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Posts Tagged ‘corporate influence’

No Doubt About It: Climate Denialists Have Undermined Public Understanding of the Science

Last night, FRONTLINE premiered its new documentary, Climate of Doubt, a chilling chronicle of the decade-long-plus campaign to confuse the public and policy-makers about the reality of human-induced climate change. As the PBS press release puts it, “Climate of Doubt describes the individuals and groups behind an organized effort to attack science by undermining scientists, and to unseat politicians who say they believe there is current climate change caused by human activity.’ Read More

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Crop Rotation Generates Profits without Pollution (or, What Agribusiness Doesn’t Want You to Know)

UPDATE: March 18, 2013, 3:15 pm: See bottom of post for an update on coverage of this story.

Big Ag has worked hard for decades to instill a belief—in farmers, policymakers, and the public—that its chemical-intensive industrial farming methods are more productive than low-input methods, and more profitable for farmers. In recent years, study after study has cast doubt on this view, and now a team of government and university researchers has published perhaps the most compelling data yet showing that more sustainable farming systems can achieve similar or greater yields and profits, despite steep reductions in chemical inputs. Read More

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New Guide for Scientists: Responding to Criticism and Personal Attacks

Scientists find themselves under scrutiny now more than ever before, and that scrutiny intensifies when their research is at the center of a public policy debate. Sometimes, this scrutiny helps educate the public and clarify what we know; at other times, this scrutiny is designed to confuse the public and policymakers. Today, UCS is releasing a guide that helps scientists deal with harassment and other unwarranted attacks on their integrity and their work. Read More

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Monsanto Improves its Bottom Line…But Not Agriculture

The Monsanto Company is raking it in—last week they reported third quarter profits of $937 million. Yes, you read that right: Monsanto’s profit for the three-month period ending May 31 amounted to nearly a billion dollars, up a whopping 35% from the same quarter last year. That raging river of cash flowing in must make it easy for the company to finance a flurry of advertising and lobbying extolling the virtues its products. According to Monsanto’s PR, the company is feeding a growing population, protecting natural resources, and promoting biodiversity.

But the truth is decidedly less impressive, and now UCS is setting the record straight with an ad campaign of our own. Read More

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Tell Pfizer’s Board to Break with Heartland

Misinformation about climate science is a dangerous thing. Scientists have been telling policymakers for years that climate change poses serious threats to our health and economic well-being. But too many polluting corporations have pursued a strategy of delay and denial to protect their near-term bottom lines rather than the public interest. Read More

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New Executive Order Could Limit Ability of U.S. Science Agencies to Protect the Public

It is ironic that 50 years after the drug thalidomide was found to have caused serious harm to tens of thousands of babies in Europe and Great Britain, but not the U.S., both the Administration and Congress are backing efforts that could unravel the safety net and erode the power of American agencies to protect public health and safety. Read More

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How Conflicted Experts Can Sway FDA Drug Approval Decisions: A Case Study on Yaz

Experts on FDA advisory panels with financial conflicts of interest can influence the approval of a drug in multiple ways, not only by voting to approve a drug but also by dominating the discussion and pressuring other panelists. In the case of the popular contraceptive drug Yaz, four scientists with financial conflicts of interest were enough to push the vote in favor of the drug, with significant consequences for some women. Read More

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New Allegations of Political and Corporate Pressure on FDA

In today’s New York Times, Gardiner Harris describes tensions between the FDA, Congress and the White House regarding the agency’s attempts to inform and protect the public. It’s an incredible article that helps demonstrate the pervasiveness of both political and corporate pressure on the agency, and how those who do not have scientific training in public health attempt to take decision-making authority on what should be scientific issues away from those who do.

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GM Drives Away From Climate Denial, Dumps Heartland Institute

The big news today is that General Motors said they’ll no longer fund a group that regularly attacks climate science.

According to the Huffington Post, “The automaker told the Heartland Institute last week that it won’t be making further donations, spokesman Greg Martin said.” Read More

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Money Talks, and What It’s Saying May Harm the FDA

Any way you look at it, $700 million is a lot of cash. That’s the amount that industries regulated by the FDA have spent since 2009 lobbying Congress and the Executive Branch. That investment is paying off as Congress now considers must-pass legislation that governs how the FDA uses science to evaluate prescription drugs and medical devices. Read More

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