thought we were doing it wrong, we thought we must have made a mistake," Anna said when they found negligible vitamin C level in the Ribena they tested. The company had promoted the product by claiming that blackcurrants had four times the vitamin C of oranges.
The girls got short shrift when they telephoned GlaxoSmithKline.
"They didn't even really answer our questions. They just said it's the blackcurrants that have it, then they hung up," Jenny said.
Well, that was very clever. Blackcurrants have it, but not Ribena. So, nobody is misleading the public. You can guess the “concentration” of blackcurrant in Ribena. Have you tried the Syrop de cassis from France? The flavour of blackcurrant just bursts in your mouth.
The question must be asked of the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world. If they did not know how to check for vitamin C level, what business did they have in producing drugs that are used by millions? If they knew about it then ……wow!
The 2007 New Zealand Commerce Commission Report did not mince their words:
"Health claims are big business in today’s market, and the Commission has targeted bogus health claims in recent years. It is very disappointing to see a major pharmaceutical and health products company like GlaxoSmithKline mislead the public in this way……….a massive breach of trust with the New Zealand public."

GSK pleaded guilty to 15 representative charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act by making misleading claims about the Vitamin C content of Ribena, was fined $227,500, and ordered to undertake a nationwide campaign of corrective advertising in newspapers to explain that some forms of Ribena contain no detectable level of vitamin C.
GSK were lucky that they did not get fined over Ribena in any other country including Australia. In Australia, they avoided the fine by undertaking to explain the true nutritional makeup of Ribena on its packaging, its website and in future advertising.
Knowledge is power and it is good to know that there are young Cockroach Catchers as far away as New Zealand.
The two girls must have the last words:
Every time I see the new Ribena ad, the one where they don't mention any vitamin C, I'm just like, "Oh, yeah".

Volkswagen scandal: how two campaigners exposed the 

world's biggest car company

 By Science Editor


Peter Mock and John German never intended to spark a huge crisis in the motor industry

When transport campaigners Peter Mock and John German began testing US car emissions early in 2014 it was with the sole intention of proving to Europe that it was possible to make clean diesels.

America had seemingly cracked the dirty fuel conundrum, its cars effortlessly passing pollution checks that were far stricter than across the Atlantic.
So enlisting the help of the West Virginia University, Mock and German, decided to drive a number of models 1,300 miles from San Diego to Seattle to show that emission-busting technology need not impact performance.

German and Mock
But when the results came back they made no sense. Despite sailing through lab tests, the Volkswagens were pumping out dangerous levels of toxins, some 35 times higher than the legal limit.
The pair had inadvertently stumbled upon one of the biggest automotive scandals in recent years.

John German and Peter Mock

Source: ICCT via Bloomberg
Photoshot. All rights reserved.
On the road the VW Jetta exceeded US nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 35 times. The Passat was up to 20 times higher.
The pair contacted the Californian Air Resource Board and the US  Environment Protection Agency who launched an investigation in May 2014.
There followed months of fencing by Volkswagen who insisted on repeating the tests themselves and claimed that the figures were the result of minor discrepancy software error which could be fixed easily with a recall.
It wasn't until the EPA and the CARB threatened to withhold certification for its 2016 diesel models that Volkswagen admitted its wrongdoing in early September.

Other teenage Paxil users were not so lucky. Jake Garrison, a 15-year-old who suffered from acne, was prescribed Paxil by his dermatologist for “body dysmorphic disorder,” a condition that leaves people feeling preoccupied with their own perceived physical defects. He took the medicine for a while, then stopped, and then, in September 2002, began taking it again. Three days later, he shot himself to death.

.....GSK also seemed to be manipulating data from its clinical trials to minimize the number of suicides or attempts that might be blamed on its pills—“cooking the books,” in the words of a former Navy lawyer who took on the British pharma giant.

As I read through company documents released by government lawyers, I began thinking about some of the victims I’ve interviewed during two decades of reporting on the pharmaceutical industry and its marketing of flawed, sometimes dangerous drugs—people like Angela Reich and the anguished parents of other children who died. I also thought about the statements made by Sir Andrew Witty, Glaxo’s chief executive officer, who expressed “regret,” said the company had learned from “the mistakes that were made” and asserted that under his leadership the company was now “putting patients first, acting transparently…and displaying integrity in everything we do.”

Times headline:        

No prosecution on suicide-risk drug.

“A report suggested that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) knew about safety risks but failed to report them to the medicines safety watchdog for five years.”
The drug concerned is Paroxetine and in the UK marketed as Seroxat and in the US as Paxil.
“GSK submitted data from clinical trials to the MHRA in May 2003 showing that patients under 18 had a six or sevenfold increased risk of suicidal behaviour if they were treated with Seroxat than if they received a placebo. Data also showed that the drug was not effective for treating depression in children and adolescents. Leaked documents suggested that GSK had known about these results as early as 1998.”
Keen eyed bloggers would have noticed Paxil CR in a previous posting of mine about how GlaxoSmithKline had all their Paxil CR andAvandamet seized in the U.S.

1 comment:

Truthman30 said...

I have a blog about Seroxat, check it out..