It constantly refers to alternative medicine or therapies in inverted commas, i. e. “medicines” identified on at least 16 separate occasions throughout the article. The author refers to it on other occasions as “muck”. The journalist also implies through his rigorous use of more inverted commas that manufacturing problems were not the cause of the recall. The article refers to complementary medicines as “new age junk food”. The manufacturers of which (e. g. ACCM’s associates) being “peddlers of dodgy cures”.
He refers to narcissism as the root of this ‘paganism’ (i. e.complementary medicines).
Factual Accuracy: The author also relates quotes obtained from studies at a variety of institutions ands submits it to the reader as ‘scientific evidence’ in a vain attempt to discredit the nature of complementary medicines and back up his own opinions. Of the quotes, one of them being, that according to the Annals of Internal Medicine that echinacea; “no proven efficacy… to treat any condition”. Whereas according to the real report: A recent epidemiologic study (45) of a ginseng-growing region in Korea assessed the nutritional habits of 4634 inhabitants.
During 5 years of follow-up, 137 cases of cancer were documented. Persons who regularly consumed fresh Korean ginseng had a significantly reduced risk ratio for cancer of 0. 31 (CI, 0. 13 to 0. 74). According to the University of Wisconsin in relation to the no detectable benefit claim: In an editorial accompanying the Wisconsin study, Dr. Ronald Turner of the University of Virginia School of Medicine said anecdotal reports about echinacea’s benefits were “difficult to ignore,” … , and deserved further study.
Notwithstanding that the University also mentioned:
At least two large studies in Germany concluded the herb was safe and effective for treating cold symptoms.
In his final quote in relation to the 5-year British Heart Protection Study that apparently: “There was no evidence of any protective effect”, despite their own researchers saying that the research was entirely compromised because: In the British Heart Protection study half of the patients were on statin drugs known to lower Coenzyme Q10, thereby compromising the benefits offered by vitamins C and E.
” He also states that consumers spend 2. 3 billion dollars a year on alternative therapies and apparently 4 times more than the public does on conventional medicine. That figure is 1. 2 billion for complimentary medicines plus the 1. 1 billion for therapies. Not to mention that the “4 times” is only correct when PBS payments are excluded. The author conveniently fails to mention that the only product to have cause harm was Travacalm(r) (a pharmaceutical OTC drug) incidentally now back on the shelves. Point Of View: -16-
The majority of opinions given in the article are Andrew Bolt’s. As already iterated he relays quotes from scientific studies as well. The only other opinion is from the deemed ‘fashionable’ Dr Kerryn Phelps which he promptly obliterates by relating it to Athena Starwoman. He fails to mention that 2 and 3 per cent of hospital admissions are related to problems with prescription drugs (Singer, 2003: 21) and that currently there have been no reported deaths from a natural medicine Additional Information: This article’s saliency is clearly questionable.
As indicated earlier he makes vast references to quotes taken out of context, and although this article was found on page 19 of the Herald Sun and clearly labelled under the heading of opinion, he uses Pan’s ‘negligence’ as a case to launch as attack on the complementary health industry. It identifies publics such as complimentary health preparation users, persons who are dying, scientists and the pharmaceutical industry. Interpretation: This article has been designed to have impact on those who take complementary medicines whom he refers to as ‘desperate women’.
He states that educated women were the most ‘vulnerable’ to this ‘toxic mix of narcissism and paganism’. He also appeals to those who would already take an active interest against complimentary health care such as Pharmaceutical Giants and scientists and actively tarnishes the reputation of the industry by referring to these preparations as useless. He makes an impassioned/patriotic plea then to appeal to emotions of the publics by stating: It is time to stand up for science. For evidence. For truth. -17- Article File7: Pill hurt more than 100, class action looms on Travacalm(r), Jen Kelly page 17,August 5, Herald Sun
124 people harmed by Travacalm(r) 24 of those hospitalized Melbourne firm claims 200 were harmed Active ingredient (hyoscine hydrobromide) 7 times the concentration levels than on the label Article Report 7: Direction Of Coverage for ACCM: This article has next to no impact on ACCM. There is no mention of natural supplements and the 1500 recalled products are referred to as just that, products. The article does not state that Pan’s major production is in complimentary preparations and OTC drugs, thus minimising any direct connection in the mind of the reader.
Factual Accuracy: Aside from the journalist stating that the details were revealed on the latest ADRAC bulletin (it was the may issue, not the July or August) this article is factually accurate. Point Of View: The article has no opinions in it. It merely states the facts, and it quotes ADRAC’s May bulletin. Additional Information: This article was positioned on page 17 of the Herald Sun, thus, was not considered of global importance but none the less made the cut and was allowed 420 words. The publics referred to are those who have been harmed by Travacalm(r) and the TGA.
Interpretation: This article gives no view on complimentary healthcare and does not even make a connection between complimentary medicine and the Pan saga. Thus, there is little if any impact on our organisation or its publics. -18- Article File 8: Pan says six month ban a killer, Simon Benson, Tanya Moore, Courier Mail, May 8, Page 7 Pan pharmaceuticals will not survive if ban not lifted CEO apologizes for those injured 79 percent of people continue to take supplements regardless of risks Article Report 8: Direction Of Coverage for ACCM: The direction is slightly negative towards the complimentary health industry.
It identifies with the plight of Pan and therefore aids its image, however it states that 79% of persons continued to take supplements and were not taking TGA’s warnings [towards complimentary medicines] seriously. The article refers to ‘perceived benefits’ implying that there is nor real benefit from natural supplements. Factual Accuracy: The article states that some of the tablets tested contained 70 times the active ingredient when in reality it was just 7 times the active ingredient, which is a huge difference in reality.
Apart form that there are no other errors. Point Of View: The article as mentioned earlier appears to be against complimentary medicine but identify with the plight of Pan, it even refers to Pan as ‘beleaguered’ (meaning under attack), implying that they are the victims in this debacle. Additional Information: The article identifies Cenovis and Nature’s Own as two publics. It furthermore identifies the TGA and obviously Pan. This article was positioned on page 7 giving the impression that it was at least moderately important.
Interpretation: The article is at least slightly adverse to people using complimentary health products. It deliberately outlines to of Pan’s contractors and warns that people are not taking the recall seriously in a bid to not only bolster anti-complimentary medicine sentiment but effectively get people to stop taking complimentary medicine. Whilst on the other hand it wants persons to feel regret for Pan pharmaceuticals. Current Situation: The issue for ACCM is the negative impact on our organisation and our constituents that has been generated as a result of the recall.
The issue developed a great deal. In theory, this issue started in January when a pharmaceutical drug was recalled. At the time there appeared to be little press coverage. Then 4 months later there was the suspension of pan’s licence without warning. It developed from ‘substandard manufacturing processes’ to ‘manipulation of test results’ and finally it seems to have allowed journalists to use the crisis as a platform to launch an attack on the safeness and efficacy of complimentary medicines. Now, the issue appears to have moved from crisis communication to issues management.
The impact has meant as many as 250 pan employees will lose their jobs and countless small businesses have failed as a result. The TGA is now making 100’s of unannounced audits on alternative health companies and as a result smaller complimentary medicine providers will be edged out of the market and a possible oligopoly will ensue. It has caused people to reduce their use of complimentary preparations and increased scepticism of these remedies and therefore will lead to poorer health outcomes.
Blackmore’s have stated that another side effect of the new TGA audits there will be increased costs meaning that the consumer will have to pay more for their health. However, despite the negative coverage, there is also an opportunity here to not only grow from this but ensure higher quality products reach the consumer. Recommendations: As is abundantly clear this issue has had a negative impact overall on the complimentary health industry.
Obviously, ACCM needs to reassure its publics that complimentary medicines are perfectly safe and there has been no documented death from any supplement in Australia. The publics as stated earlier being: complimentary health users, those who used complimentary medicines before issue arose, sceptics of complimentary medicine, the therapeutic goods administration, major supplement manufacturers: Cenovis, Nature’s Own, Natural Nutrition, Bio-Organics and Golden Glow.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers that also produce supplements such as Sigma and Mayne, not withstanding the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The model that seems to be most appropriate is a contingency model because no one model here will suit all our publics. The model that would suit the pharmaceutical manufacturers and sceptics would be a two-way asymmetrical model relying on ‘scientific persuasion’ as the integral problem that this public appears to have identified in the media for not trusting complimentary medicines is ‘the lack of scientific data available'(Bolt 2003:19).
As such this public would find scientific data most worthy. The model that would best suit the Therapeutic Goods Administration would be a two-way symmetrical approach to build a relationship of mutual trust, as this organisation is on whom we rely to ensure that our products continue to remain on the shelves. Those who use complimentary medicines would be best suited to a public information model/two-way asymmetric outlining various ‘truths’ of the safety and efficacy of complimentary medicines to allay fears and incite repeat purchase.
In order to have a direct form of two-way communication with those publics, ACCM should set up a hotline so that consumers of natural supplements can present problems to us for addressing rather than immediately taking their concerns to ADRAC, this will not only allow us to communicate with our publics but receive feedback from them, so that we can address more specific concerns. We can then encourage allied manufacturers to respond to those concerns. -21- ACCM would need to operate with an ‘open systems’ approach to management to remove misconceptions and give the faiade of a socially responsible position. ACCM would therefore also need to encourage its constituents to adopt similar approaches. The ultimate goal to be achieved with complimentary medicine users and previous users is to lift from 79% (statistic obtained from ACNielsen survey outlined in previous article) to the original 100% of people who continue to take supplements within three months. To achieve this it is possible to get credible and known industry spokespersons to assure the public of their safety.
This has started to be implemented already with MetagenicsTM contracting Kerryn Phelps to allay this public’s concerns by highlighting that there is a myriad of credible scientific data available that proves complimentary medicines worthiness.
The public should also be made aware that the ex-Federal Minister For Health Kay Patterson will conduct an enquiry into acupuncture, homeopathy and acupuncture (McIntosh 46:2003) so those in this sub-public who want proof can have it.
Those persons who write and indeed subscribe to conspiracy magazines such as NOW or INSIGHT would find information that proves or at least aids in proving a top level government conspiracy to thwart natural medicines of interest. Information that could be provided without disseminating false information could be the fact that the TGA is aligned with an organisation funded by the WHO (World Health Organisation) called the Codex Alimentarius Commission, an organisation that seeks all UN member nations to reclassify supplements as drugs.
That this commission is headed by pharmaceutical company leaders and that those form alternative medicine foundations are barred from attending. Not to mention the myriad of complaints (8463) of adverse drug reactions that ADRAC (Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee) has received in relation to anti-depressants that never made it to the media. Nor the 10000 reported deaths worldwide from Zyban(r)
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