Product News and Recalls

Yaz maker blamed for global bee disappearance

In a piece for Forbes, writer Mark Gibbs explores the role that German corporation Bayer – a producer of pharmaceuticals and agro-chemicals — appears to be playing in the global disappearance of bee colonies.

Bayer produces nicotine-based pesticides called neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid. While harmless to humans in low doses, the chemicals are lethal to insects.

Gibbs mentions three recent studies finding that even when used properly, the chemicals are toxic to bees. He also notes that the Bayer products were approved by the EPA based on a study that EPA scientists later discredited.

Gibbs writes that “there’s a lot of evidence that to points to Bayer pesticides as a, if not the, causative agent,” behind the disappearance of bees. He includes a petition that calls on Bayer to stop production and sale of neonicotinoid pesticides.

Bayer, however, has a history both of putting profits before ethics, and of manipulating U.S. regulatory agencies.

Lawyers suing Bayer over blood clots from the company’s Yasmin line of contraceptives cite FDA reports of at least 50 deaths tied to the pills from 2004 to 2008. They claim company officials concealed information about the contraceptives’ risks while marketing them for unapproved uses.

A number of studies show that pills with the compound drospirenone – which include Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella – carry up to three times the risk of potentially deadly blood clots compared to other oral contraceptives on the market.

After an FDA panel narrowly voted last year to keep those pills on the market, a subsequent investigation revealed that four of the panel members had financial or professional ties to the pills’ manufacturer.

The FDA said past ties to the industry don’t meet the legal definition of conflicts, despite the fact that another panel member was denied a vote because he had previously expressed concerns about the contraceptives at issue.

Both domestically and globally, Gibbs writes, the environmental and economic consequences of continued bee colony deaths could be enormous. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops including almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables.

And of the 100 crop species which provide 90% of global food, 71 are pollinated by bees, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries.

See the piece here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/markgibbs/2012/04/26/bayer-pesticide-profits-or-bees/