What kind of corporate citizen is Reckitt Benckiser?

by Lisa Lawley
by Lisa Lawley

While the story has nothing directly to do with addiction, Marketplace provides a little background on the kind of corporation that Reckitt Benckiser (manufacturer of Suboxone) is:

Here’s the background:

Many rodenticides act as anticoagulants, killing pests by making them bleed internally. They’re great at killing rats, but they’re also killing animals that eat rats.

Stella McMillen, a scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, says lots of animals eat rodents: coyotes, foxes, birds of prey — and the chemicals are making it to the top of the food chain.

Scientists worry the compounds may be making predators more prone to disease or may be hurting reproduction. The most toxic are the second-generation anticoagulants, one of which is brodifacoum.

The story notes that Reckitt Benckiser has been fighting the EPA for more than 5 years and one of the people interviewed in the story says that, “It’s extremely, extremely rare that a company doesn’t implement EPA safety findings.”

Note that Reckitt Benckiser is the only company fighting this:

The products are at the center of a long and messy fight between the company that owns the product and the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s been trying to restrict second-generation anticoagulants to professional users. All companies but one have complied. Reckitt Benckiser has about a dozen products that would be canceled, and it’s been fighting to keep them in homeowners’ hands. That fight’s been going for more than five years.

Keep in mind that the Reckitt Benckiser has been successful in establishing partnerships with federal government, many researchers, many treatment providers and some professional associations. So… Reckitt Benckiser has gotten itself invited into the hen house.

Keep in mind that this is a company that was recently raided by the IRS and inspector general, has sought to protect it’s market by developing a new delivery method and then arguing that their old product (with the expiring patent) was unsafe and has engaged in troubling marketing strategies. More here.

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