Cheap At The Price

In our rush to save money, we often end up causing ourselves far bigger problems.  Here’s one example:

A common blood pressure drug has been recalled worldwide and production has stopped after it was found to contain a cancer-causing chemical.

The drug Valsartan, made in a factory in China, was recalled in 22 countries including the UK and the US earlier in July, but the warning is now worldwide.

Investigators found a chemical used in rocket fuel, called N-Nitrosodimethylamine, had contaminated the drug’s production at Zhejiang Huahai, a Chinese supplier which ships the medicine worldwide.

N-Nitrosodimethylamine is thought to be carcinogenic, meaning it could cause cancer in humans, so production of the pills has stopped.

China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission said yesterday that the drug must not be used for diagnosis or treatment, and the pills have already been banned in the UK and US.

Experts say the contamination could date back as far as 2012, when the company changed its manufacturing process.

The main manufacturer in China is Zhejiang Huahai, which was founded in 1989 and listed on the Shanghai stock exchange in 2003, was one of the first Chinese companies to get drugs approved in the US market.

Let’s hear it for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration…

Overall, more than two-thirds of all active drug ingredients originate in China and India, industry experts estimate, with China accounting for the lion’s share.

The revelation that the problem with Valsartan likely dates back to changes in manufacturing processes at Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical six years ago suggests many patients could potentially have been exposed to cancer risk.

I’ve been taking Valsartan every day for well over ten years.  At a rough guess, that’s around four thousand pills.

RFI #3: Vitamins

For about ten years now I’ve been taking a multivitamin pill each day — you know, the “Centrum Silver” type for Ye Olde Phartes — but I have to tell you all, I’m not convinced that it does anything.

Reason I’m pondering the topic now is because I just read somewhere that taking fish oil pills (for Omega-3 reasons) is a complete waste of time — the only way fish oil seems to do any good is if you get it from actual fish, which I eat about once a week anyway.

So I ask myself:  what about the multivitamin pill?  Is it too a waste of money?  The consensus around seem to be that at best, it doesn’t do you any harm — but that doesn’t seem to be enough reason to swallow the stuff every day.  Or is there any real value to it?  (I should point out that I eat a fairly balanced diet, and I’m not sure that I need any more.)

Serious / informed answers only in Comments, please.

Irony Alert

So former supermodel Elle McPherson is dating a doctor.  Ordinarily, I would not care, and nor should any sentient human being.  But this is not just any doctor, oh no — as the Daily Mail  breathlessly informs us:

Elle Macpherson, 54, is dating discredited former doctor Andrew Wakefield, 60, a driving force behind the anti-vaxxer movement when his debunked theory linked the childhood MMR jab to autism

…and of course there’s a pic:

…which makes me think:  while I certainly do not wish any harm on the Oz bint, wouldn’t be wonderfully ironic if by kissing this charlatan, she contracted a serious yet preventable disease?

(Side note:  kissing with eyes open? eewwww)

 

Settled Science

when it comes to coffee:

Every day seems to deliver a new story about caffeine. One day it’s good for you, the next it’s to be avoided.
But a recent large scale study suggests not only do coffee and caffeine give us an ‘energy boost’, they also benefit our health.
The British Medical Journal published an umbrella review that showed the health benefits of caffeine and coffee far outweighed the risks.
The optimum health benefits of caffeine come from about 3-4 cups a day.

I know, I know… yer not gonna cut your coffee intake in half, no matter what the scientists say.

For the record, I drink Krispy Kreme “Smooth” blend coffee from K-cups. (yeah, go ahead and call it sacrilege: according to the coffee fanatics, I should grow my own beans, roast them myself, and grind only the freshest ones for my coffee needs. The only problem with that rigmarole is I wouldn’t have time left in the day to do anything else. I don’t distill my own single malt Scotch; why should I do the same for my coffee?)

Then again, no doubt some doctors would take issue with my other approach:

…but they’re just a bunch of old spoilsports.

Under The Knife

My eyes have been getting progressively worse over the past couple years, to the point where looking with my left eye is akin to peering through muslin. Yup; with age comes cataracts. So here’s what awaits me later today (squeamish warning):

…and I’ll be getting the right eye done too, in a couple of weeks. Fortunately, my eyedoc is an absolute artist at this surgery — he’s the same guy who carries a SIG 226 under his white coat… how bad could he be?

After a lifetime of shitty eyesight that not even Lasik could take care of properly, here’s hoping things will get better. Apparently, it does.

Wish me luck, y’all.

Update:  all done, no problems.  See you tomorrow.

Gold Standard?

The next time some liberal fool tries to convince you that a “single-payer” healthcare system is the bee’s knees and holds up Britain’s NHS as an example of “free” medical care, feel free to point him to this little snippet:

The NHS is struggling with its worst winter ever as A&E waiting times hit their highest on record, damning figures released today reveal.

New data from NHS England shows the health service is operating at a poorer level than at the same point in 2016, which was branded a ‘humanitarian crisis’ and saw the British Red Cross drafted in to help.

The alarming statistics, collected from between New Year’s Day and January 7, show:

  • One in five patients at major casualty units waited longer than four hours – the safe limit set by the Government – to be seen in December
  • The statistics showed that for all A&E units, 85.1 per cent of patients were seen within the four-hour period – equaling last January’s record low.
  • More than 300,000 patients were forced to wait for at least four hours in all A&E units – the highest amount since figures began in 2010.
  • Ambulance delays have also risen to record proportions, with more than 5,000 patients left stuck in the back of the vehicles waiting to be transferred to A&E.
  • While bed occupancy levels have hit their worst point yet this winter, with 24 trusts declaring they had no free beds at some point last week, the figures show.

With government, when there is over-demand there will always be under-supply, and rationing.