||Issue No. 176||02 May 2003|
Interview: Staying Alive
Bad Boss: The Ultimate Piss Off
Industrial: Last Drinks
National Focus: Around the States
Politics: Radical Surgery
Education: The Price of Missing Out
Legal: If At First You Don't Succeed
History: Massive Attack
Culture: What's Right
Review: If He Should Fall
Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Satire: IMF Ensures Iraq Institutes Market Based Looting
The Locker Room
Bob Gould Sprays Gerard Henderson
War and Peace
A Strange Light
A Little History
Does It Have To Be?
Snake Oil Jim
When Australian Workers Union officials went to conduct a safety inspection of the Pan Pharmaceuticals plant in Sydney in November last year they were personally chased off the premises by Pan Pharmaceuticals shonky CEO Jim Selim.
Jim Selim, who quite rightly described himself as not deserving of an award he received from the Complementary Healthcare Council last year, fell on his sword this week - but not until after Pan desperately tried to blame industrial sabotage and problem employees for the debacle. Even Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Trish Worth ridiculed the suggestion that Pan's shortcomings were only caused by a couple of problem employees.
"There was substitution of different ingredients, alarmingly equipment wasn't cleaned properly, and then of course there was the deliberate manipulation of data and changing of that data," says Worth. "So I think it is very much stretching it to be saying it was the fault of one or two people."
Selim, who has been keeping a remarkably low profile this week, was a hands on CEO, owning 52 per cent of the shares in Pan; and this dodgy snake oil salesman, who preyed on the most vulnerable in our society, has form.
In 1976 "Snake Oil" Selim appeared before the Pharmacy Board of NSW charged with professional misconduct after making paracetamol tablets that unfortunately contained no paracetamol.
Selim also defended charges in the local court in 1985 of not properly storing and dispensing a particular medication and, in 1996, the TGA accused Pan Laboratories of an "evening primrose oil scam". But Pan argued, with a curious logic, that the oil was a food and not a therapeutic good.
Union bashing Selim had already attempted to flout the award this year by trying to unilaterally re-configure the pay arrangements for Pan employees. That disastrous attempt was thrown out by the Industrial Relations Commission.
"He has always discouraged employees from joining the union," said one industry source. Another example of the dodgy practices at the heart of anti-union employers.
In 2001 Selim defended a "natural prozac", despite the concerns of the Sydney branch of the Australian College of Clinical Psychologists. In a pitch that could have come straight off the back of a snake-oil salesman's wagon, Selim said people who popped his pills could see an improvement within a week. It was not a cheap option, as people who took two tablets per day would face costs of approximately $100 each month - itself a depressing thought.
Selim will need all the "natural prozac" he can get his hands on as the Australian Securities and Investment Commission is now conducting an investigation into trading in Pan shares prior to trading in the company being halted last Monday. The press conference that announced the action against Pan started at 2.45pm last Monday afternoon but Pan Shares began plummeting at 2.43pm. Some low life was offloading Pan stock onto unsuspecting investors.
There's a word for people like our tool of the week, "Snake Oil" Jim Selim, and that word is shonky.
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