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Should the FDA have authority over homeopathic drugs?
No Opinion 0
No 2
Yes 7
Total Votes: 9
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Posted: 26 April 2007 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]
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[size=18:f4e5a432c9][color=green:f4e5a432c9]Back to Homeopathy in disguise. I was watching a recorded show, CBS Katie Courick, last nite and there was an ad for some sort of ointment/cream to ease tired muscles and relieve pain at the end of a long day. It went on and on suggesting it was much better than the standard fare of bufferin, Tylenol, and a hot meal. I just happened to be looking up when in the middle of the bottom of the screen popped up one word "homeopathic"
Can you imagine what CBS was paid to advertise this beautifully packaged gob of nothing!!?
One senator has prevented our regulating these "drugs" for all the tiem he’s been in the senate. The FDA has no authority over homeopathic medicines. I am fairly certain its Harkins.
Jim[/color:f4e5a432c9][/size:f4e5a432c9]

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Posted: 26 April 2007 05:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Ugh. But then I don’t think prescription drugs should be advertised either. Use of them should be left up to competent medical professionals; it shouldn’t be forced by ad campaigns.

But ads for quack medicine are even worse. And it’s not all homeopathic, either. I’ve heard any number of recent radio ads for quackery that the FDA or FCC should be regulating but clearly isn’t.

rolleyes

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Posted: 26 April 2007 05:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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You’re preaching to the choir here! Medical advertisements are a terrible influence on healthcare even when they are for real therapies. And the lack of political will to regulate dietary supplements, some of which may be efficacious, some deleterious, and most placebos at best, is a disgrace and an abdication of the government responsibility for the public welfare.

One of the big pharmas recently came out with Slentrol, a diet drug for dogs!  rolleyes Before they had even informed us in the veterinary medical community about it, it was in the papers and on the web. We had 10 people asking for it the first week. And, as is not uncommon, the only reason it was approved and is being marketed as a veterinary drug is because the side effects (nausea, diarrhea, and flatulence) were unacceptable to people, so the company is trying to get some return on their investment but selling it to dog owners. Don’t get me wrong, obesity is a major cause of preventable disease in our pets as well as us. But we have absolute control over what our dogs eat most of the time (unless you have kids), so weight control is a simple matter of responsible pet care, and does not require a drug with marginal efficacy. But imagine how unmoved my clients are by such rational arguments, when the company has promised a quick painless pharmacological fix. And don’t even get me started on the crazy AM crap that gets advertised and which I cannot for the life of me convince many clients is useless due to all the usual thought errors we are all aware of (post hoc propter hoc and the validity of anecdote being the major problems).

Whew, can you tell I have an opinion here?! Sorry I got carried away.  :oops:

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Posted: 26 April 2007 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The poll (as they all are) is bias. It assumes that the FDA should be/is effective at doing much of anything.

I think science based consumer awareness is a great cure for snake oil. But I also think the fda is another bloated and inefficient, broad ranging, conflicted bureaucracy that probably on the whole does more harm than good.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 06:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Yes, in many many cases it is quack medicine, but people who take St. John’s Wart should also be aware that it is recommended for mild depression and should not be mixed with other psychotropic medications.  There are a slew of other homeopathic meds that can cause adverse affects or even be poison to the system, esp if taken inappropriately or with real medication.  St. John’s Wart I use as an example, because unlike Evening Primrose or Echinacea or even garlic, can be quite dangerous.  From what I’ve read, it can be far worse than too much vitamin D.  Too much vitamin C and it generally washes out of the system, but could also cause kidney stones.  It is no substitute for seeking help from a real doctor or psychiatrist.

While some homeopathic meds can be harmless, they should never be a substitute for proven medicine, others can be dangerous and we need the FDA to place more of a warning than just “the claims made about this product have not been scientifically proven”.

I had a friend who came down with cervical cancer, but had had a daughter already who was in her teens.  She never had her cervix removed and relied on homeopathic medicine for the most part.  It got worse, so she went to dr after dr eventually, while she took the homeopathic meds and tried to blame this dr and that dr for her condition worsening.  Finally she did chemo, but it was too late for her and she eventually died leaving a 17 y.o daughter behind.

Think what could have happened if she had gone through surgery early and followed dr’s orders (with or without the homeopathic meds).  If she took the homeopathic meds she would have to consult her dr which ones were safe to take while in treatment of course, but she MIGHT have survived the cervical cancer if she had not relied on homeopathic meds as a cure.  I truly blame her ignorance and her refusal of modern medicine on the outcome of her cancer.

From experience, I know what people can survive with modern medicine.  In the 70s my mother had Grave’s Disease. They killed most of her thyroid with radiation that she had to drink.  She now lives on thyroxine.  Five years ago, my mother had breast cancer, the only one known in my family. So, it was a shock even to my late grandmother, who died earlier this month at 94 years.  My mother had her breast chopped off and was later declared cancer free, with no need for chemo and she never once took homeopathic medicine, except a multivitamin.  She is now a cancer survivor.

So I know what modern medicine can do for people and I’ve seen what ignorance of homeopathic medicine does to people too.  While claims of Zinc, C, and echanicea supporting the immune system MIGHT true, it is no substitute for a flu vaccine or seeing your dr for a “chest cold”.  A chest cold could be Walking Pnuemonia and if left untreated could cause worse problems, even death.

My younger son, when he was 14, had “Walking Pnuemonia” and I (and the school) thought it was just a bad cold, even though he said, “I don’t feel good” yet was running around like other kids stopping to cough his head off.  When I saw it was not getting better, I took him to the dr, only to find out it was Pneumonia that had not got the young man down on his back with misery.  Think what would have happened if I had been so ignorant and/or nieve enough to say, “Here son, take some C and Zinc, along with a vaporizer with peppermint or eucolyptus. It will make you better.”  I could have been calling an ambulance because he was sufficating on the fluid in his lungs eventually.

So, yes, the FDA needs to have stricter and stronger labelling and warnings on homeopathic medicines, adding that they should not be a substitute for seeking treatment from a licensed physician. While peppermint or eucolyptus provides short term temporary relief, it is not a cure- not even for the common cold.

BTW, medical science is working on a vaccine or something or another for the common cold. It will be interesting to see what they come up with when there are so many strands of the cold virus. Doctors now have REAL medicine that shortens the duration of the common cold too, which I was told by my dr when I went in for a sinus infection.  She told me, even if my assumption that it was the common cold to begin with was correct, she could have given me medicine to shorten its duration.  :shock:  Live and learn.  At best, if my sinus infection had started out as a cold, the medicine could have prevented the forever lasting sinus headache that comes with a sinus infection.  Something to think about.  :?

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 26 April 2007 08:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Mriana,
remember that the word homeopathic translated means; “diluted so that the is no discernible molecule of the product the medicine is supposed to contain left in what is sold to the buyers.” Not a single solitary one!!
Jim

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Jimmie Keyes
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Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (MLK Jr.)

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Posted: 26 April 2007 08:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Chris,

Well, you won’t be shocked to find I strongly disagree. Obvioiusly we have bvery different attitudes about government in general. But we might agree that science literacy is abysmal (though I’m guessing you’d blame government schools, whcih is entirely different subject), that people who are ill or not in a great position to make measured, rational judgements about the risks/benefits of various treatments, and that private enterprise has a motive to inflate the benefits and hide the harms of their products. So assuming you don’t believe we can mend the FDA because it is a priori hopeles to make a government agency beneficial, how do we safeguard people from quackery and abuse?

You place a lot of faith inindividuals making informed decisions about their helth. But we’re awash in “lifestyle” diseases that we know how to prevent but don’t have the will to change our lifestyles. And I daily see desparate people ignore the facts even when they know them because they’d rather believe things are better than they are. So do we just let anybody sell anything and hope for the best?

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Posted: 26 April 2007 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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[quote author=“jimmiekeyes”]Mriana,
remember that the word homeopathic translated means; “diluted so that the is no discernible molecule of the product the medicine is supposed to contain left in what is sold to the buyers.” Not a single solitary one!!
Jim

Very true, but if my friend had been more open to that possibility, maybe she would have accepted modern medicine more or used homeopathy medicine in conjuction with her what her doctor did for her and on his advice after asking about it.  Of course, this would not mean she would have been as lucky as my mother, but at least there may have been a chance or at least she might have seen her daughter grow up and graduate college or something.

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Mriana
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Posted: 26 April 2007 01:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Geez the world is coming to the end.  I agree more with Chris than I do with Brennen.  There is too much political and lobbyist control of the FDA. 

I agree that TV advertising of medications, holistic, homeopathic, AND from recognized pharmaceutical companies should be banned. 

I think homeopathy is superstition and the unsubstantiated claims should be carefully controlled.  However, giving control to the FDA means that the sale of most of these would be banned, not because they are ineffective (which they probably are) but because they compete with the medical and pharmaceutical industries. 

The most recent effort by the FDA is to get control of these medications AND other supplements such as vitamins, minerals, and such things as brewers’ yeast, oat bran tablets, etc.  I don’t want the FDA requiring that I get a prescription for my vitamins, or limiting the potency to levels that would require that I take ten pills instead of one.  And, I don’t want them deciding on the recommended daily allowance based on tests of thirty year old males.  As a seventy-six year old male, my gut isn’t as efficient at absorbing so I like the idea of increasing the concentration of them in my intestines.  So, as dumb as I think homeopathy is, I voted no on the poll.

And I get tired of reading careful studies of needed levels of vitamins that the FDA catches up with about twenty years after publication.

Rant over - for now.

Occam

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Posted: 26 April 2007 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Occam,

Rocked me there, but I think I’ll recover! :wink: Still, my question for both of you is, what should we do instead. I agree the FDA is a mess, but I attribute this in large part to the evisceration of it by the republicans, motiveated by contributions from Big Pharma and other coporate sources. Even you, Occam ( :wink: ) might not be old enough to remember when people could concoct any snake oil they pleased and claim whatever they wanted for it, and there was no way to distinguish such crap from real medicine. I don’t see any alternative to the FDA, or something like it, and going back to those days, or worse.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 04:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Hmmmmmmm. In the near term:

1. Give no strings funding to the NAS for the study and determination of the health factor and efficacy of products sold: a. Health products b. Food stuffs. Of course as these are very different things one can assume different labs and universities will study them.

2. Hire Eric Schlosser to popularize the factual information.

3. Pay vast amounts of money to media to buy prime time/place publishing of clear simple scientific information about all products of concern.

4. If the industries want to place ads that’s fine, but make sure the media makes it conspicuously known that A. the government stuff is pure science no spin and B. the corporate stuff is paid advertisement. Also the government could place its adds of fact right after the ads for the products. So McD’s has a fries add and the Government runs one on the health effects of French fries. The Government is of course the only thing that can rival the marketing budget of either McD’s or Big Pharma.

ETA: Any claim of fact (fries are good for you) must be supported by empirical tests. If not fraud charges are leveled at the advertiser. Opinions (Fries are tasty) can not be couched as claims of fact.

5. Make everything legal. Everyone should have a right to their own body, that right should including putting whatever they want into that body. (this is also my stance on Sexuality Rights, Recreational Drugs, and Suicide).

I suggest (but can in no way prove) that the costs will be lower and the positive results higher.

Radical enough for you?

Ideally in the long term this sort of work can be done by private citizen groups rather than bureaucratic governments.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 04:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I’m not sure making everything legal is a good idea.  Granted people kill people, not guns, but if we made guns legal with no restrictions, we could have more problems, esp for those who would not even dream of owning one.

If we make everything legal, then this means the religious reich would have the right to stand in front of business and preach hellfire and damnation, thus driving away patrons for the business they are soliciting their religion in front of and therefore the business would lose profits.

Terrorist could terrorize anyone they wanted to terrorize and blow up any place they wanted to blow up in the name of their god.

Murder would be legal so the spouse abuser or abusee gets off scot free for killing their spouse. Or the drug addict drug store robber gets away with robbing and killing the drug store owner so s/he can have his/her drugs.  The unemployed father who wants to celebrate Christmas and give his child that all wonderful present, so he knocks over a convient store- why not, it’s legal.

Humm…  Legalize everything.  Doesn’t sound so good to me.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Chris,

Sounds like mostly good ideas, though I doubt you’d convince the pols to fund a lot of that, especially given the well-financed opposition from corporate interests. And, I have have mixed feelings on legalization of recreational drugs. Marijuana is pretty harmless stuff, and it’s a waste of time and money to be trying to restrict the supply of that. I would think you might agree, though, that heroin, for example, is a different animal. Something that can easily and quickly destroy one’s ability to make rational choices seems worth spending some time and energy to reduce the availability of and to stigmatize, though of course no such sanctions can ever completely eliminate the supply or the use. Of course, alcohol is much the same, and banning that didn’t work. I agree on physician assisted suicide, though that may not be what you meant exactly. Making other forms of suicide illegal is purely symbolic, since you can’t prosecute those who violate the law, and you shouldn’t prosecute those who try, but rather get them mental health services. I wouldn’t necessarily encourage it, though. And, though I’m not sure if you would include guns, I would most certainly not. That is a case where I think the empirical evidence is overwhelming that strict controls reduces supply and the consequent damage done. People will always kill other people, but the more effective the tools available the more damage can be done. Sure, the Yakuza can gun down a politician in Japan even with strict gun laws, but not so many teenagers manage to act out their psychotic fantasies on their classmates there as here.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 05:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Oh, and who’s Eric Schlosser?

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Posted: 26 April 2007 05:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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[quote author=“Mriana”]I’m not sure making everything legal is a good idea.
<snip>
Humm…  Legalize everything.  Doesn’t sound so good to me.

Mriana, clearly I was speaking to the topic: Drugs and the purview of the FDA. I do have opinions on the off topic matters raised in your post, some I have addressed in other topics and all I will be glad to discuss if those topics arise in future.

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Posted: 26 April 2007 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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[quote author=“mckenzievmd”]Oh, and who’s Eric Schlosser?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Schlosser

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