Money Runs Science and Medicine
Research and regulatory actions are rife with conflict of interest
 
Many, if not all, of our regulatory agencies have a long history of protecting industry interests over public and environmental health. In the first week of November 2015, Jonathan Lundgren, who spent the past 11 years working as an entomologist at the USFDA (US Food and Drug Administration), filed a whistleblower complaint against the agency, “claiming he’d suffered retaliation after speaking out about research showing that neonicotinoids had adverse effects on bees.” In the US, nearly all corn, about 90% of canola and, approximately, half of all soybeans are treated with neonicotinoids. As the use of these pesticides has gone up, bee and Monarch butterfly populations have plummeted. USFDA managers blocked publication of his research, barred him from talking to the media and disrupted operations at the laboratory he oversaw. That is what Lundgren complains, according to the Washington Post article.
 
USFDA is all for genetically engineered seeds, etc, while true science says that genetically engineered seeds could be deadly, in the long run. The story is the same in India. When we stopped using PL480 funds for agricultural imports, we decided, rightly so, to be self-reliant, that led to the Green Revolution. However, while the late C Subramanian, a great son of India, was passionate about it, his scientific advisers must have been working under instructions from their masters in the West. They succeeded in going headlong on to use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides which, today, has brought us to almost total land and water degradation due to chemicals and fertilisers. Our soil is losing all its fertility. Thanks to that, we have vitiated our environment so much that newer diseases are invading us.
 
The industry, on its part, is trying its best to keep its hold on the powers that be through devious means. The same holds good for medical research in the country which is under the control of vested groups in the industry. Real science is going to be destroyed. A recent study showed more than 200 dangerous chemicals in a newborn baby’s umbilical cord blood!
 
While you would think that the governments exist to protect you against the vagaries of industry, this is not the case. The chemical, agricultural, and medical drug industries spend millions of dollars to lobby for regulations that are favourable to them and there is a constantly revolving door between government watchdog agencies and private corporations all over the world. The New York Times recently published an in-depth exposé on the legal battle fought against DuPont for the past 15 years over chemical contamination and its toxic effects on human health.    
 
We were taught, in school and college, that science can help us make rational decisions that serve the people and promote public health. “But now we are facing a world so rife with corruption and conflict of interest facilitated by the very sciences that were supposed to keep us healthy, safe, and productive, it’s quite clear that we’re heading toward more than one proverbial brick wall,” writes Dr Joseph Mercola on his website www.mercola.com. He goes on: “In a sense, the fundamental role of science itself has been hijacked for selfish gain. Looking back, you can now see that the preferred business model of an industry was created first, followed by ‘scientific evidence’ that supports the established business model. When the science doesn’t support the company’s economic gains, it’s swept under the rug, even if people are dying and the planet is becoming irreparably poisoned as a result. Today, we live in a world where chemical companies and biotech giants can easily buy and pay for their own research studies, as well as the lobbying to support whatever legislation they need passed in their favour.”
 
I have been trying my best to bring out the secrets about this dangerous marriage between industry and the powers that be, without much impact. Unless we have total transparency in research, this dangerous corruption can never be detected and corrected. Money runs this world—science and medicine included. Putting an end to the revolving door between private industry and government would be one step in the right direction.

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COMMENTS

Mahesh D. Bakhai

8 months ago

The author is absolutely right. Neither the regulators nor the media is evaluating the damage to our environment and life style from so called scientific advances. Media should come out and support such exposures. Mahesh Bakhai

Finding Stocks that are backed by right management
Dr Vijay Malik, a popular writer on stocks, shares his insights on assessing management quality in a Moneylife Smart Savers seminar
 
Moneylife SmartSavers organised a session 'How to Assess the Management Quality before Buying Stocks'. Dr Vijay Malik, (whom Prof Sanjay Bakshi calls 'Dr Stock' because he is a qualified physician who can check the health of stocks) gave his valuable insights on assessing management quality. Dr Vijay Malik, a rigorous stock picker, who spoke in public for the first time, enlightened the audience with his methods at this session conducted at Walchand Hirachand Hall, Churchgate, Mumbai. 
 
Assessing management quality is one of the critical decisions while buying a stock. It assumes great significance for retail investors as they have extremely limited influence on the company's management. Retail investors are compelled to accept whatever decisions are taken by the management. Despite the fact that evaluating management quality is important, this aspect is frequently overlooked by the investors. Given these reasons, a session on assessing management quality was warranted. 
 
The session started with Debashis Basu, director of Moneylife Smart Savers, giving a quick overview sharing several examples on how management quality cannot be decided by simply judging news and events with a short-term impact. Dr Vijay Malik with a unique combination – MBA, MBBS, stockpicker and biker – delineated different aspects of management quality. With real-life case studies, he explained how profits/cash flows of a company could be diverted to the promoters and related parties, defrauding other shareholders of their rightful share of profits. He delineated different aspects of management quality, carefully enlightening the engrossed audience on how to distinguish between good and bad managements. 
 
He explained how a simple Google search could highlight management quality issues. Highlighting the importance of reading Annual Reports, he said, “If certain information that is required for taking investment decisions is not present in the Annual Report, it raises questions relating to the intent of the management.” 
 

He repeatedly emphasised throughout the presentation ' In management assessment, run at the first sign of trouble.'
 
Remarking 'Equity investing is a faith in management', Dr Vijay Malik summed up the different aspects of management quality. 
 
The session ended with a Q & A answer session between Dr Malik, Mr Basu and the audience moderated by Sucheta Dalal, director of Moneylife Smart Savers.
 
Dr Malik patiently answered questions concerning pledging of shares, warrants, promoter holding and contingent liabilities. Emphasising the importance of reading Annual Reports, he remarked lightly, 'Have a big cup of coffee when you read an Annual Report!’ 
 

User

COMMENTS

Sameer Wakude

7 months ago

Hi, I have paid the amount and replied to your email. Can you please grant an access to the video? More details in my email.

Sameer Wakude

7 months ago

Hi,
I would love to watch this video. I see that it's a private video on youtube. Is there any way, I can watch this video. Would love to pay to get this gyan. Thanks in advance :)

Sameer Wakude

7 months ago

Hi,
I would love to watch this video. I see that it's a private video on youtube. Is there any way, I can watch this video. Would love to pay to get this gyan. Thanks in advance :)

Haresh Nagpal

7 months ago

I am interested in paid video/webcast of this session .

sanjay

8 months ago

Can I have video of the session?

sanjay

8 months ago

Can I have video of the session?

Prasanna Sampath

8 months ago

Can you please do a paid live webcast such events so that we do not need to travel ?

Darshan Parikh

8 months ago

Can you make a video available of this event?

Ashish M

8 months ago

Would love to attend such events but can't fly to Mumbai for each event.

Please do share video of this event and other such events. We are ready to pay.

Ravi Kumar

8 months ago

Sir,

please share the video of the above event

Schools must close by 12 pm in Lucknow in UP

Managements of all schools will have to adhere to the new timing from Monday

 

In view of the fast rising summer temperatures, all schools in Lucknow district of Uttar Pradesh must start earlier at 7 a.m. and close latest by 12 noon, the authorities said on Saturday.
 
Managements of all schools will have to adhere to the new timing from Monday.
 
District Magistrate Raj Shekhar told IANS that the classes from nursery to sixth will have to be conducted from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and the classes above the sixth from 7 a.m. to 12 noon.
 
He said the order has been issued in view of the rising heat and forecast of harsher summer. 
 
"Schools have also been asked to take measures to keep temperatures under control inside the class-rooms through necessary infrastructure changes," Shekhar said. 
 
Other districts in the state are likely to follow suit, said sources.
 
The state government might also order early summer vacations which otherwise are scheduled to start in May.
 
The temperatures in many parts of Uttar Pradesh have gone above 40 degrees Celsius. Allahabad recorded 45 degrees Celsius on Friday.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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