Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Reasons To Be Concerned About Our Prescription Medications...

From yesterday's New York Times...

NEW DELHI — India, the second-largest exporter of over-the-counter and prescription drugs to the United States, is coming under increased scrutiny by American regulators for safety lapses, falsified drug test results and selling fake medicines. Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, arrived in India this week to express her growing unease with the safety of Indian medicines because of “recent lapses in quality at a handful of pharmaceutical firms.” India’s pharmaceutical industry supplies 40 percent of over-the-counter and generic prescription drugs consumed in the United States, so the increased scrutiny could have profound implications for American consumers. F.D.A. investigators are blitzing Indian drug plants, financing the inspections with some of the roughly $300 million in annual fees from generic drug makers collected as part of a 2012 law requiring increased scrutiny of overseas plants. The agency inspected 160 Indian drug plants last year, three times as many as in 2009. The increased scrutiny has led to a flood of new penalties, including half of the warning letters the agency issued last year to drug makers.

Generic medication make up roughly 69 percent of all prescriptions dispensed in the United States. As the situation in India is currently in a flux and Indian companies scramble to try and save their businesses, we may see a large percent of generic production shifting to China, which allows for even less oversight.

A fascinating story that may effect most of us, its certainly worth a read...

Click here to read the full article...


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How is healthcare handled around the world? A look at various countries starting with the United States...

This week's Healthcare Triage starts a series of episodes focusing on how various countries deliver healthcare to their people. There are many different ways around the world ranging from our mostly private system here in the States to Canada's single payer and the United Kingdom's fully Socialist system. This series looks at other ways countries deliver healthcare to its citizens. Dr. Carroll packs a ton of great information into about seven minutes, so pay attention!

First up, the United States:

Monday, February 17, 2014

How will history treat Barack Obama?

Politico has a great read from various historians on what will be said about President Obama's terms in office. Some say he had solid accomplishments and overcame large obstacles. Others will say he was in over his head from day one and won a second term as much because of his color than any achievement. 

Regardless of how you happen to view our current President, it is a very worthwhile read...    

Click here to read article...


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe?

Are artificial sweeteners safe to use? Do they put us at risk for cancer? Maybe you've heard about a laboratory test where rats and monkeys got cancer from being given artificial sweeteners. What's the data tell us?

In this week's Healthcare Triage, Dr. Carroll weighs in on the safety of using artificial sweeteners.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Good Day for the 14th Amendment...



All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
In a speech this evening at the Human Rights Campaign's New York City Gala, Attorney General Eric Holder disclosed that on Monday, the Obama Administration will announce some major changes to same sex marriage couples and their rights when it comes to federal legal matters including bankruptcies, prison visits and survivor benefits. This change will be effective nationwide including the 34 states where same-sex marriage isn't legal, but be limited to those legal areas where the federal government holds jurisdiction. 
Not surprisingly, voices from the conservative world reacted with dismay.  Brian Brown, president of the National Organisation for Marriage, commented that "to undermine the authority and sovereignty of the states to make their own determinations regulating the institution of marriage. The American public needs to realize how egregious and how dangerous these usurpations are and how far-reaching the implications can be. "The changes being proposed here to a process as universally relevant as the criminal justice system serve as a potent reminder of why it is simply a lie to say that redefining marriage doesn't affect everyone in society."
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council said the change, "is yet another illustration of the lawlessness of this administration."
To be clear, the announcement doesn't force states to conduct same sex marriages if they don't want to. The changes are all at the federal level, not the state.
When the 14th Amendment says "equal protection" it, at least to this Administration and this Attorney General, is worth enforcing. Its ironic watching the folks that usually love to wrap themselves in the flag, the constitution and the Bible, reacting the way many have today. Where's the rejoicing for this more literal interpretation of the 14th?

I'm tired of being asked to accept that the 2nd Amendment MUST be taken literally when it comes to bearing arms, but that same standard is wholly inappropriate when it comes to same sex marriage. 
I'm tired of hearing from one political party that government is too big and interfering in too many places in Americans lives, yet this same political party seems hellbent on inserting government into consenting adults marriages, bedrooms, women's vaginas, etc. (If that's not intrusive, I don't know what is.)

Just who's shredding the Constitution, here? I say good for the Obama Administration to take this very proper step on behalf of thousands of same sex couples across the country. Polls suggest that younger conservatives have less of a problem with this issue than older ones do, which bodes well for the future of conservatism. When exactly will the future of conservatism get here, is anybody's guess.


A Word About Mitt Romney...

 A great deal has been written about Mitt Romney over the last few years. Some good, some bad, some fair, some not.

My take on him is that he was a pretty successful moderate Republican Governor of a liberal state in Massachusetts. He was successful because was moderate. Once the presidential campaigns came in 2008 and 2012, Mr. Romney was forced, during the Republican primaries, to abandon his centrist stances and move hard to his right. So far to his right, in fact, that during the 2012 GOP primaries Mr. Romney chose to describe himself as "severely conservative," which most people just laughed about. Romney dropped out of the 2008 campaign and was soundly defeated by President Obama in 2012.

A small scene from the new documentary "Mitt" recently released by Netflix has made a bit of a splash.

"That's what I start with: 'Dad,'" [Mitt] Romney explained. "I always think about dad and about I am standing on his shoulders. I would not be there, there's no way I would be able to be running for president if dad hadn't done what dad did. He's the real deal..."
"You're the real deal," said one of Romney's sons.
Romney didn't pause. "The guy was born in Mexico. He didn't have a college degree. He became head of a car company and became a governor. It would have never entered my mind to be in politics, how can you go from his beginning to think, I can be head of a car company, I can run for governor, I can run for president?"
Romney wasn't finished. "The gap --- for me, I started where he ended up. I started off with money and education, Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School. For me it's moving that far" --- Romney held two fingers close together --- "For him, it's like that," Romney said, holding his arms wide apart.

I interpret these remarks as Mitt paying respect to his father for his accomplishments and enabling the younger Romney to have a life of privilege and a head start in life. I truly don't think he's a bad guy. I think he's severely out of touch. I think that he chosen to expound on this theme, while acknowledging that most people don't start with the advantages he did, he would've come across in a different, less detached, light. This could have served to temper somewhat his "47% comments." In a totally different reality, he would've used the story above, with some modified policies toward the poor and minorities, etc. never saying the 47% thing at all and who knows? Maybe a closer race, maybe a different outcome.