Friday, May 16, 2008

Over half of insured Americans on medication

What the HELL is wrong with people? I know big pharma and the Drs are partly to blame but people need to take some responsibility for their own health as well.


More Americans are taking prescription medications

By LINDA A. JOHNSON, AP Business Writer

Wed May 14, 4:18 PM ET

For the first time, it appears that more than half of all insured Americans are taking prescription medicines regularly for chronic health problems, a study shows.

The most widely used drugs are those to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol — problems often linked to heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

The numbers were gathered last year by Medco Health Solutions Inc., which manages prescription benefits for about one in five Americans.

Experts say the data reflect not just worsening public health but better medicines for chronic conditions and more aggressive treatment by doctors. For example, more people are now taking blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medicines because they need them, said Dr. Daniel W. Jones, president of the American Heart Association.

In addition, there is the pharmaceutical industry's relentless advertising. With those factors unlikely to change, doctors say the proportion of Americans on chronic medications can only grow.

"Unless we do things to change the way we're managing health in this country ... things will get worse instead of getting better," predicted Jones, a heart specialist and dean of the University of Mississippi's medical school.

Americans buy much more medicine per person than any other country. But it was unclear how their prescriptions compare to those of insured people elsewhere. Comparable data were not available for Europe, for instance.

Medco's data show that last year, 51 percent of American children and adults were taking one or more prescription drugs for a chronic condition, up from 50 percent the previous four years and 47 percent in 2001. Most of the drugs are taken daily, although some are needed less often.

The company examined prescription records from 2001 to 2007 of a representative sample of 2.5 million customers, from newborns to the elderly.

Medication use for chronic problems was seen in all demographic groups:

• Almost two-thirds of women 20 and older.

• One in four children and teenagers.

• 52 percent of adult men.

• Three out of four people 65 or older.

Among seniors, 28 percent of women and nearly 22 percent of men take five or more medicines regularly.

Karen Walker of Paterson, N.J., takes 18 prescription medicines daily for high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic back and shoulder pain, asthma and the painful muscle disorder fibromyalgia.

"The only way I can do it and keep my sanity ... is I use pill boxes" to organize pills for each morning and night, said Walker, 57, a full-time nurse at an HIV clinic. Her 69-year-old husband, Charles, keeps his medicines lined up on his bureau: four pills for arthritis and heart disease, plus two inhalers for lung problems.

Dr. Robert Epstein, chief medical officer at Franklin Lakes, N.J.-based Medco, said he sees both bad news and good in the findings.

"Honestly, a lot of it is related to obesity," he said. "We've become a couch potato culture (and) it's a lot easier to pop a pill" than to exercise regularly or diet.

On the good side, he said, researchers have turned what used to be fatal diseases into chronic ones, including AIDS, some cancers, hemophilia and sickle-cell disease.

Yet Epstein noted the biggest jump in use of chronic medications was in the 20- to 44-year-old age group — adults in the prime of life — where it rose 20 percent over the six years. That was mainly due to more use of drugs for depression, diabetes, asthma, attention-deficit disorder and seizures.

Antidepressant use in particular jumped among teens and working-age women. Doctors attributed that to more stress in daily life and to family doctors, including pediatricians, being more comfortable prescribing newer antidepressants.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen's Health Research Group said the increased use of medications is partly because the most heavily advertised drugs are for chronic conditions, so most patients will take them for a long time. He also blames doctors for not spending the time to help patients lose weight and make other healthy changes before writing a prescription.

The study highlights a surge in children's use of medicines to treat weight-related problems and other illnesses previously considered adult problems. Medco estimates about 1.2 million American children now are taking pills for Type 2 diabetes, sleeping troubles and gastrointestinal problems such as heartburn.

"A scarier problem is that body weights are so much higher in children in general, and so we're going to have larger numbers of adults who develop high blood pressure or abnormal cholesterol or diabetes at an earlier age," said Jones, of the heart association.

Dr. Richard Gorman, an American Academy of Pediatrics expert on children's medicines, said more children are taking medicines for "adult conditions" partly because manufacturers now provide pediatric doses, liquid versions or at least information to determine the right amount for a child.

The Medco study found that among boys and girls under age 10, the most widely used medication switched from allergy drugs to asthma medicines between 2001 and 2007. Gorman said that's because over the last decade, asthma care has gone from treating flare-ups to using inhaled steroids regularly to prevent flare-ups and hospitalizations.


On the Net:

USDA continues to rape and defile the meaning of organic

They have ruined what it means to be organic, how much more arrogant and sick are they going to get? I hate to say it but at some point they are going to ban all organic foods and declare fruits and vegetables to be the property of of various corporations.


USDA Renews Approval of 46 Non-Organic Ingredients in "Organic" Foods

(NaturalNews) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has renewed its approval for 46 non-organically produced substances to be used in foods and beverages that are labeled "organic." At the same time, the agency withdrew its approval for a type of food coloring and a food additive.

Under the Organic Foods Production Act, the USDA's National Organic Standards Board is required to renew approval every five years for any non-organic ingredients that are allowed into organic foods.

The products renewed include five agricultural non-organic products and 41 non-agricultural, non-organic products. The agricultural produced products are corn starch, kelp, pectin, unbleached lecithin and water extracted gums. Some of these are not individual products, but categories; water-extracted gums, for example, include arabic, carob bean, guar and locust bean gums. Kelp may only be used as a thickener or a dietary supplement.

The 41 allowed non-agricultural products include common ingredients such as citric and lactic acid; calcium carbonate; calcium chloride; carnauba wax; bakers, brewers or nutritional yeast; dairy cultures; flavors; sodium carbonate; glycerin; mono- and diglycerides; and xanthan gum.

The USDA withdrew its approval, however, for colors derived from non-synthetic sources and for potassium tartrate derived from tartaric acid.

The organic industry is the fastest-growing agriculture sector in the United States, currently accounting for 3 percent of all food and beverage sales. Retail revenues have risen 20 to 24 percent each year since 1990, from $1 billion to nearly $17 billion in 2006. They are expected to reach nearly $24 billion by 2010.

At the same time, acreage of organic agriculture operations more than doubled from 2001 to 2005, to a current 4.05 million acres. The number of organic operations increased by more than 18 percent in the same period, to a 2005 value of 8.500 crop and livestock operations and 2,900 handling operations.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Families will make case for vaccine link to autism

I am not one to usually ask for prayer but these people need as much positive support / prayer as possible because these people have had their families turned upside down by something promoted as keeping their children safe. All they have been left with so far are cover ups and lies.

How do the pro vax drs, the idiots with financial ties to big pharma, and the people who make this poison sleep at night? I don't get it.


Families will make case for vaccine link to autism

The Associated Press
Monday, May 12, 2008; 4:36 AM

WASHINGTON -- The Institute of Medicine said in 2004 there was no credible evidence to show that vaccines containing the preservative thimerosal led to autism in children. But thousands of families have a different take based on personal experience.

Some of them are going to court Monday as attorneys will attempt to show that the mercury-based preservative triggers symptoms of autism.

Two 10-year-old boys from Portland, Ore., will serve as test cases to determine whether many of the children and their families should be compensated. Attorneys for the boys will attempt to show the boys were happy, healthy and developing normally _ but, after being exposed to vaccines with thimerosal, they began to regress.

Thimerosal has been removed in recent years from standard childhood vaccines, except flu vaccines that are not packaged in single-doses. The CDC says single-dose flu shots currently are available only in limited quantities. In 2004, a committee with the Institute of Medicine concluded there was no credible evidence that vaccines containing thimerosal caused autism.

Overall, nearly 4,900 families have filed claims with the U.S. Court of Claims alleging that vaccines caused autism and other neurological problems in their children. Lawyers for the families are presenting three different theories of how vaccines caused autism.

The Office of Special Masters of the claims court has instructed the plaintiffs to designate three test cases for each of the three theories _ nine cases in all _ and has assigned three special masters to handle the cases. Three cases in the first category were heard last year, but no decisions have been reached.

The two cases beginning Monday are among the three that focus on the second theory of causation: that thimerosal-containing vaccines alone cause autism. The plaintiff in the third case originally scheduled for hearing this month has withdrawn and lawyers and court officials are working to agree on substitute case.

Hearings in the test cases for the third theory of causation are scheduled in mid-September.

Lawyers for the petitioning families in the cases being heard this month say they will present evidence that injections with thimerosal deposit a form of mercury in the brain. That mercury excites certain brain cells that stay chronically activated trying to get rid of the intrusion.

"In some kids, there's enough of it that it sets off this chronic neuroinflammatory pattern that can lead to regressive autism," said attorney Mike Williams.

In the end, the families' attorneys hope to convince the special master hearing their case that thimerosal belongs on the list of causes for the inflammation that leads to regressive autism.

To win, the attorneys for the two boys, William Mead and Jordan King, will have to show that it's more likely than not that the vaccine actually caused the injury.

Many members of the medical community are skeptical of the families' claims. They worry that the claims about the dangers of vaccines could cause some people to forgo vaccines that prevent illness.

"I think that what's so endearing to me about the anti-vaccine people, is they're perfectly willing to go from one hypothesis to the next without a backward glance," said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Autism is a developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. Dr. Andrew Gerber, a psychiatrist, said that medical experts don't have a comprehensive understanding of what causes autism, but they do know there is a strong hereditary component.

Toxins from the environment could play a role, but currently, data does not support that they do, Gerber said.

Arguments are scheduled to go on throughout the month. A final decision could take several more months. Claims that are successful would result in compensation taking into account lost earnings after age 18 and up to $250,000 for pain and suffering.

The families or the federal government can also appeal the decision of the special master to the Court of Federal Claims or to a federal appeals court.

The court Web site says more than 12,500 claims have been filed since creation of the program in 1987, including more than 5,300 autism cases, and more than $1.7 billion has been paid in claims. It says there is now more than $2.7 billion in a trust fund supported by an excise tax on each dose of vaccine covered by the program.


On the Net:

Background on thimerosal trial:
© 2008 The Associated Press

Mercury Causes Brain Cell Damage

Mercury = Brain Damage = Slow Painful Death! How much clearer can it get?