Tag Archives: Financial Times

WHO: Glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans”

26 Mar

Glyphosate, the world’s most widely-used herbicide, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, is “probably carcinogenic to humans”

glyphosate round up

The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times focus on Monsanto’s call for the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency to retract a report published on Friday in the journal Lancet Oncology by researchers for WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The report found that glyphosate, the world’s most widely-used herbicide and the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

This review of existing studies includes reports on the effects of glyphosate on farming and forestry workers. The people exposed to glyphosate experienced a higher incidence of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma than those who were not exposed, according to the review.

The IARC report points out that 750 products used in agriculture, forestry and domestic gardening contain glyphosate and its use has increased sharply with the development of GM glyphosate-resistant crop varieties.

aerial spraying

Monsanto’s current generation of herbicide-resistant genetically modified crops depends on farmers spraying their fields with glyphosate to kill weeds. Glyphosate had been detected in air during spraying, in water and in food.

But the company has consistently argued that its seeds and weedkillers are safe, and has fought efforts to label foods made with genetically-modified crops.



GM food for the hoi polloi?

15 Jul

The Financial Times reports that though prime minister David Cameron supports Owen Paterson’s advocacy of GM crops, saying there was no evidence that they were inherently unsafe, Downing Street declined to say whether the prime minister would feed such foods to his family.

Read the message from the farming sector – said to be eager to adopt this technology: http://political-cleanup.org/?p=7399

Financial Times: EU Court stops regulator releasing drug trial data

2 May

ema logo

A few days ago Andrew Jack reported that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has been blocked from releasing clinical trial data generated by AbbVie and InterMune, by the EU’s General Court, until a final ruling is given by the Court. The EMA website notes that these interim rulings were made as part of court cases brought by the two pharmaceutical companies.

The court  upheld requests from the two drug companies for a temporary stay in making public information on tests of their medicines in patients, stalling the agency’s policy of releasing data since 2010. The companies argued that such information is commercially sensitive and could undermine their competitive position and the incentives to conduct research.

A coalition of independent researchers, medical journals and academics had called for full release of clinical data to allow broader scrutiny of the safety and efficacy of medicines.

In a statement, the EMA said that it “regrets” the court’s decision, is considering whether to appeal, and will still consider releasing information similar to that contested by the two companies “on a case-by-case basis”.

The fight comes at a time of rising demands for transparency, with a campaign led by medical publications, including the British Medical Journal, concerned that too many drugs are approved and prescribed based on selective evidence that exaggerates benefits and downplays the risks of drugs.

This week, the British parliament’s science and technology committee begins hearings on whether pharmaceutical companies “cherry pick clinical trial data to promote their drugs and hide potential defects”.

Drug companies say that competitors developing similar drugs or generic companies trying to more rapidly produce cheaper copies could both exploit more openness, but the EMA said the “overwhelming majority” of freedom of information requests it had received for clinical trial data came not from independent researchers but drug companies, industry consultants and lawyers.