Feature Article #1

Pink Slime: Why Waste Scarce Tax Dollars to Switch to More Expensive, Higher-Fat Alternatives?

Ironically, this type of meat is exactly what food activists should want more of. It wasn’t so long ago that food activists claimed they wanted our food to be more ’sustainable.This is an innovative model of sustainable agriculture: It’s made with a process that safely and efficiently uses parts of the animal that were either discarded. And since the fat is melted out before it’s mixed into other ground beef, ‘pink slime’ actually yields lower-fat meals.

admin | April 6th, 2012 | Continued

Feature Article #2

Syngenta stands behind the safety of atrazine

Crop protection products play a crucial role in bringing abundant and affordable food to our dinner tables. Forty percent of the world’s food supply would not exist without products like atrazine, a herbicide that helps farmers fight weeds in their corn, sorghum and sugar cane crops.
After 50 years of use, growers have come to rely [...]

admin | August 25th, 2009 | Continued

Feature Article #3

Atrazine Celebrates 50 Years of Effective Weed Control

Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, NC - This season marks the 50th anniversary of atrazine, one of the most valuable crop protection products ever developed. Throughout these years, growers have relied on atrazine for efficient, cost-effective control of a wide range of broadleaf weeds and grasses.

Atrazine, considered the most studied herbicide, has been used for 50 years
Over half [...]

admin | August 25th, 2009 | Continued

Feature Article #4

Water Quality Studies Show Atrazine Levels Meet Federal Standards

None of the 122 community water systems monitored last year in 10 states where atrazine is used most exceeded the federal standards set for atrazine in drinking water or raw water

The federal lifetime drinking water standard for atrazine is set at 3 parts-per-billion — a level containing a 1,000-fold safety factor
The EPA concluded that the [...]

admin | August 24th, 2009 | Continued

Feature Article #5

Economical Weed Control from Atrazine Boosts Ag Productivity

Yield Increases and Costs Savings from Products like Atrazine Help Growers Meet World Demand for Commodities

Using atrazine provides an average 5.1 percent yield increase
Atrazine saves corn growers up to $28 per acre
Economic impact of atrazine in corn, sorghum and sugar cane could be more than $2 billion per year

There are many reasons atrazine has remained [...]

admin | August 22nd, 2009 | Continued

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Other Recent Articles

Judge considering fraud charges against multi-millionaire

Tim Blixseth, a multi-millionaire who owns one of the most expensive houses and his own private island in the Turks and Caicos Islands, is making international headlines with one of the biggest bankruptcy cases to come through the U.S. and one that continues to air the dirty laundry of the the rich and famous.

Tim Blixseth, who owns Emerald cay, which is located just off Silly Creek and Chalk Sound in Providenciales, recently appeared in a US court in connection with a $375 million loan he obtained from Credit Suisse in 2005. The 59-year-old former billionaire spent more than $200 million of the cash for his personal use, buying everything from high-end real estate to airplanes.

Click here to read the full story on Tim Blixseth’s fraud trial.

Syngenta Responds to Activist Claims Regarding Atrazine

Backed by 6,000 studies and 50 years of use, atrazine can be used safely.

(PRWEB) January 15, 2010 — For 50 years, sound science has governed U.S. regulatory decisions on atrazine, a well-studied herbicide that farmers rely upon worldwide to produce safe, healthy and abundant crops. Syngenta, as a science-based company, looks forward to a continuing, open and transparent safety review of atrazine by the U.S. EPA in 2010 and expects a positive outcome.

Last week, two environmental activist groups escalated their attacks on Syngenta and atrazine, urging a departure from the EPA’s methodical, science-based approach to regulating crop protection products such as atrazine. Syngenta believes these claims are baseless and wrong.

These activist groups urge the removal of safe, regulated crop protection tools farmers rely on to produce safe and abundant food for the world. It is estimated forty percent of the world’s food supply would not exist without the use of such products.

Committed to the highest ethical standards “Syngenta is committed to promoting and maintaining high standards of corporate responsibility worldwide in an industry that is essential to global agriculture and food production,” said Dr. Tim Pastoor, principal scientist for Syngenta Crop Protection. “The activist report is an irresponsible and defamatory characterization of our company’s efforts to implement high standards of stewardship for the safe, effective and environmentally responsible use of its products. Our people are committed to the highest level of ethical standards in all our business practices.”

Transparent review of the best science EPA’s 12-year evaluation completed in 2006 found atrazine poses “no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infants, children or other … consumers.”

To reach its conclusion, EPA required that Syngenta initiate studies defined by the EPA and conducted using internationally recognized Good Laboratory Practices.

“Syngenta is required by the EPA to conduct a long list of mandatory high-quality studies under rigorous scrutiny by the agency,” said Pastoor. “Every data point is available to verify the studies were done properly and the science can be verified by EPA scientists. Recently cited studies by activist organizations are not required to adhere to the same standards. The EPA’s recent evaluation reviewed the best science in its regulatory decision, so these activist calls for yet another review of atrazine would only be repeating the work that has been done already.”

Read the rest of this press release here.

Death By a Thousand Studies

October was a good month for Stephen Tillery.

The prolific Metro-East plaintiff’s lawyer finally had his motion heard in Madison County Court to expand an already huge list of class members to a class action suit against makers of the herbicide atrazine.

In fact, October was a good month for any trial lawyer looking to secure his retirement by shielding people from atrazine.

The Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was beginning “a new scientific evaluation of atrazine” so it could determine whether or not the popular herbicide, regularly used by corn growers, is associated with causing cancer, birth defects, low birth weight, or premature birth.

Such intent sounds appropriate until one considers the peculiar timing of the study, the results of which are scheduled to be released next fall.

The EPA has already studied this issue and cleared atrazine as safe at least twice before, most recently in 2006. The chemical poses “no harm that would result to the general U.S. population, infants, children or other…consumers,” the agency said.

So why study atrazine again?

Read the rest of this article from the The Record here.

Growing concern over EU counterfeit medicines problem

United Kingdom, Dec 7 - Senior EU policy makers are becoming increasingly concerned as further evidence suggests the region is awash with counterfeit medicines .

The illegal drugs frequently contain too much, too little or no active ingredient at all, or they may contain toxic substances, posing a risk to the lives of EU patients.

Counterfeit medicines pose a serious threat to EU citizens says the commission (Photo: www.freeimages.co.uk) On Monday (7 December), EU industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen said the extent of the problem is highly alarming.

"The number of counterfeit medicines arriving in Europe …is constantly growing. The European Commission is extremely worried," he told the German newspaper Die Welt.

Read more here .

Partnerka, Counterfeit Drugs and the New Counterfeit Spam

Marvin D. Shepherd, PhD Shepherd

The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) has long reported on the growing issue of pharmaceutical spam advertising—and now SophosLab Canada has taken a closer look at the solicitation of counterfeit products online.

According to their new report, “The Partnerka: What Is it and Why Should You Care?,” one of the most influential counterfeit networks are the Russian partnerka, which are comprised of hundreds of well-organized spammer affiliate networks that fan out across the world—all working to drive as much traffic to partner sites (and stores) as possible.

And while today’s email services have anti-spam filters to help protect our inboxes, the Internet offers many other ways for the partnerka to peddle their counterfeits, including blogs, online forums and social networking sites.

In addition to buying advertisements on these platforms, spammers employ black hat search engine optimization methods to promote their Web sites and position them in front of Web users conducting searches on similar items. These techniques include creating Web sites that trick search engines into thinking they contain helpful content to Web searchers, as well posting spam messages on blogs, message boards and social networking sites—which are not subject to the same legal and technological requirements as their email counterparts.

As technology changes, so too do the tactics of unscrupulous counterfeit drug peddlers. The PSM reminds Web users to be wary of Web sites or Internet advertisements that promise cheap prescription drugs without physician authorization.

Read the rest of this article here .

The Partnership for Safe Medicines Seeks Stronger Regulations for Online Pharmacies Selling Counterfeit Medicines

The Partnership for Safe Medicines seeks stronger regulations and penalties for online pharmacies

WASHINGTON—The Partnership for Safe Medicines (PSM) issued the following statement regarding the International Internet Week of Action, code named Operation Pangea II, intended to curb illegal actions involving medical products. PSM is a group of organizations and individuals dedicated to protecting consumers from counterfeit medicines.

As an advocate for drug safety, the Partnership for Safe Medicines applauds this international effort, which has the potential to positively impact patients around the world. PSM congratulates INTERPOL, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) and the law enforcement agencies from the 24 participating countries who took part in the International Internet Week of Action (IIWA).

International cooperation is essential to shutting down rogue online pharmacies and curbing the widespread illicit sale of substandard, unapproved and counterfeit drugs. While investigations in a number of countries are still ongoing, Operation Pangea II has already resulted in a series of arrests, revealed 751 Web sites engaged in illegal activity, 72 of which have now been taken down, and the seizure of nearly 167,000 illicit and counterfeit medicines. The exemplary collaboration between drug regulators, the customs services and the police is evident in these cases.

Read the rest of this statement here.

Crackdown targets counterfeit drugs

Excerpt from The Washington Post

New York, Nov 20 - Crackdown targets counterfeit drugs
RAIDS HELD WORLDWIDE
Fake medicines a growing enterprise

By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 20, 2009

NEW YORK — In highly orchestrated raids around the world this week, Interpol officers in Europe, drug agents in the United States and task forces from Sweden to Singapore hunted down counterfeit prescription drugs in an effort to stem a rapidly growing criminal business preying on financially pressed consumers looking for bargains.

The operation, code-named Pangea, is expected to be disclosed Friday in an effort to put fraudulent businesses on notice that police around the world are fighting back against what has become a $28 million industry in the United States alone.

The national crackdown uncovered nearly 800 alleged packages of fake or suspicious prescription drugs including Viagra, Vicodin, and Claritin, and shut down 68 alleged rogue online pharmacies. Some counterfeit drugs may have as much as three times more of an active ingredient than is typically prescribed; others may be placebos. Drywall material, antifreeze and yellow highway paint have been found in counterfeit pills.

Read the rest of this article on counterfeit drugs and efforts to put counterfeiters behind bars.

Health Topic: Counterfeit medicines

Counterfeit medicines are part of the broader phenomenon of substandard pharmaceuticals - medicines manufactured below established standards of quality and therefore dangerous to patients’ health and ineffective for the treatment of diseases. The difference is that counterfeits are deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity or source. Counterfeiting occurs both with branded and generic products and counterfeit medicines may include products with the correct ingredients but fake packaging, with the wrong ingredients, without active ingredients or with insufficient active ingredients.

A global public health crisis

Counterfeit medicines represent an enormous public health challenge. Anyone, anywhere in the world, can come across medicines seemingly packaged in the right way, in the form of tablets or capsules that look right, but which do not contain the correct ingredients and, in the worst case scenario, may be filled with highly toxic substances. In some countries, this is a rare occurrence, in others, it is an everyday reality.

Counterfeit medicines range from random mixtures of harmful toxic substances to inactive, useless preparations. Occasionally, there can be "high quality" fakes that do contain the declared active ingredient. In all cases, contents of counterfeits are unreliable because their source is unknown or vague and always illegal. Fake drugs can cause harm to patients and sometimes lead to death.

Any kind of product can be and has been counterfeited: expensive lifestyle and anti-cancer medicines, antibiotics, medicines for hypertension and cholesterol lowering drugs, hormones, steroids and inexpensive generic versions of simple pain killers and antihistamines. In developing countries the most disturbing issue is the common availability of counterfeited medicines for the treatment of life-threatening conditions such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

Counterfeit medicines can harm and kill

The regular use of substandard or counterfeit medicines can lead to therapeutic failure or drug resistance. In some cases, it can lead to death.

A case in Argentina: In 2004, fake medicine led to a trail of death in Argentina.

Veronica Diaz was a healthy 22 year old woman, living in Viedma, Argentina, who had mild anaemia caused by insufficient iron in her blood and required her to receive iron injections. In December of 2004, she became very sick and died of liver failure after receiving the 7th of a 10 injection treatment. The medicines authority of Argentina, ANMAT, determined that she had been given a highly toxic counterfeit. Authorities were unable to determine the source of the counterfeit product due to falsified paper work. While most of the counterfeit production throughout Argentina was recovered and four persons were prosecuted, the highly fragmented distribution system prevented the recall from being 100% successful. In May of 2005 another woman died and a 22 year old pregnant woman was injected with the same counterfeit. She survived but gave birth to a 26 week premature baby. To date, Argentinean law does not consider counterfeiting medicines a crime.

Some other examples are below.

  • During a meningitis epidemic in Niger in 1995, more than 50 000 people were inoculated with fake vaccines resulting in 2 500 deaths. The vaccines were received as a gift from a country which thought they were safe.
  • 89 children died in Haiti in 1995 and 30 infants died in India in 1998 due to the consumption of paracetamol cough syrup prepared with diethylene glycol (a toxic chemical used in antifreeze).
  • In 2001, in South-East Asia, a Wellcome Trust study revealed that 38% of 104 anti-malarial drugs on sale in pharmacies did not contain any active ingredients.
  • In Cambodia, in 1999, at least 30 people died after taking counterfeit anti-malarials prepared with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (an older, less effective anti-malarial) which were sold as artesunate.

Estimates

The US based Centre for Medicines in the Public Interest predicts that counterfeit drug sales will reach US$ 75 billion globally in 2010, an increase of more than 90% from 2005.

Although precise and detailed data on counterfeit medicines is difficult to obtain, estimates range from around 1% of sales in developed countries to over 10% in developing countries, depending on the geographical area. That range takes into consideration both regional disparities in the presence of counterfeits, and specific global market value shares. Apart from the huge differences between regions, variations can also be dramatic within countries, i.e. city versus rural areas, city versus city.

Currently, the sources of information available include reports from non-governmental organizations, pharmaceutical companies, national drug regulatory and enforcement authorities, ad hoc studies conducted on specific geographical areas, and occasional surveys.

Counterfeiting is greatest in those regions where the regulatory and legal oversight is weakest.

Read the rest of this page on counterfeit medicines here .

Counterfeit Medicines: International Council of Nurses Position

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is very concerned with the growing problem of counterfeit medicines and the negative consequences on the prevention and treatment of disease, which can include poor treatment outcomes, or failure of treatment, loss of confidence in health care, resistance to antibiotics and poisoning due to harmful ingredients.

ICN supports international initiatives to combat counterfeiting and urges nurses and NNAs to collaborate with pharmacy associations, pharmacists, physicians and others to disseminate accurate information on detection and elimination of counterfeit medicines. More specifically ICN supports actions that aim to:

  • Strengthen quality assurance and medicines regulatory authorities.
  • Detect and expose sources of counterfeit medicines.
  • Improve supply of medicines to health facilities.
  • Educate nurses in detection and prevention of counterfeit medicines.
  • Monitor for any failure of treatment that could be a sign of counterfeit medicine.
  • Educate and create awareness among the public of counterfeit medicines.

Background

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), counterfeit medicines make up more than 10% of the global medicines available in the market and are available in both developed and developing countries. Though there is no accurate data, the World Health Organization has announced that up to 25% of medicines consumed in developing nations, often to treat life-threatening conditions, are believed to be counterfeit or substandard. All medicines and even vaccines can be counterfeited with serious consequences to patients and the health care system.

Patients and consumers are the primary victims of counterfeit medicines. In order to protect them from the harmful effects of counterfeit medicines it is necessary to provide them with appropriate information and education on the consequences of counterfeit medicines. As frontline health care providers, nurses are key players in increased vigilance for counterfeit medicines and increased reporting of possible counterfeit drugs.

Counterfeit medicines, as deliberate and fraudulent products with questionable efficacy, represent a serious challenge to the treatment or prevention of disease. According to the World Health Organization’s definition a counterfeit medicine is one, which is deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to identity and/or source.

Counterfeiting can apply to both branded and generic products and counterfeit products may include products with the correct ingredients or with the wrong ingredients, without active ingredients, with insufficient active ingredients or with fake packaging.

Counterfeit products may contain too much, too little or no active ingredient, the wrong ingredients or high levels of impurities, contaminants and even toxic substances. They could be reject or out-of-date formulations withdrawn from the market which are obtained by counterfeiters, relabeled as bona fide product and introduced back into circulation. Counterfeit medicines have killed and injured thousands of people around the world.

Read more here .