Tuesday, September 28, 2010


All of us have been victims of having medicine prescribed for us that turned out to be wrong or useless. Some of us have been prescribed medication that was harmful. So, does it surprise you to know that 115 million people are hospitalized and more than 100,000 people die each year from largely preventable adverse reactions to drugs? I was stunned by that number. How can this be?  Plus, many of those drugs should not have been prescribed in the first place.
 This information comes from the Public Citizen Health Research Group April 2010 Vol. 26, No.4. Their website is: http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=183 
Public Citizen is a well respected non-profit organization that tells it like it is. I'm surprised at the amount of misinformation I get in emails from well meaning friends about diets, herbal treatments, food supplements, politics, and any number of subjects we are all common to. Sometimes I think we are an anti-scientific people. We will buy into anything that sounds plausible without thinking about the science of it. I'm guilty as well.  Reading Public Citizen's Newsletter helps me stay on top of things.

Public Citizen regularly publishes products that have been recalled such as dangerous toys, items that crack or break when used according to directions, fuel pumps that leak, drug labeling mix-ups, drugs that have missing ingredients in them, tools that don't work as described, good drugs and bad drugs, contraband drugs that have been diluted on the black market, etc. They provide a wealth of useful, in depth,  information on many subjects. A friend once told me, Mary, you are so smart. Not true. I read smart.

Some years back, our local newspaper, the Calaveras Enterprise,  made National news because they published the names of sex offenders in our county. Apparently, it had never been done before.

I guess my wish list is this:

Major newspapers should publish the amount of money each political candidate running for election receives from corporations in bold print on a corner of the front page. And  those who have not fully reported where they get their money.

They should publish products that don't meet standards.

They should publish untruths passed as truth from their major competition-the broadcast news.

I could go on and on what I think the most valuable function of a newspaper is. But then, we have an alternative, publications like Public Citizen that do not profit from advertising and contributions from leveraging corporations.

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