TRIVIA 1L


Here, in a nutshell, is one more reason that I make it a point never to get my news from any of TV's talking heads. Tom Brokaw, NBC News anchor, commenting on the many homeless people he passed on his way into the "Today" show's studio while substituting for Matt Lauer, "You feel great sympathy for them. But you also envy the extra hour of sleep that they're getting." My goodness, what a clown! (1)

Sadly, the only probable candidate for the office of the President in the next election whom I could hold my nose and vote for has began putting his foot in his mouth, already. This from Vice-President Al Gore, who was first elected to Congress in 1979, on the Internet, which was developed in the late 1960's, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Maybe he, in some small way, worked towards enlarging or improving the Internet in those days, but created it?!? (2)

Just as an aside, here is an address on the Internet that might hold riches for you or someone you know. It is the California Secretary of State's Unclaimed Property site. (There may be a period between the first sco & web but the source shows the address on two lines so, well, if at first you don't succeed, insert a dot!) For the rest of you who don't live in California, each state may have their own site (do a web search through your state's government sites). For everyone, here is a national database for unclaimed property. Don't forget where you learned of this information when you suddenly get filthy rich, okay?!

File this under the heading of "You Probably Heard It Here First"! In Column 225, copyrighted on 12/18/98 (3), I sounded the alarm on the dangers of and the deaths directly attributable to the drug Rezulin. The cry has now again been raised, too late for some, by the LA Times in their follow-up to an earlier series.(4) (5). In the previous article I cited a death toll that was directly attributable to the massive liver damage caused by Rezulin of thirty-three patients. After a December 31 statement by Warner-Lambert Co., the maker of Rezulin, in which the company assured the government that liver related deaths associated with the drug had drastically declined, it can now be shown that a total of at least 135 patients had died as result of taking the drug prior to the fantastic claim of the decline in deaths. In fact, in the first six weeks of 1999, after the company's claim of a decline, 20 people died, bringing the total body count to 155 people. This total is also five times higher than the number previously admitted on Nov. 30, 1998 by Warner-Lambert and doesn't even include the thousands of adverse reactions to the drug reported to the company by doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers. In a letter to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles), the FDA stated that as of Feb 3 of this year it was already aware of 100 patients who (here comes some great double-speak)had suffered "liver adverse events with a fatal outcome" (they died!). The FDA also described at least 33 of these deaths as being "associated" with the drug and an additional 738 instances of serious "adverse reactions" including disability, "life-threatening" injuries and hospitalization.

In just another of the strange ironies of the FDA's process, the very same panel that unanimously recommend the drug's "fast track" approval will decide on March 26 whether the drug should be banned or its use restricted. Dr. Richard C. Eastman, the National Institute of Health's top diabetes researcher who was not only on the panel which first recommended the acceptance of the drug while also on the payroll of the drug's manufacturer, will hopefully not be allowed to sit on this second panel, as well. Otherwise, any recommendation short of an absolute ban on Rezulin will have the appearance of another questionable decision given rise to by the FDA's fear of the Republican Congress and the politician's outright ownership by the drug industry.

The only hope for the American's who find themselves being prescribed new and "improved" drugs for their illnesses is to loudly demand that the dangerous "fast track" approval process forced on the FDA by the Republican Congress be halted and forever done away with. Every drug reaching your doctor must be made to pass the long and grueling and, yes, expensive process of numerous trials and tests that once was the basis for this nation's enviable record or drug safety and reliability. The question you must ask yourself is, should I support the idea that some drugs can be quickly tested and then put on the market in order to assure a higher profit margin for the drug industry or must every drug be proven safe and effective before it is allowed to be sold, even if that longer but more thorough testing procedure raise the cost of the drug and possibly lower the profit margin available to the industry? That isn't a rhetorical question, gentle readers, it is a question of deep importance and long range effects on you and those you love.

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Copyright 4/19/99