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Paul Kiesel
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NYT: The Eyeshade Smelled Trouble

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From The New York Times:

WHEN it comes to corporate America, critics and skeptics are about as welcome as skunks at a pool party. And when companies try to silence dissenters, shareholders are often imperiled.

This truism is on full display in the mess at Matrixx Initiatives, a Scottsdale, Ariz., maker of over-the-counter health care products. Best-known for its homeopathic Zicam Cold Remedy offerings, Matrixx hit a rough patch on June 16, when the Food and Drug Administration advised consumers to stop using two of its popular remedies.

The F.D.A. said that it had received more than 130 reports of anosmia — or loss of smell — from users of the products and that more than 800 such reports had been delivered to Matrixx. The agency told Matrixx that Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel and the same treatment in swab form could no longer be marketed without government approval.

Matrixx maintains that the products, which contain zinc, are safe. But it immediately withdrew them from the market. Bill Hemelt, Matrixx’s president, said company officials would meet with the F.D.A. to try to persuade it to reverse its decision.

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