Weekly Risk Intelligence Report: Digital Advertising Slows Down; India Restricts Sugar Exports; Belgium and Germany Enhance Energy Cooperation; Big Pharma's Influence on Public Health; Zantac Lawsuits Continue

Digital Advertising Industry Suffers Slowdown in Q1 2023

The digital advertising industry has experienced a slowdown in Q1 2023, which has impacted the revenue of major companies in the sector. The COVID-19 pandemic and increased competition are among the factors contributing to the decline in advertising spending.

Key Developments:

  • Paramount+ has announced plans to raise its streaming prices as the ad slump knocks its revenue.
  • Alphabet has missed Wall Street expectations for profit and revenue due to increased advertisement spending and lower ad sales growth.
  • Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has predicted that digital ad spending could rebound despite the current downturn.
  • YouTube is expanding its shopping features following the digital ad slowdown report.
  • TikTok has lowered its ad revenue outlook due to the slowing digital advertising industry.

Affected Companies: Paramount+, Alphabet, Snapchat, YouTube, TikTok

Future Dates to Watch:

  • The Q2 2023 earnings reports for major digital advertising companies are expected to provide insights into the state of the industry.

Latest Articles:

India restricts sugar exports to prevent domestic shortage

Summary: India has recently announced that it will not allow new sugar exports due to the fear of domestic shortages as sugar prices have hit a six-year high.

Key Developments:

  • India's move to restrict sugar exports has caused global sugar prices to rise, affecting the profits of companies that rely heavily on sugar imports.
  • The sugar price has been on the rise due to a glut in supply in 2022, followed by a shortfall due to unfavorable weather conditions affecting sugar production in countries such as Brazil, the world's largest producer of sugar.
  • India has already sold some of its sugar reserves on the international market, taking advantage of the high prices.
  • The decision to restrict sugar exports has sparked concerns about India's ability to meet global demand for other commodities as well.
  • Indian sugar industry groups have urged the government to reconsider its decision to restrict exports, citing the negative impact on their businesses.

Affected companies:

  • Sugar producers and manufacturers, particularly those who rely heavily on sugar imports.

Future dates to watch:

  • Any updates on India's sugar export policies, particularly if they decide to loosen restrictions.
  • The weather conditions in Brazil and other major sugar-producing countries, which could have an impact on global sugar supply and demand.

Latest Articles:

Belgium and Germany plan to enhance gas transit and power interconnectors

Summary: Belgium and Germany are aiming to increase their energy security and cooperation by expanding gas transit capacity and building new power interconnectors.

Important Developments:

  • Belgium and Germany plan to double their gas transit capacity through the existing pipeline and develop new routes.
  • A new power interconnector between Belgium and Germany is under construction and expected to be completed by 2025.
  • The expansion of gas transit capacity and new interconnectors will help to increase energy security and reduce reliance on other energy sources.
  • Affected companies include gas and electricity providers, as well as infrastructure companies involved in the expansion and construction of pipelines and interconnectors.
  • Future dates to watch include the completion of the new power interconnector in 2025 and any updates on the progress of the gas transit expansion.

Latest articles:

Big Pharma's influence on public health and EU vaccine procurement

EU vaccine procurement, particularly with Pfizer, has been the focus of intense scrutiny and investigations. Pfizer is at the center of controversy over vaccine prices, contracts and allegations of profiteering.

  • EU prosecutors have opened an investigation into COVID vaccine procurement, and Pfizer executives refusing to testify before EU Parliament's COVID-19 panel
  • Reforms and bills have been proposed in the US to address transparency and accountability in the pharmaceutical industry, including reform of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and drug pricing negotiations.
  • Affected companies include Pfizer, Moderna, and PBMs such as CVS Health and Express Scripts.
  • Future dates to watch include the results of EU vaccine procurement investigations and EU efforts to address the influence of pharmaceutical companies.

Latest articles:

  • "EU prosecutor opens probe into COVID jabs procurement" - Economic Times
  • "Pfizer exec says CEO did not negotiate EU Covid vaccine contract via text" - Reuters

Zantac Lawsuits Continue Despite Recent Dismissals and Settlements

Summary: Lawsuits against the manufacturers of heartburn medication Zantac continue to pile up, with many alleging that the drug contains a cancer-causing chemical that the companies failed to warn consumers about. Despite recent dismissals and settlements, the legal battles surrounding Zantac show no signs of slowing down.

Key Developments:

  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the original manufacturer of Zantac, settled its first California lawsuit in February 2023.
  • Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim, which acquired the rights to Zantac in a 2016 asset swap, continue to face negligence lawsuits over their handling of the drug's carcinogen testing.
  • GSK announced in January 2023 that it expects a boost in Q4 earnings from flu vaccine sales and foreign exchange.
  • India-based GSK subsidiary, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, stated that it has no plans to reintroduce its generic version of Zantac, Zinetac, in India due to regulatory concerns.
  • Recent dismissals of Zantac lawsuits in the US have provided some relief for GSK and Sanofi, but thousands of cases remain pending.

Affected Companies:

  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
  • Sanofi
  • Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Pfizer

Future Dates to Watch:

  • The first Zantac cancer trial is set to begin in the US in early 2023.
  • Numerous Zantac lawsuits are currently being consolidated in New York.

Latest Articles:

  • "Judge to weigh key evidence ahead of first Zantac cancer trial" (Reuters, February 16, 2023)
  • "Zantac Cancer Risk Data Was Kept Quiet by Manufacturer Glaxo for 40 Years" (Bloomberg, February 15, 2023)

Glyphosate-based herbicides such as Monsanto's Roundup continue to be a source of controversy and litigation worldwide.
Key developments:

  • The US EPA is allowing farmers a shorter window to spray crop chemical dicamba, a move meant to address environmental concerns.
  • Bayer's new CEO faces increasing pressure from investors to push for change and settle the lawsuits surrounding the glyphosate herbicides.
  • A study found a link between glyphosate exposure and the antibiotic resistance of E. coli.
  • Monsanto was sued again by Contra Costa County and 17 California cities over the legacy of toxic PCBs.
  • A French court ordered Bayer to pay €11,000 to a farmer for damage caused by a pesticide containing glyphosate.

Affected companies:

  • Bayer
  • Monsanto

Future dates to watch:

  • The new US EPA regulations will be in effect in 2024.


  1. "U.S. gives farmers shorter window to spray crop chemical dicamba", Reuters, February 16, 2023.
  2. "Bayer's new CEO has full in-tray as investors push for change", Reuters, February 9, 2023.

Subscribe to Auquan

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.