Payback time in Canada. Scientist suspended.
On January 14th, 1999, Health Canada (the Canadian
equivalent of America's Food and Drug Administration) turned
down Monsanto's application for the approval of the
genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rbGH).
A few months earlier, a group of courageous scientists, led
by Shiv Chopra, PhD, a Drug Evaluator at Health Canada, held
a press conference and announced that the hormone which FDA
approved in America actually caused dangerous biological
effects on laboratory animals.
That shocking news contradicted every major conclusion
reached by FDA.
Health Canada turned down Monsanto's application because of
evidence suggesting that cows were adversely affected after
rbGH treatment. This was true in test herds during 1994,
but today, the adverse affects have been eliminated by
perfect dairy herd management. In other words, Monsanto
will one day get that Canadian approval, despite the warning
cry of Chopra and his colleagues.
On March 26, 1999, Dr. Chopra was invited to speak to an
insurance company about work conditions at Health Canada and
unfair pressures exerted upon scientists.
AND THE PUNISHMENT
On August 11, 1999, Dr. Chopra received a letter of
reprimand from Dr. Andre Lachance, Director of the Bureau of
Veterinary Drugs of the Health Protection Branch, advising
Dr. Chopra that he is not allowed to speak at conferences
without the authorization of his supervisors. Dr. Chopra
was suspended for 5 days without pay for his public
A signal has been sent to Shiv Chopra and to his colleagues.
Whistle blowing has its rewards: loss of pay and ultimate
loss of job security.
While these pressures intimidate those who once had the
courage of their convictions, the suspension most certainly
adds comfort to Monsanto, sitting on the sideline, ready to
re-submit their application for rbGH approval.