GE Healthcare

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GE Healthcare is a company that specialises in (in its own words):
transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, performance improvement, drug discovery, and biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies.[1]

It is a subsidiary of General Electric.[2]

Omniscan libel case

In February 2010, The Guardian reported that a Danish radiologist being sued for libel by GE Healthcare, was launching a 'counterclaim for libel.'[3] Henrik Thomsen previously claimed the company's contrast agent Omniscan which is used in MRI scans caused a 'potentially fatal condition in some patients with kidney problems'. According to Thomsen, 30 patients at Copenhagen University Hospital have developed nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). [4] Thomsen counter-sued the company for defamation after it called him a liar in a press release. GE Healthcare subsequently dropped the libel action after reaching a settlement with Thomsen, claiming it 'did not mean to stifle academic debate'.[5][6] Thomson released a statement claiming:

I stand by my publicly expressed opinion, based on my experience and research on published papers, that there is an association between the chemical formulation of gadolinium-based contrast agents and NSF.[7]

Lobbying firms

Donations to science PR organisations

GE Healthcare was a donor to the Science Media Centre from 2010 to 2012 according to the SMC.[9]

In the financial year 2007-8 GE Healthcare was a funder of Sense About Science[10]. SAS has run a high-profile campaign against libel laws in science (Keep Libel Laws out of Science[11]) in relation to the case of the science writer Simon Singh being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association for an article in the Guardian in which he claimed the BCA promoted "bogus" treatments.[12]

While SAS devotes a substantial section of its website to supporting Singh's cause, however, it nowhere (as at February 2010) mentions the libel case that its funder GE Healthcare launched against the radiologist Henrik Thomsen.

Affiliations

  • Former health minister, Lord Ara Darzi became a member of the Healthy Imagination Advisory Group of GE Healthcare in May 2010.

Resources

See: The Corporate Capture of the NHS

Abstract:
This article discusses the nature and power of corporations and some ways in which their activities adversely impact public health. It reviews those activities of GE Healthcare and its parent company, General Electric (GE, ranked by Forbes Magazine in 2008 as the world's largest company), which have been antithetical to public health. These activities include unethical human subject experiments; environmental pollution; workers' rights and workplace health and safety violations; fraud; false and misleading advertising; sponsorship of corporate front groups; lobbying; a personal attack on a radiologist for exposing the risks of nephrogenic systemic sclerosis from its contrast agent Omniscan; and an ethically troubling technology transfer agreement with New York Presbyterian Hospital. Despite such activities, General Electric has been highly praised in the business community, including being named "America's Most Admired Company" in a Forbes Magazine poll and one of the "World's Most Respected Companies" in polls conducted by Barron's and Financial Times. The article concludes with suggestions for individuals, governments, and academic institutions on how to fight the corporate corruption of public health.

Notes

  1. About GE Healthcare, GE Healthcare website, accessed 20 Feb 2010
  2. About GE Healthcare, GE Healthcare website, accessed 20 Feb 2010
  3. Leigh, D. The Guardian. 16 February 2010.Danish scientist sued by drug firm under British libel laws to counterclaim Accessed 18 February 2010.
  4. Booth, R. The Guardian. 20 December 2009. UK libel law has gagged me, says leading Danish radiologist Accessed 18 February 2010.
  5. Leigh, D. The Guardian. 18 February 2010.US drug firm drops libel action against scientist' Accessed 18 February 2010.
  6. Statement from GE Healthcare on Settlement with Professor Henrik Thomsen, GE Healthcare, 18 February 2010, accessed 19 Feb 2010
  7. Leigh, D.The Guardian. 18 February 2010. US drug firm drops libel action against scientist' Accessed 18 February 2010.
  8. Register 1st September 2014 - 30th November 2014 APPC, accessed 28 January 2015
  9. Data from Internet Archive holdings of the Science Media Centre website, 2002-2013.
  10. Sense About Science Financial Statement Year Ended 5 April 2008, available here
  11. National Petition for Libel Law Reform, SAS website, accessed 16 Feb 2010
  12. Chiropractic critic loses first round in libel fight, New Scientist, Issue 2708, 15 May 2009, accessed 19 Feb 2010