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Posilac: Monsanto Likely Phasing Out Controversial Bovine Growth Hormone


Monsanto Likely Phasing Out Controversial Bovine Growth Hormone
Are Rats Jumping Off Posilac Ship?

From Milkweed, Issue #299, June 2004

While Monsanto remains quiet about the fate of its genetically
engineered cow hormone, Posilac, signs are that more rats are jumping off
the ship.

In late January 2004, Monsanto announced a 50% reduction in sales of
Posilac to regular customers. That followed a December 19, 2003
announcement of a 15% cutback.

The Milkweed reported of a Posilac sales force meeting in March, at
which numerous sales persons were terminated by Monsanto. Other Posilac
sales personnel are rumored to be aggressively seeking their next employment

In early May, Brian Robert Lowry, Monsanto's dairy mouthpiece, departed
dairy responsibilities at the company. Lowry had issued a typographical
error-ridden media statement, on April 28, claiming that the March 29, 2004
FDA warning letter to Mosanto's Austrian-based Posilac supplier was merely
business as usual. That warning letter blistered the Austrian manufacturer
for many bad manufacturing practices and failed quality control oversight.
The latest "rat" to jump Monsanto's ship is the "Milk is Milk" website
maintained by the Hudson Institute, a bunch of corporate yahoos. "Milk is
Milk" was hatched in recent years to attack critics of milk from
Posilac-injected dairy cows. The Hudson Institute uses Dennis Avery and his
son Alex as a "hit squad" attacking persons opposing food biotechnology.

Monsanto has been both a member and a major contributor to the Hudson
Institute. Since Monsanto is the only corporation selling recombinant
bovine growth hormone (Posilac), it's presumed Monsanto has been the source
of money for the "milk is milk" website. No More.

Perhaps the single biggest measure of Monsanto's future intentions for
Posilac would be activity around and employment in Monsanto's U.S. plant
near Augusta, Georgia, which was built to produce Posilac. But zero
production of the drug for commercial sale is currently taking place in

The Milkweed contends that Monsanto is engaged in conduct that looks
like intentionally sinking the ship. Is the company trying to finesse its
way around potential liabilities for either human or animal health?

Posilac was the first major biotech food production product approved by
the Federal Food and Drug Administration. FDA's approval for recombinant
bovine growth hormone remains as the most controversial issue in the
agency's history. Posilac was views as a "must succeed" deal, because so
much investment in food biotechnology was riding on that cow drug's gaining
FDA approval. In the analysis of The Milkweed, FDA's review of human and
animal safety for Posilac were criminally flawed.

So 10 years after Posilac was approved for commercial sale, sales are
scaled back...and the rats are jumping ship. Dairy farmers must ask
themselves if, over the past 10 years, they and their cows have fared better
or worse during the "Posilac decade."

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