Monthly Archives: January 2012

Dr., Full disclosure please.

Last week the below article was the subject of one of my tweets regarding lack of ethics and disclosure on part of FDA staff.

“FDA advisers, in a recent vote, said the benefits of four popular Bayer AG birth-control pills outweigh the blood-clot risk. What the FDA didn’t disclose is that three of the advisers have had ties to Bayer, serving as consultants, speakers or researchers.”

What the article did not cite, was weather or not any of these Bayer-compensated-FDA-panel members also approved the  [tax payer] funds that made this study possible.

I’m not a fan of compulsory and mandatory healthcare for all, but Obama’s proposed rule that drug companies publicly list all payments to doctors [today’s NYTimes]  is a welcome disclosure for the public and long practiced elsewhere- Wall Street, yes that industry of favored scorn by democrats and republicans alike, gets it right:  “Your Broker, Inc. makes a market in this stock”.    Up front and in writing, the customer knows if the broker has a relationship or interest in the underlying security,  whether serving as the seller or buyer, or merely facilitating the sale between parties- truly the ultimate ‘Buyer beware’ policy.   Adoption of this practice is certainly a step in the right direction for the medical field, but  here’s what else needs clarification:

1) Will Obama’s public this list also include/ apply to government employees like those FDA staff that approved Bayer’s product above?

2) Does this disclosure of conflict-of-interest also apply to FDA and other government agency staff when awarding grants to companies?

That would  make many a physician recuse himself/herself from not only voting on the approval of drugs, but also in awarding [tax payer funded] contracts to companies that have compensated them, as this blurs the line between objective Panel reviewer and lobbyist.    Id appreciated it  if someone from the Obama Administration would reply to these questions- ethics can only be achieved with accountability and transparency for all.

I’d rather lose twinkies than Kodak

As an adult I realize that there is little nutritional value in the iconic snack so its possible demise isn’t as  big a loss as say Kodak, although I say this as someone whose never had a fried Twinkie, even though it is on my ‘bucket’ list.    But Kodak is the last bastion of traditional photography.   Professional photographers, and school photography instructors have long lamented  the difficulty of finding the correct roll of film, and dark rooms may be harder to come by or justify in a school’s budget.   But an even greater impact will be felt by individuals who either don’t own, or want, a computer to transfer digital photographs- people like my father in law.

At 86 years young, he drives all over the continental US to visit relatives.  Driving through rain, sleet, snow or hail,  worthy of any mail carrier one quarter his age,  his trusty camera was always at the ready.  Unfortunately, he lost his camera somewhere in his travels last year and it has greatly affected him.   In searching for a replacement, the major electronic chains we shopped at explained that they didn’t sell any simple click models just the disposable cameras, and even if we found a model, they would not accept it for repair.

Unlike the majority of folks whose pictures wind up on facebook and displayed for even strangers to see, his are solely for his own personal comfort and enjoyment, as he reviews each and recalls the time he spent with family-     the loss of a twinkie could never be felt as severely.   If there is any way for Kodak to revive itself, it  would be for them to focus on  the market that they and other companies have abandoned; the elderly.

‘Diabesity’ sums it up accurately

A  study was published in journal Health Affairs recently and received coverage in the NY Times,

The study discussed the lower earnings, graduation rates, and employment prospects for diabetics compared to their non-diabetic counterparts.

“They had lower rates of finishing high school and were less likely to move on to college than young adults who were not diabetic. By age 30, a person with diabetes is 10 percent less likely to have a job, in part because of reduced education.”

Quite a loaded statement considering it was made without regard to Type, Type 1, juvenile diabetes or Type 2, adult onset, usually brought on my obesity.  This  glaring omission puts these dubious findings in dispute.

To look at diabetes in vacuum is misleading and smacks of propaganda.  The majority of diabetics are obese, which indicates that the challenge and discomfort of maneuvering stairs, or commuting,  may account for the reduced education and job opportunities cited.  It would take a study that distinguishes between Type 1 and Type 2 to determine if any of the above ‘findings’ can be attributed to  weight or diabetes.

New Year’s resolution: Make waves or at least ripples

Recently, I was in my local megamall and as I ascended the second floor was met with the gaze of what appeared to be a poster of naked teenage girl in the store windows of Aerie.   It was a side view, covered in discreet places, but the viewer was left to interpret the model was not wearing any clothes.   I immediately entered the store and asked the gal at the register to take down the poster since I considered it child pornography.  She nervously explained she was only the manager on duty but would inform the store manager immediately the next day.  I assured her if  action was not taken swiftly I would lodge a complaint with the mall management company, explaining since it was available for all mall inhabitants to see, Aerie, and its parent company, Abercrombie and Fitch, were trafficking in child pornography- clearly I’ve seen too many Law &  Order episodes.

As it was a Friday evening and the mall property’s management staff had left for the day, security staff provided me a complaint form and instructed me to return on Monday am.  Upon my return Monday,  the Aerie window display had been removed, I did not need to lodge a formal complaint after all, I needed only to voice my objection to a  retailer dictating to me, and my children, what passes for normal.

Our daughters are constantly bombarded with messages from the media that they aren’t sexy enough, and for Jr high! since that’s Aerie’s targeted audience, ages 10 and up.  If you complain about things you see or hear, but rarely voice your objection, it doesn’t take much to start a change- that you made a difference is all the reward you need to take on the bigger challenges.