PATH: BS | Business | Corporations

Microsoft Quietly Offers Vista-To-XP Downgrade

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You know your latest operating system is a real dog when you're forced by your customers to give them an option to use the previous version.

Microsoft has reportedly begun offering a downgrade option to PC makers who want to allow their customers to have the option of using XP over the pre-installed Vista software.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2008-08-17 19:21:33 | Comment on this Article

Wal-Mart To Customers: Don't Call Us, We Don't Care

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[Retail]
Wal-Mart, the ever-expanding purveyor of cheap crap you think you need, is committed to customer service. Health-care for employees, not so much, but customer service for sure. They've put so much effort into increasing the usefulness of their online customer "self help" tools that they've taken the next logical step in getting their online customers the help that they need--they won't answer any more phone calls.

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John Stossel Called Out For His Healthcare Hit Piece In WSJ

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ABC's John Stossel wrote a story for the Wall Street Journal entitled, "Sick Sob Stories" where he lambasts a woman whose story appeared in the movie, "Sicko". Unfortunately, he didn't do his homework and the widow has quite a bit to say about this yellow journalistic hit piece.

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The Latest Killer: Microwave Popcorn

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You've heard of black lung, the terrible condition caused by inhaling coal dust that has afflicted so many miners in the past. You have probably heard of mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by breathing in asbestos particles. But have you ever heard of the dreaded "popcorn lung"? And could it happen to you?

READ MORE | 3 comments since 2007-09-13 19:20:31 | Comment on this Article

Coke Adds Banned Sweetener To Its Version For Mexicans

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[Faulty Products]
Coca-Cola, the company with better name recognition than God, has started using a different artificial sweetener in the Mexican brand of Coca-Cola Zero. It's kind of like OUR revenge for Montezuma's Revenge.

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Windows Vista Slows Down When You Play Music

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It's no secret many users have complained that Vista is slower than XP but now users are reporting an unusual "feature" of Microsoft's new Vista version of Windows: apparently when you play music on your computer, your Internet/network performance is severely degraded!

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Doctor Buys Huge Interest In Lion's Gate, Distributor of Sicko

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[Movies]
Would you find it suspicious that a doctor with heavy ties to the HMO and Pharmaceutical industry suddenly went on a quest to acquire controlling interest in Lion's Gate, the distribution company for Michael Moore's movie, "Sicko" a week before it opened? And then the movie's release in theaters seems to rapidly diminish? Coincedence? Or has Lion's Gate now become a puppet of big pharma?

Bill Maher's upcoming film critical of religion is also set to be distributed by Lion's Gate. Are we going to see a trend of activist films being limited in distribution by their corporate controllers?

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2007-08-23 08:45:14 | Comment on this Article

Rapper Aims At Pharmaceutical Companies With Hilarious Spoof

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[Music]
The New Jersey rapper, Sudden Death, has launched a free-to-play track which mocks the drug industry's direct-to-consumer advertising. The song, titled Pillagers, describes the experience of a man taking two dozen pills for various conditions and being prescribed the drug Liquiplox that "relaxes the lining of your throat making it easier to take pills". "Liquiplox isn't for everyone. People without health insurance or who otherwise may be unable to pay should not take Liquiplox. Do not stop taking any of your other medications without consulting your doctor as this may cause an unsafe drop in our profit margins."

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Corporate Low-Down Depot Mart and the Tall Trees

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[Environment]
So you want to keep the weeds out of your flower bed. How about some nice mulch? How about some nice, cheap mulch made by clear-cutting and grinding up the cypress forests that help to prevent coastal erosion, weaken hurricanes, and provide habitat for wildlife? I mean, trees grow back, right?

They do. But they take years to recover. Cypress forests that were clear-cut in the 1930's are only now starting to look like healthy forests again...if they grew back at all.

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Michael Moore Plays Hardball

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[Activists]
Michael Moore appeared on Chris Matthews' Hardball program to talk about healthcare and a whole lot more. Take a look at the video..

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Newsflash: OxyContin Is Apparently Addictive

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Purdue Pharma L.P., the maker of OxyContin, and three of its executives were ordered Friday to pay a $634.5 million fine for misleading the public about the painkiller's risk of addiction.

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Wal-Mart Test Markets Biblical Action Figures

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Wal-Mart plans to test-market biblical action figures in U.S. stores as a "faith-based" alternative to toys tied to commercial movies, video games and TV.

The toys -- ranging from a talking 12-inch Jesus doll to 3-inch figurines depicting Moses and the Ten Plagues of Egypt -- will be available in about 425 of Wal-Mart's 3,376 stores in 21 states, starting in mid-August.

Locusts, fire, and brimstone sold separately.

READ MORE | 8 comments since 2008-03-07 01:01:42 | Comment on this Article

Michael Moore on Countdown with Keith Olbermann

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[Activists]
Michael Moore appears on Keith Olbermann's show and address the supposed inaccuracies of his film... check it out.

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Sanjay Gupta's "Fact Checking" Needs Its Own Fact Checking

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[News Media]
In the wake of the scandalous appearance Michael Moore made on TSR, Larry King takes time away from his schedule of obsessing over Paris Hilton and lost white girls from rich parents, to address the conflict between Moore and Dr. Gupta's claim that Sicko has some "fact fudging".

READ MORE | 2 comments since 2007-07-11 11:47:28 | Comment on this Article

Blue Cross: You'd Have To Be Dead To Not Be Affected By "Sicko"

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[Activists]
An employee of Blue Cross, one of the largest HMOs in the nation forwarded a secret memo to Michael Moore the other day, outlining the company's reaction to Moore's expose on the healthcare industry. Check out the memo and Moore's response.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2007-07-06 19:23:31 | Comment on this Article

Alli OOPS - Xenical-Based Diet Drug Not Getting Rave Reviews

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GlaxoSmithKline has launched a $150 million promotion campaign for its over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss drug, Alli. But not all media coverage is up-beat about what is a lower-dose version of Roche's prescription only drug, Xenical. New York Daily News reporter Julian Kesner reports that Alli consumers "might just find themselves $50 poorer, lacking in vitamins ... and suffering a bout of diarrhea."

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2007-10-03 03:57:26 | Comment on this Article

Michael Moore: How He Felt About Healthcare Years Ago

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In the wake of his new movie, "Sicko" being released in theaters soon, we dug up an old clip from him covering healthcare in the past. Want to see how he dealt with it then?

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Pharmaceutical Companies Propose "Drug TV" Channel

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[Television]
Amid strenuous lobbying across Europe to end restrictions on direct-to-consumer drug advertising, four pharmaceutical companies are considering launching their own television station. Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Novartis and Procter & Gamble envision "Pharma TV" as "a dedicated interactive digital channel funded by the industry with health news and features. "

With less regulation in America, why haven't they proposed their own channel here? Ponder that while you wait in line for your medication for restless leg syndrome, chronic fatigue, fingernail fungus, erectile disfunction and dry eyes.

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Avandia: Helps Diabetes; Hurts Life Expectency

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The widely prescribed diabetes drug Avandia (generic name rosiglitazone) is linked to a greater risk of heart attack and possibly death, says a new scientific analysis published online Monday.

GlaxoSmithKline downplayed the risks today and announced their new Avandia ad slogan: "When you're dead, you'll never have to worry about Diabetes again."

READ MORE | 2 comments since 2007-10-03 18:28:55 | Comment on this Article

How To Get Free Prescription Drugs And Health Care

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Want to know how you can get free prescription drugs? The answer is simple....

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Senate: You'll Pay More For Prescriptions And You'll Like It!

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In a triumph for the pharmaceutical industry, the Senate on Monday killed a drive to allow consumers to buy prescription drugs from abroad at a significant savings over domestic prices.

On a 49-40 vote, the Senate required the Food and Drug Administration to certify the safety and effectiveness of imported drugs before they can be imported, a requirement that officials have said they cannot meet.

"Well, once again the big drug companies have proved that they are the most powerful and best financed lobby in Washington," said Sen. David Vitter, R-La.

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WellPoint Cares About Your Health, Sort Of

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WellPoint, our nation's largest health insurer (motto: Don't Get Sick, Jackass), has come up with an extremely underwhelming scheme to get all of its 42,000 employees jazzed up 'bout patient health. They are tying annual bonuses to certain quantifiable aspects of their customer base's health. Sounds great, right? Well, sort of.

READ MORE | 4 comments since 2007-04-04 11:58:52 | Comment on this Article

52,662 Pennies

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[Humor]
Man sending 52,662 pennies to protest rate increase

Associated Press
Mar. 7, 2007 10:54 AM
CARTERVILLE, Ill. - A man who's fed up with higher electric rates has come up with a way to show his displeasure while paying his bill.

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Medical School Dean Joins The Pepsi Generation

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[Liars]
Apparently the Dean of the University of Minnesota medical school does not see a conflict of interest in joining the board of Pepsi, though the University has an organization called the Obesity Prevention Center which doesn't think too highly of sodas in the fight against fat.

To add insult to injury, Dean Deborah Powell claims that when she accepted the role as PepsiCo board member, she was unaware that it paid an annual fee of $30,000 plus $2,000 per board meeting attended and $60,000 in stock.

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Recall of Oscar Mayer/Louis Rich Chicken Breasts

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Is it my imagination or are there a lot more recalls lately? Aren't these companies cleaning up after themselves?

Carolina Culinary Food is recalling packages of Oscar Mayer ready-to-eat chicken breast strips with rib meat because they may be contaminated, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service said Sunday.

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Not Going Anywhere For Awhile? Try JetBlue!

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[Travel]
"JetBlue will review the day's events to determine whether it could have handled the storm differently and how to prevent similar problems from arising again", says JetBlue spokesman Bryan Baldwin.

Apparently, letting their customers sit in airplanes on the tarmac for ELEVEN HOURS without moving is something they didn't realize people wouldn't like?

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Wal-Mart Pays Itself Rent To Gain Huge Tax Breaks

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Wal-Mart, the nation's largest employer and the world's biggest retailer, is regularly paying itself rent and using the transaction to decrease the taxes it pays to state governments, according to a report in this morning's Wall Street Journal.

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Judge Clamps Down on Zyprexa Lawsuit Wiki

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The drug, Zyprexa, has been the subject of payouts by Eli Lilly in cases over its alleged side effects. The pharmaceutical company still faces a large number of product liability lawsuits which claim that the schizophrenia and bipolar disorder treatment has caused patients to gain weight or to contract diabetes. Eli Lilly has already paid out $1.2bn to settle suits before they reached court, including $500m just last week.

A wiki about the controversy, zyprexa.pbwiki.com, published a link to internal Eli Lilly documents which the New York Times said showed that the company deliberately downplayed the side effects of the drug, which are alleged to include weight gain, high blood sugar levels and diabetes.

The judge in one of the product liability cases, federal district Judge Jack Weinstein, ordered the site and a number of named individuals to refrain from distributing the documents or causing them to be distributed.

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The Sacred Virgin Jolie Spotted Hovering Over Wal-Mart

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[Art]
A North Carolina artist intrigued by the public obsession with celebrity has found herself feeding that obsession with a painting of actress Angelina Jolie as the Virgin Mary hovering over a Wal-Mart check-out line.

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The Nightmare Of Cancelling Subscription Accounts

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PC World Senior Editor Tom Spring signed up for 32 online accounts. Then tried to cancel all of them. The most difficult to cancel: NetZero. The easiest to cancel: Consumer Reports Online and The New York Times TimesSelect. Read on to hear about his customer service nightmare.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2009-08-07 16:03:52 | Comment on this Article

U-Haul Has A Problem With People Who Have Ford Explorers

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A couple who drove from Florida to South Carolina to clean out a storage area got a rude awakening when they were notified by U-Haul, that because they drive a Ford Explorer, the company won't rent them a trailer.

"I was told that they (U-Haul) will not lease to any Explorer -- regardless of age, towing capacity, etc. On my return from Florida, I saw TrailBlazers, small pickups and even a small Kia sedan pulling a U-Haul trailer,"

U-Haul doesn't have a safety issue with the vehicle. It seems they've noticed that people who drive Ford Explorers are litigious bastards that they'd rather not deal with.

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They're NOT Loving It!

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Four masked men threw gasoline bombs into a closed McDonald's in the troubled town of Oaxaca, Mexico on Sunday. They damaged windows, seats, and a play area (not the ball pit, NO!). No one was hurt and security personnel were able to extinguish the fires. Evidently people down there hate the McRib (it's back!) as much as I do.

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Acetaminophen To Cause Some Headaches

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As many as 11 million bottles of the painkiller acetaminophen manufactured by generic brand drug manufacturer Perrigo Co. and marketed by stores such as CVS, Wal-Mart, and over a hundred other retailers are being recalled. The reason? They may contain fragments of unidentified metal ranging from "microdots" to 1/3 of an inch pieces of wire. I think it's actually brilliant--it'll make you forget the pain in your head by making you focus instead on your lacerated mouth, throat, or intestinal tract!

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2006-11-10 12:05:16 | Comment on this Article

The Smooth, Satisfying Flavor of Cigarette Industry Appeals

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The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit blocked a ruling by a federal judge which found that cigarette companies had been violating racketeering laws and misleading the public for decades about the health risks associated with smoking. The ruling would've forced cigarette companies to stop marketing "light," "low tar," "ultralight," and "mild" cigarettes. In addition, tobacco companies would have had to issue "corrective statements" on their web sites and in newspapers about the adverse affects cigarettes have on health. The block allows advertising and sales of the misleading cigarettes to continue until the cigarette industry's appeals can be reviewed. So smoke 'em if you got 'em, folks--if the original ruling holds up, those light cigarettes of yours won't be healthier any more.

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Boy Scouts Taught a Lesson by the MPAA

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[Pubic Relations]
The Boy Scouts of Los Angeles will be issuing a new kind of merit badge soon. This one's curriculum was developed by the movie industry (the MPAA) and will teach Boy Scouts about the importance of copyrights and evils of pirating. In a related story, Burger King is developing a merit badge to teach the importance of flame broiling and chicken fries.

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Leggo My Drugs, Customs!

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[Good News]
A new U.S. Customs policy will allow small shipments of prescription drugs from Canada through the border.

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Ten Things Your Hospital Won't Tell You

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Among other things, they seem to have real issues publicly admitting mistakes, many aren't computerized and this creates some serious health-related snafus. There's a significant chance you may leave sicker than when you came in, or that you may think your insurance covers something but then find out certain processes are not. Did you know that everything is negotiable on your hospital bill? These are just a few of the very interesting tidbits you probably need to know.

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I Parody You, You Sue Me..EFF says go F U..

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked a federal court Wednesday to protect the free speech rights of a website publisher who has suffered years of baseless legal threats over his parody of the Barney and Friends television show.

Since 2002, the Lyons Partnership has repeatedly sent meritless cease-and-desist letters to Stuart Frankel because his website pokes fun at Barney the purple dinosaur, the well-known children's television character. Dr. Frankel, assisted by EFF, responded to these letters in 2002 and 2005, but Barney's lawyers have continued to harass him. The lawsuit filed by Dr. Frankel asks the court to finally resolve the matter by declaring that his parody does not infringe Barney's copyright or trademark rights.

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State Farm Accused of Fraud in Katrina Settlements

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State Farm Insurance supervisors systematically demanded that Hurricane Katrina damage reports be buried or replaced or changed so that the company would not have to pay policyholders' claims in Mississippi, two State Farm insiders tell ABC News.

Kerri and Cori Rigsby, independent adjusters who had worked for State Farm exclusively for eight years, say they have turned over thousands of internal company documents and their own detailed statement to the FBI and Mississippi state investigators.

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Diebold Voting Machines Force Hand Count In Alaska

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Problems with Alaska’s new touchscreen voting machines slowed election returns Tuesday and caused elections officials to hand count and manually upload vote totals from several precincts across the state.

Election coordinator Lauri Wilson said several Diebold touchscreen machines in Southeast Alaska, the Interior and near Nome did not upload their votes into the Division of Elections’ central computing system.

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Criticism of Herbal Products Squelched

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[Faulty Products]
One of the marketing success stories in the world of herbal pills is the hype and advertising that has made Tebonin one of the big-time sellers. If you believe the ads, popping a Tebonin pill a day will relieve tinnitus (the ringing sound some people have in their ears), dizziness and even improve mental alertness. The promoters claim the drug, which is based on a patented extract from the ginkgo biloba tree, improves "impaired micro-circulation," reduces "free radicals" and "promotes optimum cell function."

According to the German manufacturer, Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co KG, eight million pills are consumed every day. Schwabe, like so many companies in the herbal supplements sector, trades on its feel-good image. "From Nature, For Health," its website claims. That's the story the company wants you to hear. However, when a small group of Australian doctors and pharmacists, AusPharm Consumer Health Watch, drafted a report raising doubts about the benefits of Tebonin, they discovered a company that was not so warm and fuzzy. Soon after sending a copy of their draft report to the company, they were hit with a writ seeking an injunction that may bury their critical assessment forever.

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Microsoft Dares Hacker Community To Expose Vista

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After suffering embarrassing security exploits over the past several years, Microsoft Corp. is trying a new tactic: inviting some of the world's best-known computer experts to try to poke holes in Vista, the next generation of its Windows operating system.

I'm not sure this means much, considering Microsoft has already issued several security patches to vista over the last six months, and it's still probably a year or more away from release. Chances are it'll take the hacker community about six seconds to divulge vulnerabilities. Our guess here at BSAlert is that Microsoft is asking the tech community at large to help it solve it's own security problems.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2008-08-19 02:22:31 | Comment on this Article

Drug and Testing Companies Do Legal Dance To Avoid Liability

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...the patients had volunteered for the trial after being lured with the offer of £2,000 each to test the drug made by TeGenero, a newly formed German drug firm. Parexel, the American firm that administered the tests, told them there would be no serious side effects.

They were very wrong, and now the companies involved are claiming they're not responsible for destroying the immune system of the test subjects, and are refusing to help treat their new condition. What we learn here is that there are disposable human test subjects being used by drug companies.

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2006-08-03 02:32:59 | Comment on this Article

Oil Company Preaches Morality

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Royal Dutch Shell, the world's top marketer of biofuels, considers using food crops to make biofuels "morally inappropriate" as long as there are people in the world who are starving.

Of course, the problem with starvation isn't the shortage of food, but how it is distributed.

READ MORE | 3 comments since 2006-07-17 17:39:52 | Comment on this Article

Sanofi-Aventis Continues Trials Of Dangerous Drug?

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A new antibiotic that has been found to cause four times the average rate of acute liver failure in adults continues in a trial for more than 900 children worldwide, despite criticism from a U.S. Food and Drug Administration official and a study consultant.

"How does one justify balancing the risk of fatal liver failure against one day less of ear pain?" asks Dr. Rosemary Johann-Liang, of the FDA's Office of Drug Safety.

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Wal-Mart Strong-Arms Coke To Bypass Local Bottlers

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Coca-Cola, fearing Wal-Mart would launch its own sports drink to rival the beverage giant's Powerade if it didn't agree to the retailer's new distribution terms, caved under the pressure and altered its own century-old supply system, a published report said Thursday.

Instead of involving regional bottling branches who deliver to individual stores (and thus help the local communities and employ more people) Coca Cola has been forced to set up more direct distribution methods to appeal to Wal-Mart's demands or else be replaced with Wal-Mart branded drinks.

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Gardasil Cancer Vaccine Elicits Ire of Christian Right

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[Sex]
According to Christian fundamentalists, cervical cancer and sexually-transmitted diseases are not nearly as important as avoiding the subject of sex. As a result, Merck's new drug Gardisil may face opposition from church groups who are not happy about the drug and claim its use might encourage promiscuity, even though it may prevent cancer and other diseases.

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WAL-MART Seeks To Patent Smiley Face

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Obviously when you smile, you think of Wal-Mart...

Wal-Mart is embroiled in a legal dispute over the smiley face image which it wants to trademark in the US. A Frenchman who claims to have invented the yellow smiley face back in 1968 is opposing the US retail giant's move. For some, the image is a reminder of 1970s counter-culture, for others, a useful shorthand when sending e-mails.

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R.J. Reynolds Paying People To Sign Petitions

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[Get-Rich-Quick]
In order to repeal a non-smoking ban in some area establishments in Ohio, R.J. Reynolds company is actively recruiting people via Craigslist to go out and collect signatures at the polls to petition the state to change the law. What's most interesting about this is that the corporation is paying people $1.50 per signature they obtain from people. Am I the only one who thinks that may be pushing an issue too far?

READ MORE | 1 comment since 2006-05-07 14:22:36 | Comment on this Article

Weed Sap Cures Skin Cancer?

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[Eureka!]
Early clinical trials of a new gel to treat skin cancer have returned promising results.

The gel can be rubbed on to the skin to treat certain types of skin cancer.

Initial trials show just two applications of the gel on two consecutive days cleared up 71 per cent of basal cell carcinomas, or BCCs, the most common type of skin cancer.

The most interesting aspect is the basis for this gel is the sap of a common garden weed, petty spurge. This must really piss off big pharma unless they can figure out a way to "own" the rights to the plant.

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