Monsanto Accused of Attempt to Bribe Health Canada for rBGH (Posilac) Approval

The Ottawa Citizen |October 23, 1998; Page A1
By James Baxter

Scientists `pressured' to approve cattle drug: Health Canada researchers accuse firm of bribery in bid to OK `questionable' product

Veterinary scientists from Health Canada's Human Safety Division testified yesterday that they are being pressured to approve a controversial hormone intended to boost milk production in dairy cattle. ``We have been pressured and coerced to pass drugs of questionable safety, including rBST,'' Dr. Shiv Chopra told the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.

The senators sat dumbfounded as Dr. Margaret Haydon told of being in a meeting when officials from Monsanto Inc., the drug's manufacturer, made an offer of between $1 million and $2 million to the scientists from Health Canada -- an offer that she told the senators could only have been interpreted as a bribe.

Dr. Haydon also recounted how notes and files critical of scientific data provided by Monsanto were stolen from a locked filing cabinet in her office. Dr. Chopra said that all files pertaining to rBST are now controlled by one senior bureaucrat and can only be viewed by gaining permission. ``I can't even believe I'm in Canada when I hear that your files have been stolen and that all the files are now in the hands of one person,'' said Senator Eugene Whelan. ``What the hell kind of a system have we got here?''