Makers of Voltaren in Australia court facing misleading marketing claims

An Australian consumer watchdog has begun court proceedings against GlaxoSmithKline over allegations they falsely claimed a painkilling product was capable of targeting specific conditions.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleges the local divisions of UK firm GlaxoSmithKline advertised Voltaren Osteo Gel - which Novartis sold to Glaxo in 2016 - as particularly suitable for osteoarthritis sufferers, despite having the same dose of the same active ingredient as their Emulgel product.

The common ingredient - diclofenac diethylammonium gel - is useful for reducing localised pain and inflammation.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said Voltaren Osteo Gel has an identical formulation to Emulgel, meaning both products are equally effective in treating osteoarthritis as well as a range of other conditions.

"Consumers are likely to have been misled into purchasing Osteo Gel thinking that it is different to Emulgel and more effective for treating osteoarthritis conditions, when this is not the case," Mr Sims said in a statement.

"GSK engaged in a deliberate commercial strategy to differentiate the products in a way that was likely to mislead consumers."

The consumer watchdog found Voltaren Osteo Gel is often sold at a higher cost than Emulgel.

The ACCC has already taken action against the makers of Nurofen for similar conduct.

In December 2016, the Federal Court ordered Reckitt Benckiser to pay a $6 million penalty for claiming identically formulated ibuprofen products were able to treat particular types of pain.



Don't call dolphin hybrid spotted off Hawaii a 'wholphin' scientists say

Scientists are touting the first sighting of a hybrid between a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin in the ocean off Hawaii. But don't call it a "wholphin," they say.

The melon-headed whale is one of the various species that's called a whale but is technically a dolphin.

"Calling it something like a wholphin doesn't make any sense," said one of the study's authors, Robin Baird, a Hawaii research biologist with Washington state-based Cascadia Research Collective.

"I think calling it a wholphin just confuses the situation more than it already is."

In a study published last week, scientists say the animal spotted off the island of Kauai in August 2017 appears to be the first record of a hybrid involving either species.

It's also only the third confirmed instance of a wild-born hybrid between species in the Delphinidae family.

The label "wholphin" has stuck for a hybrid born in 1985 at Hawaii's Sea Life Park of a false killer whale and an Atlantic bottle-nose dolphin.

The hybrid named Kekaimalu still lives at the marine mammal park, where she helps teach children about genetics.

News of the hybrid spotted in the wild during Navy-funded research to study the effects of sonar, proves the "genetic diversity of the ocean," said Sea Life Park Curator Jeff Pawloski.

"I always thought they were out there in the wild existing — it only makes sense," he said. "And to know she has cousins out there in the ocean is an amazing thing to know."

While some news organisation have described the melon-headed whale and rough-toothed dolphin hybrid as a new species, in order for that to happen other things need to occur, including more widespread hybridisation, Baird said.

"That isn't the case, although there are examples where hybridisation has resulted in a new species," he said. "There's no evidence to suggest it's leading toward anything like species formation."

The male hybrid presents an opportunity to look for others. Hybrids generally occur when there's a decline in the population in one of the parental species, so scientists will be looking out for such a decline.

A likely scenario for how the hybrid came to be is a melon-headed whale getting separated from its group and ending up travelling with rough-toothed dolphins.

Scientists don't know how old it is, but believe it's close to adult age.

Photo provided by Cascadia Research shows a hybrid between a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin, in the foreground, swimming next to a melon-headed dolphin near Kauai, Hawaii. Source: Associated Press


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Man, 25, who planned Brisbane Molotov cocktail suicide attack to spend at least 13 years in jail

An extremist who planned a suicide attack with Molotov cocktails in Australia after he was prevented from flying to Syria to fight was sentenced by an Australian judge today to 17 years in prison.

Agim Kruezi, 25, had pleaded guilty in the Queensland state Supreme Court to preparing for an incursion into a foreign state and preparing for a terrorist act.

It is illegal under Australian law for an Australian citizen to fight in a foreign country except for a state military force.

Kruezi was sentenced to 17 years and four months in prison, with a non-parole period of 13 years.

Justice Rosalyn Atkinson found he had not rejected the violent, extremist views that led him to buying materials to create Molotov cocktails to unleash an attack.

"You remain a serious risk to the public," Atkinson said.

She ruled Kruezi wanted to create "death or destruction" in Australia and was motivated by a religious duty.

Kruezi's bid to travel to Syria to fight with al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat Al Nusrah in March 2014 was blocked by officials at Brisbane Airport.
He turned his focus to an attack on home soil after his passport was canceled.

He was arrested in a police raid at his home in Logan, south of Brisbane, in September 2014 after buying 10 liters (2.6 gallons) of gasoline in a jerry can.

Prosecutor Lincoln Crowley told the court Kruezi was planning "to kill random, innocent people in a public place and ultimately die as a martyr in that attack."

A molotov cocktail being thrown during a riot
A molotov cocktail (file picture). Source: istock.com