Monday, October 15, 2007

Memory Hole (15 October): A small incident from the Rely tampon scandal

Rely Tampon - Toxic Shock

27 years ago today: A small incident from the Rely Tampon scandal

On 15 October 1980 Dr Philip Tierno wrote to Procter and Gamble. Procter and Gamble had attempted to fund many critical scientists and to bring them "into the fold" in the wake of the toxic shock syndrome scandal involving the Rely tampon.

One expert witness was Dr Philip Tierno. His experiments had shown that synthetic tampons create a haven for growth of staphylococcus. He wrote to Procter and Gamble in October 1980 prompting a visit from them. P&G tried to bring Tierno into their camp, and attempted to fund many other critical scientists, some of whom were later criticised in JAMA for suppressing data. Funding critics is a good strategy, and one that has stood the test of time. Sometimes it is called bribery.

We will return to the Rely scandal and I have therefore placed this posting on a separate page. That scandal had some interesting and unanticipated parallels with the Actonel story.

Rely: it even absorbs the worry.

References: Tampons in History; Swasy, A. (1993). Soap Opera: The Inside Story of Procter & Gamble p143

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