Submitted by Diane Farsetta on
It is "inevitable that a small amount of ingested pharmaceuticals will eventually show up at trace levels in wastewater," Greenpeace activist turned industry PR consultant Patrick Moore writes in an op/ed. "The Pharmaceutical Assessment and Transport Evaluation (PhATE) model has been developed by industry as a tool to estimate concentrates of pharmaceutical residues in surface waters. ... But some activist organizations still push for costly and unnecessary controls. In Washington, Oregon and Illinois, for example, interest groups who believe that any trace amount of any compound in wastewater must be stopped at all cost are proposing an elaborate take-back plan." At the end of the op/ed, Moore is identified as "an adviser to government and industry." Moore's colleague at Greenspirit Strategies, Tom Tevlin, told the Center for Media and Democracy that the PR firm does count pharmaceutical companies among its clients. However, Tevlin would not name them. The PhATE model that Moore praised in his op/ed was developed by PhRMA, the major U.S. drug industry group.
Patrick Moore replied on Permalink
Drugs in the environment
You make it look like I am in favor of drug residues in the environment. You ignore the fact that 90% of pharmaceutical residues in the environment (water) are from our own waste (sewage). When we take medicine not all of it is digested and some of it comes out in our pee and poo. So it would be possible to avoid this if we either stopped taking medicine or stopped peeing and pooing. Is this your plan? It is true that I help advise companies that make our medicine. What is your solution? It seems to me you just attack people who are trying to find solutions and to explain the reality of the situation to the public. I have been working for the environment and public health for 40 years. If you have something positive to contribute other than character assassination I would appreciate hearing about it.
Diane Farsetta replied on Permalink
What constitutes good disclosure?
Thanks for your comment. Actually, we aren't attacking you (or suggesting people stop "peeing and pooing").
As media watchdogs, we're simply pointing out that there were undisclosed interests at play. When you write about issues that directly impact your paying clients, we believe you should make clear that you have clients in that particular industry. So, we would have considered it adequate disclosure if, instead of merely identifying yourself as "an adviser to government and industry," you would have identified yourself as "an adviser to government and industry, including pharmaceutical companies."
Is that something you'd be willing to do?