It’s a tough, cynical world out there, and we all know to be a bit suspicious when someone claims to be taking up a collection for a good cause, even when what’s being collected is . . . um, urine:
Wait, what sort of pervert would be interested in other people’s urine? Turns out, when it comes from pregnant ladies its hormone content is quite valuable, and so the pharmaceutical company MSD (= Merck Sharp & Dohme, better known in the US simply as Merck*) started a “Mothers for Mothers” program in Brazil, way back in 1986, to convince expectant ladies there to contribute their precious bodily fluids on a regular basis towards a campaign to manufacture drugs designed to ease pregnancy complications.
Reasonable, right? But it has finally emerged that all these contributions (from 6,000 women at the program’s peak) were instead being diverted to produce a drug called “PG600” used – controversially – to speed up piglet production in sows, i.e. to accelerate pork production.
The funny thing is that this “Mothers for Mothers” program was started in Brazil right after a similar campaign in the Netherlands had to be canceled in the mid-1980s, precisely because Dutch women stopped cooperating when similar misuse of their contributions came to light there. Time then to head for the Third World, to somewhere that doesn’t get news from Holland, eh? The word from this Volkskrant piece is that, according to a company spokesperson, “MSD is busy now developing a program in which women will be informed that human hormones are needed for the production of PG600.” Good luck with that.
* Company slogan (from website) = “Be well!” Perhaps something rather along the lines of “Pee well!” is in order.