This editorial from Africa Fighting Malaria contains the usual misleading statements about what happened in South Africa and the usual false claim about the EU threatening to ban imports from Uganda. But it adds this attack on Bayer:
The obstacles to good malaria control unfortunately do not end there. Big business also plays a distasteful role in this saga. Recently, the Financial Times reported that Gerhard Hesse, business manager for vector control of Bayer Crop Sciences and a board member of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, wrote an e-mail to various health academics claiming: "We fully support EU to ban [sic] imports of agricultural products from countries using DDT DDT remains for us a commercial threat [but] mainly a public image threat."
Bayer produces alternatives to DDT and clearly attempts to direct malaria-control programmes so that they benefit its bottom line. Recently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated more than $50-million to the Innovative Vector Control Consortium to create new insecticides. Regretfully, the commercial-development arm of the project is none other than Bayer Crop Sciences.
Of course, the EU isn't going to ban agricultural imports from countries that use DDT, so something is wrong here, and sure enough, Hesse's words were taken out of context:
In a statement, Bayer said Mr Hesse meant to refer purely to DDT for crop use. "Bayer CropScience rejects any interpretation that the company would support the EU move to ban imports of agricultural products coming from countries using DDT for company specific competitive reasons," it said.
"Gerhard Hesse's statement in this respect was written in a way which might lead to wrong conclusions. It does not reflect the actual opinion of Mr Hesse and of Bayer CropScience."
The EU said it did not ban food imports from countries using DDT but required them to comply with maximum residue limits.
And contrary to the impression that the AFM people wanted to give, Bayer does support DDT use for the control of malaria.
Note to Bayer: AFM is an astroturf operation. If you want them to stop attacking you, give them some money.