Third Party & Independents Archives

Walmart and Prescription Drugs

In general, I’m not a fan of Walmart’s business model - but I do appreciate their efforts to improve their image. While their new pilot program focusing on generic prescriptions may be small in scope (for now), I think it’s very interesting.

The Medicare prescription drug program signed in December 2003 had many flaws in my opinion, the #1 problem being the provision that it is illegal for this new Medicare expansion program to negotiate volume pricing. I don't want to hear people lobbying to allow purchases from Canada - I want our programs to be allowed to negotiate their own deals.
Walmart's announcement - to provide a select list of generic drugs at the price of $4 for a 30 day prescription - does not reflect a negotiation with the pharmaceutical industry. It addresses their own profit margin, and that of other drug distributors. From ABC News:

In a conference call with reporters, Simon said that the generic drugs would not be sold at a loss to entice customers into the stores, a strategy that has been used in Wal-Mart's toy business.
He said Wal-Mart is working with drugmakers to help them be more efficient, but added, "We are working with them as partners. We are not pressuring them to reduce prices."

My problem with the Walmart business model is based around the squeezing of our industries that produce consumer products - like clothing and toys - and the movement from the proud "Made in America" policy that I remember from when they first started to the "lowest price offshoring" that we have now. I don't like what this attack on manufacturing has done to some of our communities and I honestly think Sam Walton is turning in his grave.
At the same time, I'm disappointed that they don't intend to extend this policy to the pharmaceutical industry.
Some may think it's hypocritical to differentiate between industries, but I don't think it is. Some industries, like oil and pharmaceuticals, rely heavily on public money and other giveaways. Yet they also have very high profits. Why should we put up with this?
I think our government missed their opportunity to address excess. Maybe as Walmart expands their program in the future, they'll do it for us instead.

Christine

Posted by Christine at October 1, 2006 4:38 PM
Comments
Comment #185610

Are you sure Wal-Mart ain’t buying the drugs from Canada? Or some other country that doesn’t have the same standards the the US and Canada have?
They’ve gone off shore on just about everything else. What’s to keep them from doing it with prescription drugs?

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 1, 2006 9:12 PM
Comment #185644

Another problem with Wal-Mart is constantly breaking the law by hiring illegal aliens.

That’s just a few of many cases over the years.

The fines are miniscule for a multibillion dollar company, so Wal-Mart keeps right on breaking the law.

Are profits so bad that Wal-Mart has to hire illegal aliens (an under-paid, under-class to exploit)?

Posted by: d.a.n at October 2, 2006 1:22 AM
Comment #185662

One issue that never (or rarely) gets mentioned when prescription drugs are being discussed is the simple fact that these products are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

According to a study done by the American Medical Association, over 100,000 people die every single year in this country from adverse reactions to prescription drugs. Millions are seriously maimed or injured, many of them permanently. These numbers only refer to instances when the drugs were used properly; when the number of adverse reactions due to prescription or dosage error is included, the numbers climb even higher.

Would any other industry even be allowed to continue operations with this kind of record? Would Hewlett Packard still be in business if their computers randomly exploded and killed over 100,000 people a year? Would we be attempting to make it easier for people to acquire the products which were responsible and would our government be heavily subsidizing these corporations?

In December of 2004, at the age of 23, I was prescribed an antibiotic for a routine pulmonary infection. As a result of 20 days of this drug, I have been afflicted with severe tendon and muscle damage throughout my body, leaving me nearly unable to walk and with limited use of arms. A myriad of other side effects plague me as well to this day, nearly two years later, including severe fatigue, depersonalization, nerve damage, dryness syndromes, memory loss, generalized anxiety, intolerance to heat/cold…I could really go and on here. My life was irrevocably destroyed and I am in horrible, nightmarish pain all day long every day, which in the end amounts to nothing short of physical and psychological torture; all simply because the FDA has abandoned the American people and because some of these corporations care more for profit than for the lives of their customers.

There are hundreds of thousands of other victims of the class of drugs which did to this me, many of whom do not even know the cause of their injuries because side-effects from these drugs can appear months after treatment has been discontinued and doctors are not being properly educated as to the risks involved. Their stories would shock even the hardest of hearts, but no one is listening, and so more people will be injured today, tomorrow and the next; soon, they will begin prescribing the drug that did this to me to babies as young as six months old. No one will stand up for them either.

This is just one specific class of drugs I speak of; I could continue on to Statins, anti-malarials, synthetic hormones like diesthylstilbestrol and countless other types of drugs as well. I could go on to the “clinical trials” being perpetrated on the unsuspecting populaces of third world nations, but I don’t want to bore anyone by going on forever in one post.

The American people should be standing up for safety and the cessation of this travesty, not for cheaper access to the end of their own lives. Since when it is okay to maim, torture, poison and kill millions of human beings for profit?

Posted by: Liberal Demon at October 2, 2006 8:17 AM
Comment #185664

My only problem with WalMart has been their willingness to violate private property through eminent domain abuse. Other than that, who can complain aside from irrational economics and class envy.

No matter how much one dislikes walMarts labor and pricing strategy, the key point here is that they don’y violate any inalienable rights. If you dont like WalMart, dont shop there and dont work there. That simple.

When I hear the phrase “squeezing industries”, I hear a knee-jerk reaction to blame WalMart…but lets think about this.

WalMart has an obligation to be profitable. When profitable, they can continue to provide those low prices which generally benefit the lower classes…they can continue to hire workers and provide benefits…they can continue to provide appreciation for the stockholders. (Many of which are average Americans with 401K, pensions, etc)

WalMart’s tendency to seek the “Made Anywhere but America” label isnt some insidious ploy to undermine the American economy…its a REFLECTION of the state of an economy already UNDERMINED BY GOVERNMENT.
High taxes at corporate and individual level…
The SS, unemployment, disability and worker’s comp burden placed on employers…
Excessive regulation…
Wage laws…
Inflation…
Not to mention the artificial cost of those products WalMart seeks to buy and resell.

When nationalistic prejudice is taken out of the picture, obviously the workers in China need to feed their families too. WalMart’s huge wholesale purchasing is what provides the growth and opportunity for them.
Is an American worker inherently more deserving?

These are the consequences Frederic Bastiat alludes to in the “Broken Window” story…the things seen vs. the things unseen.

America’s appetite for government to provide them with things they didnt earn comes at a price. Decades of welth confiscation and redistribution usually comes at the expense of the productive class first….and this coercive plundering of productivity eventually trickles down to F-ck average Americans in the end.

I dont blame WalMart…I’d do the same thing.
In fact, they’re just doing what we do when we shop there…looking for low prices so we can retain more of what we earned.

Furthermore, many lament the ‘outsourcing of manufacturing’ without considering the blessings of it.
#1-Some worker, somewhere is thankful to have a job and income previously unavailable.
#2-Gone are the days where most Americans have to labor intensively for long hours…we have passed that stage of macro-economic development. While decrying the loss of manufacturing, some seem oblivious to the rapid increase of jobs in technology, finance and service related fields…all of which are less dangerous forms of labor.

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at October 2, 2006 8:22 AM
Comment #185702

It’s just another feather in the cap of an already economically innovative company like Wal-Mart to start selling generic prescription drugs at a discount. It’s good of them to do this, even if the actual motivations are less than pure…

As for prescription drugs, the case is often misrepresented in the US. We do pay exorbitant rates for drugs, it’s true; but the US is also the center of innovation and R&D in that field.

Thanks to patent laws, companies in the US have the exclusive right to distribute a drug for 20 years from the granting of the patent. This may be excessive, but it also is an incentive for the companies to do much of the research that brings about the development and discovery of new drugs. Without these provisions, what sort of pharmaceutical progress would be made?

I don’t mean to defend the ridiculous prices of drugs in the US, but the incentive of profits provides innovation that can benefit all of us.

As for Wal-Mart, I’m more worried about how they treat their employees and how their army of service employees is perpetuating the service under-class in America.

Wal-Mart, the nation’s (and probably the world’s) largest single private employer pays exactly what it can get away with paying: the bare minimum. Not necessarily the Federal minimum wage, but a wage just small enough that each regular worker can barely survive, if they can survive at all. They fail in most cases to provide adequate benefits for retirement or health care, and because of their low wages most Wal-Mart employees can’t afford to shop anywhere but the stores they work for. Add to that the anti-union sentiment of the Wal-Mart administration (Wal-Mart has either threatened to close or closed stores to prevent unionization of workers) and you have an employer who cares about nothing but the bottom line.

The problem is, it’s impossible to effectively boycott stores like Wal-Mart. Everybody wants to make their dollar stretch as far as it can in the US today, that’s why Wal-Mart gets all of its business. Every other retailer costs more, in part because of the company’s less-than-desirable business practices and in part because of the corners they cut on their biggest expense: personnel. Add this to the constant demand of poor and lower-middle classes that need to buy products inexpensively and Wal-Mart won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

New minimum wage laws aren’t the answer, effective and pragmatic unionization is, but that’s a discussion for another day…

Posted by: LXIX at October 2, 2006 11:56 AM
Comment #185704

To all,

They stole the idea from KMart.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at October 2, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #185713

Christine, problem is that there is no big name items made in the US anymore. Even automobiles are not 100% made in the us. Walmarts has opened it’s eyes and seen that it is a world market, not just the selling but the buying and moved into it before others did. Look at Kmarts/Sears how much is made in the us if you don’t shop at Wally World.

d.a.n, yes you are right about Wal-marts hiring illegals, but they aren’t the only ones for sure. How many of the Congress people in the beltway have garderners/cook/house keepers that are illegals. I am all for the 700mile fence and maybe make the whole southern border that way.

Instead of Wal-marts maybe we need to take a look at the oil companies and ask why last year the price of gas was $3.00 or there about and they made $435 billion dollars in profit, and what is the difference between now and then. You know they are still making a profit or the prices would still be high.

Posted by: KT at October 2, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #185718

“You know they are still making a profit or the prices would still be high.”

KT,

Do you expect them to take losses, especially in a market like gasoline where demand is so inelastic? Oil companies employ thousands of workers worldwide; it’s impractical to expect them to run at a loss just to keep America driving.

Yes, the oil companies are making a HEALTHY profit, but as far as anyone has found, they’re not making a larger proportional profit than they were before the price of oil drastically went up.

If you seriously want reduced energy costs, invest in more infrastructure (refineries, etc), create effective public transportation, curb and control urban sprawl, research energy alternatives, on and on and on and on…

Stop villainizing people for making money. Oil companies (and even Wal-Mart) aren’t charities.

Posted by: LXIX at October 2, 2006 1:13 PM
Comment #185719

Yes, Wal-Mart is also guilty of trying to abuse eminent domain laws to acquire property:
(1) Massena, NY
(2) Wal-Mart, Denver, CO.
(3) Hercules (suburb of San Francisco), CA.

That’s just a few of many instances.

Free Markets are good, but breaking the law is NOT OK, and that includes:

  • eminent domain abuses

  • hiring illegal aliens

To argue that hiring illegal aliens does not violate any inalienable rights is lame. There are valid and fair reasons why nations have sovereign rights to control immigration. Otherwise, illegal aliens will always descend in massive numbers onto any community that is prosperous, and before long, that community is ruined, and that is especially true when illegal aliens use (steal) benefits and services. Isn’t theft a violation of one’s inalienable rights? Don’t Americans have a right to expect government to enforce existing laws? Look at the many forms of theft. Look at the large number of over-run hospitals closing in California. The burdens on law and enforcement are staggering. 29%K of all prisoners in State and Federal prisons are illegal aliens, and they are not in jail for one mere instance of illegal immigration (which is a misdemeanor). And estimated 32% to 46% of illegal aliens receive welfare. Schools are severely burdened. The U.S. citizens are NOT really benefiting from illegal immigration. The U.S. citizens are actually losing $70 billion per year in net losses, and that does not even include the untold cost of crime, disease, and 2.3 million displaced American workers.

It’s just another simple example of corpocrisy, corporatism, and FOR-SALE government that refuses to enforce existing laws against:
(1) eminent domain abuse
(2) and illegal immigration

Politicians, local, state, and federal know that can ignore voters, because voters, mostly, keep right on re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians, regardless of what they do.

Once again, the real problem is ALL of us.
Irresponsible, corrupt, bought-and-paid-for government is a result of negligent voters.

Only the voters can change it now, or allow things to get worse (and they will).

Voters, if they want, can easily implement instant TERM-LIMITS. Hoping that politicians will pass such a law is folly. Don’t hold your breath. Especially when irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians always vastly out-number newcomers to Congress (thanks again to voters).

Nothing will change until voters finally realize that there is a connection between 90% re-election rates and the nations’ problems, growing in number and severity.

There are two classes in this country.

  • One class derives concentrated power from its concentrated wealth.

  • The other class has power only in numbers, and that power is largely ineffective due to their apathy, complacency, ignorance, lazimness, and general inability to mobilize through organization (such as merely not re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians).

That’s not class warfare.
That’s not racism.

Those are clever ways to discourage your opposition (just shut up and like it, and ignore the fact that you are being used and abused).

Laws exist, like those to prevent (1)eminent domain abuse and (2)illegal immigration, but look carefully at who it is that ignores those laws. Look to see who it benefits most by ignoring those laws. It is not the majority of Americans. Americans are NOT benefiting from illegal immigration or eminent domain abuse. The profits are NOT going to Americans. If they were, why have Americans median household incomes been falling for the last six years (since 1999)? Why are foreclosures rising for over a year? Why is inflation rising? Why are corporations experiencing record profits? Don’t fall for the class-warfare argument. That’s a red-herring. The issue is that government is failing to enforce existing laws because government is FOR SALE to a very few with vast wealth and power.

Think about this … 83% of ALL federal campaign donations (of $200 or larger) come from a only mere 0.1% of the total U.S. population. That’s right. One-tenth of one percent. That’s is one thousandth of the total U.S. population.

That means that a mere 300,000 of the total 300,000,000 people in the U.S. made 83% of all federal campaign donations. So, how much impact do you think your tiny $20, $50, $100 donation had? What chance does the remaining 99.9% of the U.S. population have against that much money from less than one-tenth of one percent of the U.S. population that abuse vast wealth and power. The majority of Americans are under the delusion that they can influence government with their measely monetary donations. Little do they know that they are vastly out-spent. 90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money.

  • No wonder Congress is FOR SALE.

  • No wonder Congress is bought-and-paid-for.

  • No wonder Congress carries the water for their big-money donors.

  • No wonder Congress ignores the majority of voters and polls.

  • No wonder Congress ignores the existing laws.

  • No wonder Congress is above the law; even if ever indicted or convicted, then can get a pardon; they are above the law.

  • No wonder Congress has such disdain for most voters.

  • No wonder Congress and politicians promise one thing, and do another (“read my lips”)

  • No wonder Congress is so brazen to vote themselves raises and cu$hy perks, and vote on pork-barrel, corporate welfare, graft, and waste (at the very same instant that our U.S. troops are risking life and limb), not to mention ignoring the other many pressing problems facing the nation. They are gettin’ theirs’ and their own opportunities for self-gain and making their cu$hy incumbency more secure is all they care about.

  • No wonder Congress fuels the distracting, petty partisan warfare; too many voters fall for it.

  • No wonder Congress ignores the nations pressing problems, decade after decade; they actually avoid making tough decisions, and prefer to pass them onto future generations.

No wonder Congress is corrupt and irresponsible … because WE, the voters:

  • keep re-electing irresponsible incumbents

  • keep wallowing in the petty partisan warfare,

  • keep falling for the fear tactics (e.g. taxes, terror, Social Security, etc.)

  • keep being bribed with the voters’ own money

  • and keep ignorantly wondering afteward “What the hell happened?” when it’s our very own fault.

This nation has made a couple of important advances.
It is 2 steps forward, and 1.999 steps backward.
Most people in this nation, with the 1st Amendment, finally understand the importance of freedom of speech and religion.
The next important goal in the evolution will be to learn how to stop the vastly wealthy from controlling government.
Government that is FOR-SALE is rotten to the core.
There’s no mystery why greedy incumbent politicians resist limits on campaign donations and gifts. Look at their voting records at OnTheIssues.org and see how most incumbent politicians vote against badly-needed, common-sense, campaign finance reforms.

Unfortunately, incumbents will NOT pass any such laws voluntarily, and newcomers to Congress are always out-numbered.

Only the voters can change it now.
The sooner the better.
Delaying is only creating more and worse pain for voters, themselves, later.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 2, 2006 1:23 PM
Comment #185722
d.a.n, yes you are right about Wal-marts hiring illegals, but they aren’t the only ones for sure. How many of the Congress people in the beltway have garderners/cook/house keepers that are illegals. I am all for the 700 mile fence and maybe make the whole southern border that way.

Yes, and those violators should be prosecuted, whoever they are. The laws should be enforced. But FOR-SALE government, in-league with corporations and business, are more concerned with their profits. Not the impacts on the nation. Corpocrisy, corporatism, and FOR-SALE, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians blatantly choose to ignore the law.

Note, the point is not to demonize illegal aliens that are merely looking for work. No one can blame ‘em much for that. But, that’s not the whole truth. And, the point is not to eliminate immigration.

The point is that laws are being directly ignored by a small percentage that want cheap labor, because they benefit the most from exploiting an under-paid, under-class, while shifting many costs and burdens onto U.S. citizens.

About half of illegal aliens pay no income taxes. That is an unfair advantage. That is not fair to 2.3 displaced American workers. The fact is, irresponsible incubment politicians have created a nasty situation which pits U.S. citizens and illegal aliens against each other. That was a very irresponsible thing to do, and allow to fester for decades. Government looked the other way, because it is bought-and-paid-for. To hell with the burdens being placed upon U.S. citizens, because voters will re-elect them, regardless.

Controlled immigration is OK.
But massive, uncontrolled immigraiton is not OK.
It hurts more than it helps.
It creates societal disorder.
It profits the greedy the most.
Look at the problems of massive illegal immigration in Los Angeles,CA., Laredo,TX., Tusco,AZ., Phoenix,AZ., etc., etc., etc., and a massive number of cities reporting increased burdens on schools, hospitals, healthcare, CDC, prisons, law enforcement, prisons and jails, welfare, Medicaid, border patrol, healthcare, and voting systems (i.e. voter fraud … another serious issue with close elections).

Ignoring illegal immigration is a form of theft upon average U.S. citizens by a few that benefit from the exploitation of illegal aliens. Sure, illegal aliens are not the ones complaining much, because they can’t get jobs that pay that much elsewhere. Just because it helps an illegal alien is not valid justification. All the myriad of excuses are not sufficient justification.

Also, just because many others break the law (even some in Congress … Wow, imagine that?), it doesn’t justify illegal immigration either. The reasons are many, but none justify allowing some to violate the law. The exploitation of cheap-labor is one thing, but corpocrisy and corporatism are also shifting costs and burdens onto U.S. citizens. That is what Wal-mart does regularly, and miniscule fines don’t mean a thing to Wal-Mart. Most Americans are figuring it out, and most want it resolved ASAP. But politicians still ignore voters, or appease them with insincere efforts, allowing the problem to grow worse and worse.

Instead of Wal-marts maybe we need to take a look at the oil companies and ask why last year the price of gas was $3.00 or there about and they made $435 billion dollars in profit, and what is the difference between now and then. You know they are still making a profit or the prices would still be high.
There’s something very curious about that. However, I’ve heard that gasoline prices have fallen in many places around the world, and an investigation turned up no evidence of price fixing (not yet anyway). Besides, I’m not for telling Oil companies and gasoline retailers how much they can charge for their product. In my opinion, they can set the price as they like. If they charge too much, people won’t buy their product, or competitors will under-sell them. So, meddling with the free market is not wise. Price fixing and collusion is a different matter, and violates anti-trust (anti-competitive) laws. Posted by: d.a.n at October 2, 2006 2:09 PM
Comment #185726

Dan:

The government needs to stop subsidizing the oil industry, then see how the free market works. It’s not a free market if they are subsidized.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 2, 2006 3:12 PM
Comment #185730

womenmarine,
Agreed, 1000%.
Government is FOR-SALE.
83% of all federal campaign donations ($200 or more) come from one-thousandth (0.1%) of the U.S. population.
90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money.
Incumbents have voted themselves numerous unfair advantages.
What’s that tell you?
Unfortunately, what government needs and what the nation needs is all irrelevant, as long as voters keep re-electing them, because it’s now up to the voters, because incumbents will never pass reforms, and newcomers are always out-numbered by irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbents.

Voting out incumbents may not solve everything, but re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians will make things worse.

Unfortunately, incumbent politicians have a very effect weapon:

Unfortunately, far too many voters aren’t yet feeling enough pain and misery of their negligence and blind party loyalty. Voters had better starting paying close attention, before voters lose their right to vote, or an accurate vote-count. If that happens, there will be NO peaceful way left in which to reform government.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 2, 2006 3:35 PM
Comment #185750

D.a.n., there are pretty serious problems with the stories you link to show that Walmart is “breaking the law.” In fact, not one of those six links says quite what you say it does.

Of the three eminent domain articles you use, one, the Hercules case, is about a community that used emininent domain to keep Walmart OUT. This is the exact opposite of an attempt to use emininent domain by Walmart—much less an attempt to use it “illegally.”

Both of the other two eminent domain cases you cite (despite the slant the one which is a blog gives it) are about cities and county officials unsucessfuly trying to use eminent doman to secure property and LURE Walmart into their communities. Whatever we might think of this (and I don’t like it either), I don’t see how anyone could say or even suggest that Walmart did anything illegal based on the unsuccesful efforts of local governments to attract them.

Of the three instances of the hiring of illegal aliens, the first two of your links are actually about the same story. But that story, and the third one as well, are actually instances of contractors who work with Walmart hiring illegals. None of those people were actually hired by Walmart itself.

Now, I agree that Walmart, like other companies, could and should do more to check out the status of employees of other companies they do business with, but this is a far cry from suggesting that Walmart itself in involved in the widespread habit hiring illegals. In fact, by that standard, the US government itself is in the widespread habit of using illegal labor, along with anybody else who uses and employs construction, landscaping, or janitorial firms—all industries which are rife with the illegal practices of hiring cheap immigrant labor. I don’t say this isn’t a problem, but it’s extremely unfair to single out Walmart in this regard and suggest that they should be the ones responsible for cleaning up other industries—something our own government has utterly failed to do.

Posted by: Pilsner at October 2, 2006 6:29 PM
Comment #185793

This Walmart generic drug program has the potential of really exposing left-wing thinking about business and economics, which is why I’m glad Christine brought it up.

Just imagine: Walmart, a giant retailer and the bogeyman of much of the left, does what the government never could and manages to harnass market forces to bring cheap, affordable drugs to the masses.

Posted by: Pilsner at October 2, 2006 9:16 PM
Comment #185804
Matt Goldseth wrote: I havent seen a single, legitimate complaint against Wal-Mart that couldn’t be dispelled with a rudimentary education in basic economics.
Pilsner wrote: … it’s extremely unfair to single out Walmart …

Surely you two don’t condone this …
Walmart’s Miami warehouse.

If you do, then there is something seriously wrong with you.

Pilsner wrote: D.a.n., there are pretty serious problems with the stories you link to show that Walmart is “breaking the law.” In fact, not one of those six links says quite what you say it does.
By hiring illegal aliens, Wal-Mart is breaking the law, and that is why they were fined (repeatedly).
Pilsner wrote: Of the three eminent domain articles you use, one, the Hercules case, is about a community that used emininent domain to keep Walmart OUT. This is the exact opposite of an attempt to use emininent domain by Walmart—much less an attempt to use it “illegally.”
All three articles describe Wal-Mart’s activities quite well. Walmart has tried to muscle its way in, use scare tactics, and bully people around, and people don’t like it, which is why they are fighting Wal-Mart. Walmart is NOT just being picked on unfairly. In some cases, Wal-Mart was unsuccessful in acquiring the land, because the people refused to let Wal-Mart abuse the eminent domain laws.
Pilsner wrote: Both of the other two eminent domain cases you cite (despite the slant the one which is a blog gives it) are about cities and county officials unsucessfuly trying to use eminent doman to secure property and LURE Walmart into their communities. Whatever we might think of this (and I don’t like it either), I don’t see how anyone could say or even suggest that Walmart did anything illegal based on the unsuccesful efforts of local governments to attract them.
Wal-Mart did not get its bad reputation by chance. Just because governments are trying to attract them does not make it OK for Wal-mart to abuse the laws … Wal-mart has tried, and failed because people don’t like it. Besides, if even one person does not want to sell their property for Wal-mart to use, then they should NOT be forced to. That’s what some local governments have done, and that is why the article about Massena, NY, the author writes:
  • WalMart is one of the worst offenders of corporations using the eminent domain statute to take land from homeowners to put together properties for their supercenters. They dangle the potential tax revenue to the locality, and they jump through hoops for WalMart.
  • Now I am not one the of the masses that hate WalMart. I think they are an amazing company and have done some great things for the country. But when it comes to eminent domain abuses, they are amongst the worst. In Massena, New York they were repelled by a strong and smart opposition. The changing times will hurt WalMart in its attempts to have local governments put together land for them. They will have to pay the homeowners fair market, or even above fair market, to acquire their properties.
Pilsner wrote: Of the three instances of the hiring of illegal aliens, the first two of your links are actually about the same story.
So? So the corroborate each other. Still, they cite cases of Wal-mart hiring illegal aliens. The last paragraph states:
  • In 2003, a raid of 60 Wal-Mart stores in 21 states led to the arrests of 245 illegal workers. An affidavit claimed a pair of senior Wal-Mart executives KNEW cleaning contractors were hiring illegal immigrants. The retailer agreed to pay $11 million in March to settle the case but denied senior executives knew of the hirings.

Did you see that. Wal-mart executives KNEW. I find it very curious when people want to defend Wal-mart despite the facts. Wal-mart KNOWS, and Wal-mart employees know. It’s not a innocent crime. An estimated 2.3 million American workers are displaced. That cheap labor is really cheap when you add up all the burdens.

Pilsner wrote: But that story, and the third one as well, are actually instances of contractors who work with Walmart hiring illegals. None of those people were actually hired by Walmart itself.
That excuse doesn’t cut it. Wal-mart knows they are hiring illegal aliens, and it is highly unlikely Wal-mart would pay a record $11,000,000 fine to settle charges that Wal-mart used hundreds of illegal aliens to clean its stores throughout the United States for five years (from 1998 to 2003). In addition, 12 contractors that provided the illegal workers will pay $4 million in fines too. Good. They should BOTH be fined.
Pilsner wrote: Now, I agree that Walmart, like other companies, could and should do more to check out the status of employees of other companies they do business with,
Yes, they should.
Pilsner wrote: … but this is a far cry from suggesting that Walmart itself in involved in the widespread habit hiring illegals.
It was, which is why it was fined a record $11,000,000. They knew what they were doing, or they would not have paid that $11,000,000.
Pilsner wrote: … the US government itself is in the widespread habit of using illegal labor,
Your right. I can’t argue with that. In fact, the White House hired an illegal alien to work in the White House (during both the Clintons/Gore term and the Bush/Cheney term): True, it’s ridiculous. Shown (above) at the left is Salvador Martinez-Gonzalez with Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynn. (A similar photo of Martinez-Gonzalez with President Clinton also exists.) Martinez-Gonzolez worked for a company that sets up outdoor social functions at the White House. Everyone who comes into close contact with the President in the White House is supposed to be checked over by the Secret Service.
Pilsner wrote: I don’t say this isn’t a problem, but it’s extremely unfair to single out Walmart …
Poor, poor Wal-mart. NOT! They broke the law. And they continue to do it. In May 2006, Walmart was hit with more charges of using child labor in Walmart’s Miami warehouse.
  • Walmart the world’s largest retail chain has been hit with a slew of child labor charges after federal agents raided their Miami location and found 16 children huddled on the floor of the storeroom lying in their own excrement. “This is the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen. But with Walmart, I know it’s gonna get worse” said Ed Hagle of the FBI whose weighing whether or not to press charges since he loves their prices. … Alex and Agnes La Costa believe that Walmart’s officials should be “drawn and quartered” for what they did to their son Miquel, who was kidnapped by local coyotes and forced to do a commercial.
Pilsner wrote: … but it’s extremely unfair to single out Walmart in this regard and suggest that they should be the ones responsible for cleaning up other industries—something our own government has utterly failed to do.
No one said Walmart is responsible for other industries. Walmart only needs to clean up their own act. They are not as uninformed as they want others to believe. They play clever games to reduce their risk, but they know what they are doing, and their reputation is well deserved.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at October 2, 2006 9:42 PM
    Comment #185806

    Walmart knows how to grease the way for their illegal and/or unethical activities (like a lot of other corporations). Just buy off some politicians. What’s new? To be fair, this is not just an issue with Walmart, but with many corporations. They are essentially buying influence in this era of corpocrisy, corporatism, and corporate welfare.

    … more …

    … more …

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 2, 2006 9:55 PM
    Comment #185808

    Im not a fan of walmarts but that miami article about walmart just doesnt ring true, has anybody read it?

    Posted by: j2t2 at October 2, 2006 10:12 PM
    Comment #185809

    Im not a fan of walmarts but that miami article about walmart just doesnt ring true, has anybody read it?

    Posted by: j2t2 at October 2, 2006 10:13 PM
    Comment #185810

    Is it just me or does the following sound as if someone is spoofing? …”peice of bacon only to have his finger chewed off” …”whose weighing whether or not to press charges since he loves their prices”

    Posted by: j2t2 at October 2, 2006 10:22 PM
    Comment #185811

    Dan, are you freaking kidding?

    Did you even READ that link to “More Slave Labor at Wal-mart” before you trotted it out as more evidence against Walmart?

    Here are some select quotes from this last piece of “evidence.”

    “This is the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen. But with Walmart, I know it’s gonna get worse” said Ed Hagle of the FBI whose weighing whether or not to press charges since he loves their prices.”

    And

    “They even used hot branding irons on the kiddies’ foreheads to display their wonderful prices”

    And

    “The children were told their parents would be killed if they didn’t meet their stock quota. A few were sexually assaulted by a female hostess who called herself “Ms. Dracula”.

    Honestly, your argument MUST be a joke, otherwise it could not possibly be so incompetently made.

    Since you clearly did not read your other articles either and still insist they say things that anybody who can read English can see they don’t, I assume you are trying to be funny and create a parody of those who attack Walmart.

    Posted by: Pilsner at October 2, 2006 10:23 PM
    Comment #185824

    j2t2,

    Yeah, that one does look fishy. My bad. : )

    Still, that doesn’t diminish the rest … do these look fake ?
    … more …
    … more …
    … more …

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 3, 2006 12:04 AM
    Comment #185853

    I know that I am probably just beating a dead horse here, but I truly feel morally obligated, given what’s happened to me and my subsequent research into this area, to share this type of information whenever and wherever I can. Besides, no one else is talking about this in the media (look at who the advertisers are) or elsewhere.

    I would like to give some perspective to the numbers I mentioned in my last post. Given that there are over 100,000 deaths every year in this country due to prescription drugs, this means that slightly more than 80,000 people have died so far in 2006 alone. If the number of injuries from prescription or dosage errors is included, those numbers almost double. Between today and this date in 2016, one million people will die if this issue is not sufficiently addressed. This isn’t a “what if,” or a “possible” scenario, this is guaranteed to happen and has already happened many times over during the last few decades.

    Thus, given that there will be approximately 300 million people in America shortly, this means that all of us, you included, will have a 1 in 300 chance of dying from a properly administered prescription drug if you live another ten years. Granted, the population will rise as well, but given that a higher population will result in more prescriptions and therefore more deaths, I think it is relatively safe to assume a wash here in terms of percentages.

    This doesn’t include serious adverse reactions which result in hospitalization or permanent disability, which is estimated to be around 2 million a year. Again, from now until 2016, the number of people seriously injured will be approximately 20 million (I would argue that the number is actually higher, but I don’t really want to go into the raw numbers of total prescriptions and estimates of injury by specific drug classes right now). That gives the average American who is alive today a 1 in 15 chance of being seriously injured over the next ten years.

    This also doesn’t include the additional 100-200 thousand preventable deaths which are caused by hospital errors, again every single year in America. I don’t even know the number of injuries from this specific cause.

    These numbers, when added together, are greater than the number of car accident, homicide, AIDS, terrorist and shark attack victims (gotta include that last one, the media seems really worried about it) combined yearly in the United States.

    Next time you go shopping at the mall, look around; nearly 1 in 150 of those people will be dead from prescription drugs by 2016; odds are that someone you know will be seriously and possibly permanently injured. If hospital errors are included in these odds, then there is a greater than 1 in 100 chance of death, and I would consider it a safe bet that at least one of your loved ones will be grievously injured by 2016.

    3 million dead, tens of millions injured over the next ten years, most of them preventable; our medical system is turning us into walking chemical-filled time-bombs, and no one is talking about this.

    Posted by: Liberal Demon at October 3, 2006 6:23 AM
    Comment #185854

    The elephant in the room is stampeding!

    Posted by: Liberal Demon at October 3, 2006 6:57 AM
    Comment #185865

    Liberal Demon,

    I was once in a hospital and a nurse tried to give me three medications meant for another patient. Unfortunately, in this era, little gets in the way of corporate profits.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 3, 2006 9:23 AM
    Comment #185901

    d.a.n.

    The three other links you provided all came from the same source. I’m not here to defend Wal-Mart or denigrate them, but your sources are suspect at best. The Miami warehouse site was the worst of the bunch.

    I spent a number of years in a foreign 3rd world country. We simply cannot compare wages and lifestyles between those countries and America. The locals considered us “RICH” because we had….wait for it…..flush toilets in our house. Even the poorest of the poor in America have the use of flush toilets, so how do you compare.

    I hope that Wal-Mart does its job checking into the claims of slave labor, sweatshops etc. But I also don’t think we can hold them fully accountable for the actions of other countries. Lastly, we cannot expect the wages to be commensurate. In some countries, earning $10 a week is good—-in America its not. If we want to compare, then we must look at what is necessary for a lifestyle in other countries, and we must also consider how far from the norm we have it here in our country.

    Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 3, 2006 12:55 PM
    Comment #185911

    joebagodonuts,

    • I admitted above that one link about Miami was a hoax. I made a mistake.

    • Unfortunately, my mistake will be used by some to use that one mistake to expunge Walmart (and others like it) of all guilt, and declare all the other links invalid.

    • Agreed, the last three links are to the same site, which is very obvious (no deception is intended, but realize now that due to my one mistake on that one link, everything else will be tainted.)

    • I’ve spent years living over-seas too, and have been to many poor countries. But, somewhat lower pay in those countries is NOT the issue. Abuses are the issue (working long hours, beatings, unpaid overtime, etc.);
      One plaintiff, from Swaziland, claims that he had to labor for 16 hours straight in a factory where they locked the doors to ensure that no one left. In response to this lawsuit, Wal-Mart declared that they are doing everything they can “to verify that factories are in compliance with labor laws,” but realistically violations are going to occur.

      Even more disturbing than the human rights violations adults have been subject to, is the sickening way children have been treated in Wal-Mart factories for years. In Bangladesh, children between the ages of nine and twelve are paid five cents an hour and forced to work past midnight making Wal-Mart clothes.

    • True, Wal-mart can be held responsible for everything that happens in other countries, but that’s not the issue either. The issue is that Wal-mart shouldn’t have to look the other way either.

    • Perhaps some that staunchly defend Wal-Mart is because they frequent Wal-mart and don’t want to believe they are empowering Wal-mart? Afterall, possible guilt often leads to denial.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 3, 2006 1:27 PM
    Comment #185942

    d.a.n.

    Good points. I’m not discounting all sources due to the one bad one, but I was noting that the other three links came from the same source. That’s simply not as persuasive as three separate sources reaching the same conclusion.

    I’m also not in favor of letting Wal-Mart completely off the hook. We both agree they shouldn’t be held responsible for everything that goes on in other countries and companies, but they do have a responsibility to work with companies that hold to reasonable labor practices. With their clout, they can make demands of their overseas labor force, and cut off those companies who do not comply. Proving non-compliance is hard, but I suspect that if they were to make a few high-profile examples of companies, they’d more likely get their way.

    I recall the Kathy Lee Gifford flap a few years ago. She made an honest attempt to not use sweatshop labor and failed. She took the brunt of the blame for an entire garment industry, while others who were far more negligent went unnoticed. I suspect there is some of that with Walmart, because they have a certain notoriety. If we want higher standards, lets hold them all to it—-Target, Sears, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger etc. All of them—not just Walmart.

    **Note: the above named companies were chosen at random. There is no suggestion that they are not in compliance now. They simply represent a wide range of companies with overseas partners.

    Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 3, 2006 4:27 PM
    Comment #185944

    NOTE: The Walmart Miami article above is a fake. It fooled me, but I also didn’t read it carefully before posting it, apologize for not scrutinizing it closer before posting it, and called (and E-Mailed) the real North Platte Telegraph in Nebraska about the hoax-page posing as their news site, with all the exact same (c)copyright and contact information, etc. (at the bottom) as the real web-site (http://http://www.nptelegraph.com).

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 3, 2006 4:35 PM
    Comment #186070

    I’m surprised more people haven’t wanted to talk about the prescription drug bill.
    Don’t any of you think we should have the power to negotiate group rates?

    Christine

    Posted by: Christine at October 3, 2006 11:35 PM
    Comment #186101

    d.a.n.,

    Glad to hear the mistake was caught and that you made it out of there. The problem is that, with the absolute dearth of attention these issues receive, most everyone who has an experience like yours thinks that it was just a fluke, an anomaly which won’t repeat because they assume that people are learning from these mistakes and corrective action is underway.

    With 300-400 thousand deaths coming as a direct result of our medical system a year though, something is seriously wrong, proving that Einstein’s definition of insanity is alive and well. Around 700-1,000 deaths a day, one every two minutes or so, our hospitals, our doctor’s offices and our medicine cabinets are more dangerous than downtown Baghdad. The equivalent of 9/11 every few days, minus the spectacular nature of that tragedy; torsades de pointes, liver failure, strokes, hypoglycemia, all mostly silent passings; a blip on a machine followed by a loud resounding beeeeeep simply doesn’t garner the same amount of public outcry. No one will mourn October 2006, even though somewhere around 29,000 people will die needlessly. People scream for vengeance on the one hand, while the other fumbles with the child-proof lid to get at something far deadlier. One act engenders wars and fantastical amounts of panic, the other tort-reform legislation to condemn the afflicted families to financial ruin and shield those responsible from ever having to make amends or face any sort of justice.

    More people dying and suffering over the last fifty years at the hands of these corporations’ wares than met the same fates at the hands of any one of the world’s most notorious dictators (anyone can feel free to argue that point with me, I would love to be proven wrong, but please make sure you do your homework first).

    Horrifying, that I could change the dates in all of my posts in this thread to 1996 (and therefore 2006 in my last post for the end dates), and nearly everything would still be true. What is true today is true tomorrow and the next…six months, a year or even ten. Hopefully, one day, it won’t be; till then, everyone on Watchblog (and countless other places) will have to suffer through these rants of mine whenever someone starts a thread about medicine.


    Christine,

    On one hand, yes, of course, that portion of the bill is just simply so ridiculous that it boggles the mind. On the other, have you ever picked up a copy of the Physician’s Desk Reference? The term you’ll find regarding nearly every drug in there, “The exact mechanism of action is unknown,” should give everyone pause. Not to mention the pages and pages of “side effects” that most people discount, even though there is no such thing as a “side effect;” merely direct physical effects of the chemicals themselves, which manifest less frequently (in most cases) than the desired one, for reasons no one bothers to study.

    The American people are clamoring for frugality, for quantity over quality; when safety takes a back seat here, we may as well buy ourselves a little metal cage, carpet it with cedar chips, get a wheel for exercise and a nice little water dripper to lick at, then wait patiently for the nice man in the lab coat to walk over with his needle.

    Did I mention that they were poisoning children?

    Posted by: Liberal Demon at October 4, 2006 5:57 AM
    Comment #186141
    Christine wrote: I’m surprised more people haven’t wanted to talk about the prescription drug bill. Don’t any of you think we should have the power to negotiate group rates?
    Unfortunately, the pharmaceuticals have the power, and Congress is bought-and-paid-for. Most in Congress do not want to allow the importing of prescription drugs (i.e. not even from Canada). They use the safety-issue, which is not a valid concern, but part of the real reason is that Congress is in the pocket of drug corporations. BTW, Bill Frist’s (R-TN) (Majority leader that replaced Trent Lott (R-MS)) hospitals bilked Medicare out of a billion dollars, and had to agree to repay over $400 million. How many prescription drugs (via Medicare) could that pay for? How are politicians immune to this massive level of fraud? No wonder they are so brazen.

    BTW, from my own experience, Wal-mart (from my experience) does not have the best prices on prescription drugs.

    What is amazing is how much prices can vary from on place to another.

    Liberal Demon,
    The FDA is another tomb-stone agency. They keep some good medications off the market, while letting many through (i.e. such as Halcion, banned in some countries). The problem is not just with new anti-biotics for children. Also, sadly, some parents would rather believe their kid’s behavior can be fixed with pills, rather than better parenting. Children on medications is a problem, because they are still growing and developing, which is essential, and drugs can easily harm that process. Also, parents refuse to recognize that the child is just acting in a manner in which will gain the parents’ attention. That’s not to say some children are helped, but the over-use is just as bad (if not worse). In 2004, spending for more children popping pills for ADD and other behavior disorders,exceeded spending for antibiotics and asthma medications for kids. The startling fact is a 369% increase in spending on ADD prescription drugs for children under 5 years of age. And not until relatively recently, we are seeing some of the very dangerous adverse effects of giving children anti-depressants (i.e. suicide, increased depression). Also, in some cases, the average cost of a daily dose for some medicines was much higher for children than for senior citizens (because seniors can take generics).

    How many of you have seen someone’s child on one of these ADD drugs? That’s not to say some may really benefit from it.

    According to the NCHS, the number of children (between 3 and 17) with ADD rose from 3.3 million in 1997 to 4.4 million in 2002 ?

    Do you get the feeling there’s something else (not just lazy parents) going on here? No wonder government agencies often get labeled the “tomb-stone” agency.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 4, 2006 11:03 AM
    Comment #186181

    Christine
    I’m surprised more people haven’t wanted to talk about the prescription drug bill.
    Don’t any of you think we should have the power to negotiate group rates?

    But that would mean that the drug companies would have to sell their drugs for less. And that would mean that the CEO’s might not get their bonuses. Are you totally heartless? I mean these guys only make a messley $70,000,000 to $80,000,000 a year. How do you expect them to keep up the payments on their Rolls Royces if they don’t get their bonuses?

    Actually I’m for being able to negotiate group rate of prescription drugs. I’m also for small businesses being able to get togeather to negotiate group rates for health insurance.

    Posted by: Ron Brown at October 4, 2006 1:16 PM
    Comment #186394

    d.a.n.,

    Yes, I totally agree with you; human beings, and most especially children, are not meant to rattle when they walk from all the pills inside of them.

    The reason I have a tendency to focus on those antibiotics is because they are the class of drugs which ruined my own life; I now spend the majority of my time trying to raise public awareness about them in hopes that others won’t suffer the same fate.

    I am absolutely horrified that a drug which caused severe tendon and muscle damage, nerve damage in my back and legs, severe fatigue, a plethora of mental and neurological adverse reactions and too many other effects to really list, all in a fully grown adult, is now going to be given to children (especially considering the results of the clinical trials in immature rats and dogs which showed significant lesion formation and cartilage erosion).

    Those “antibiotics” (they aren’t really, it’s a misnomer; they are “chemotherapeutic antibacterials,” and are entirely man-made chemicals) cause peripheral neuropathy, tendinopathy/tendinosis/tendonitis, spontaneous tendon rupture, rhabdomyolisis, elongation of the QT rhythm, liver failure, GABA receptor disruption (which can lead to years of almost no sleep), ocular damage, thyroid and adrenal disruption, and on and on.

    Side effects from them can appear months after a person has stopped taking them, leaving many of the victims unaware of the cause of their ailments (many of whom then go on to be given these drugs again, with devastating consequences). Most of the debilitating side effects can persist for years or even become permanent. Nearly two years of unadulterated horror and counting for me; over ten years for some of the people I’ve corresponded with.

    If you truly want an idea of what these “antibiotics” are capable of, click on my name below (it’ll take you to my AOL journal, which has one of the most horrific stories of a drug reaction you’ll ever read if you scroll down a little bit passed the entry on Steve Irwin’s death) and visit www.fqresearch.org.

    Do you get the feeling there’s something else (not just lazy parents) going on here? No wonder government agencies often get labeled the “tomb-stone” agency.

    Of course. Drug companies at this point are basically creating poisons and then finding a use for them. More and more conditions, which used to simply be a natural part of life, are now being labeled as something which needs corrective action by the same people who just happen to have the “cure” (for the right price of course).

    I could’ve sworn that 5 year olds were meant to be a little hyperactive.

    Posted by: Liberal Demon at October 4, 2006 10:17 PM
    Comment #186430

    Yikes !
    A doctor once prescribed Levaquin to me last year.
    Fortunately, I don’t recall any side effects.
    I’m very sorry what Levaquin did to you.
    Thanks for the web-sites (I book marked it).
    I was totally unaware of the danger.
    Thanks again for the WARNING !


    Posted by: d.a.n at October 5, 2006 1:40 AM
    Comment #186438

    d.a.n.

    Thanks for the sympathy. I’m really glad to hear that you didn’t get hurt; although I do recommend that you look at the list of common side-effects on my journal and compare that to how you felt afterward. Estimates of adverse reactions range from 1% to 5% of the total number of people taking these drugs; with over 15 millions scripts written in 2005 for Levaquin, and 13 million for Cipro, that’s a hell of a lot of injured people each year.

    But like I said, most people who are victims of these drugs don’t even know it, which is where my indignation truly stems from. Who would blame an antibiotic they took months prior for severe muscle and tendon pain (or rupture) and a host of other strange maladies? Very few doctors are even aware of these occurrences.

    You’re totally welcome, thank you for listening. This is what I do, getting the word out to everyone I possibly can. If I were able, I’d be standing on top of a mountain somewhere with a bullhorn, bellowing out this warning to the world. No one should have this done to them.

    Posted by: Liberal Demon at October 5, 2006 5:37 AM
    Comment #186460

    Liberal Demon,
    Hmmmm, maybe it’s a coincidence, but very “dry eyes” has been a problem since shortly afterward taking Levaquin, but never thought of any connection, because there are so many causes for that. I also remember a sharp tendon pain in my knee, but it went away. I already had some fatigue, brain fog, and a few other symptoms, but that’s because my thyroid was removed in 1998 due to a benign tumor. Wow, from now on, I’m going to research these things better before taking them, or whether it’s totally necessary. Too often, doctors prescribe things that are not even necessary. Some doctors are bad about pushin’ pills, or certain brands. But, if you have ever seen how doctors and their P.A.s get wined-and-dined by pharmaceutical reps, you can understand why that happens. Some doctors are not much better than bought-and-paid-for politicians, because some doctors are essentially pill pushers for some pharmaceutical companies.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 5, 2006 10:30 AM
    Comment #186578

    d.a.n.,

    Sorry to hear of your problems as well. What you describe is fairly typical for people who had prior health conditions before being given one of these drugs. Did it or didn’t it? Scary, that there is really no way to definitively answer that question (FYI, dry eyes and knee pain are both things I deal with every day and I was healthy before this). People then watch as their health declines over the years, all the time thinking it was just the normal progression of their ailments, when in reality it was something far more insidious.

    There is much speculation and theorizing regarding the adverse effects fluoroquinolone antibiotics (that link has the full list of the drugs in this class, although it has not been updated to include Factive yet) have on the thyroid, the adrenals, and the cytochrome P450 liver system (which helps to metabolize many substances in the body, including thyroid hormones, if I remember correctly).

    People with previously existing endocrinal (and some other, most notably anxiety and CNS) disorders do seem to have a higher rate of adverse reactions; it is really most unfortunate that no one is bothering to tell doctors about this. Adding more misery to someone who was already struggling should be a criminal act.

    Yes, many (if not most) doctors are basically shills at this point; their offices are overloaded with drug company paraphernalia and their heads are filled by the same entities’ propaganda. There is a book entitled “Bitter Pills” by a man named Stephen Fried, whose wife endured many years of torment from a single pill of a fluoroquinolone antibiotic; I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but it’s my understanding that he also delves into the nature of the too-cozy relationships between pharmaceutical companies, the FDA and the doctors who eventually push these chemicals onto unsuspecting patients.

    Sad…and scary…and sad.

    Posted by: Liberal Demon at October 5, 2006 10:26 PM
    Comment #186603

    Liberal Demon,
    What you showed me about all of those different fluoroquinolone antibiotics is one of the more enlightening things I’ve seen here at watchblog in a while. I asked my wife to not take any prescribed meds until we research it. I once took Zocor, and it caused some bad side effects. It’s sort of like Russian roulette. You never know when your luck is going to run out. The thing is, there are often many effective alternatives drugs, but some MDs go with a new one only because a pharmaceutical representative talked them into it. One doctor I went to had so many bad experiences that he said he stopped prescribing many of the newer medications until they had been proven safe (which he recogonized could take years). He told me of a few of his patients that had some very bad side-effects, one that almost caused death.

    On a side note, I once worked on an intravenous medical device that could administer up to five intravenous medications. I laughed when the president said we were going into FDA testing in 6 months, because I had been testing the software, and it regularly administered lethal combinations of drugs, because a software bug (not software I wrote) failed to properly detect the lethal combination. Fortunately, it never made it to market. Not that it wasn’t possible to do, but it needed much more testing and refinement to be safe.

    The number of people dying or maimed from medical mistakes is frightening. A report entitled, “TO ERR IS HUMAN”, issued by the National Institute of Medicine (a division of the National Academy of Sciences) in 1999 found that medical mistakes kill somewhere between 44,000 and 98,000 people (average: 71,000) in hospitals in the U.S. each year. Damn! That exceeds the number of people killed in the U.S. by automobile accidents (43,458 in 1998). And what are the numbers of people, like you, that have been irreversibly damaged?

    What seems evident is that few (if any) prescription drugs have no side-effects. The medical community is failing at emphasizing that. A few doctors I’ve seen have warned of potential side-effects (namely the one I mentioned above, because he had already been badly burned by a few of his patients that had severe side-effects), but many just hand you a prescription, and say come back in week (or two). It’s those doctors, that haven’t yet learned the hard way, or don’t care, that are dangerous. And the thing is, these doctors SHOULD know more about the medications they prescribe. The irony is, the very same doctor that told me about being burned a few times (by patients that had serious side effects) is the very same doctor that prescribed Levaquin to me.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 5, 2006 11:50 PM
    Comment #186620

    d.a.n.

    What you showed me about all of those different fluoroquinolone antibiotics is one of the more enlightening things I’ve seen here at watchblog in a while.

    Thank you d.a.n. Although I probably get more satisfaction knowing that I have possibly saved someone from this fate than they will ever know.

    The thing is, there are often many effective alternatives drugs, but some MDs go with a new one only because a pharmaceutical representative talked them into it.

    Exactly, fluoroquinolones were originally approved and designed as drugs of last resort, when the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacterium had been confirmed. There is not much money in that though, so these (and many other, of course) drugs magically became “safe” and are currently being handed out like candy all around the world.

    Many newer drugs currently on the market are merely old drugs (sometimes even ones which were previously banned) which have been slightly modified and redesigned.

    The number of people dying or maimed from medical mistakes is frightening. A report entitled, “TO ERR IS HUMAN”, issued by the National Institute of Medicine (a division of the National Academy of Sciences) in 1999 found that medical mistakes kill somewhere between 44,000 and 98,000 people (average: 71,000) in hospitals in the U.S. each year.

    I’m not sure if you saw my links earlier in this thread; hospital errors now account for between 100-200 thousand deaths a year; properly administered prescription drugs account for another 100,000; and drug errors account for another 80,000 or so. Death, death and more death.

    And what are the numbers of people, like you, that have been irreversibly damaged?

    It really depends on the method. If one includes all prescription drugs over the years, then the numbers are in the (high) tens of millions. The drug DES (diethylstilbestrol) alone accounts for between 5-10 million severely injured people and who knows how many deaths over the last 70 years. With over 600 million scripts written worldwide for fluoroquinolone antibiotics over the past few decades (and close to 30 million more each year), given a 1% reaction rate (possibly low, actually) equals 6 million injured people and thousands of deaths. Statins (you mentioned Zocor), anti-malarials (such as Lariam) and countless other drugs add to these totals each and every day.

    What seems evident is that few (if any) prescription drugs have no side-effects.

    None, none at all. Even NSAID’s such as ibuprofen and Aleve kill around 16,000 people a year due to their proclivity toward creating bleeding stomach ulcers (according to a USA Today article back in 1998). If we sell that over the counter…

    The medical community is failing at emphasizing that.

    And therein lay the problem. Emphasizing that would constitute a grave conflict of interest, and therefore it will never happen. If people realized that our medical system was one of the leading causes of death in this country, their profits would plummet faster than a lead balloon.

    And the thing is, these doctors SHOULD know more about the medications they prescribe. The irony is, the very same doctor that told me about being burned a few times (by patients that had serious side effects) is the very same doctor that prescribed Levaquin to me.

    Yes, they should know, but have you ever picked up a copy of the PDR? Too many drugs to ever hope to be able to keep track of even 1/10th of them all. They are forced to rely on the drug-reps for this information, who downplay every negative and talk up the positive until they have the doctor convinced that their drug is the greatest thing since sliced bread (a little palm-greasing helps this process along of course); patients be damned.

    The problem stems from higher up, with the FDA, who has completely abandoned the American people and now merely serves to grant an aura of legitimacy to these products. So many rampant and egregious conflicts of interest that it truly boggles the mind. When trying to get FDA approval for Levaquin, Ortho-McNeil enlisted the help of one of the FDA’s board members in crafting the proposal (I wonder if he voted to approve it…duh). Sickening…

    Not to mention that all clinical trials are conducted by the drug companies themselves. Recent studies have shown that when drugs are tested by an independant third party, they are consistently shown to be less safe and less effective than what the drug companies’ studies found.

    Sorry to go off on such a rant here, it’s hard to for me to remain calm sometimes when dealing with this subject matter; hope you understand.

    Posted by: Liberal Demon at October 6, 2006 6:14 AM
    Comment #186719

    Liberal Demon,
    That’s a lot of good information.
    I wonder what the correlation is between rising healthcare costs, insurance, and these medical dangers resulting from the incompetence of the FDA, doctors, hospitals, and the obvious corruption and greed of pharmaceuticals?

    When you start researching this, it starts to look like one of the most dangerous things in society … and it is. It’s more deadly than many wars. It’s more deadly than people dying from automobile accidents. It’s more deadly than some combined. And, it’s amazing how little attention it gets. Guess that would hurt profits, eh?

    You know, in the last 25 years (I’m 48), the nation seems to have lost its way (in many respects), our problems seem to be growing in number and severity, and it may be a while before we find our way back (if ever).

    Sorry to go off on such a rant here…
    Don’t be sorry. You are trying to educate people. That’s a good thing! Like you said, you may have already saved many from pain, misery and death. Education is needed. That’s the key. Not only to the dangers of pill pushin’ doctors and pharmaceuticals, but the entire corruption within government, and the electorate. People won’t change their behavior until they recognize how their short-sightedness is hurting themselves (or killing them). That requires more education. It is disturbing that so many deaths and maimed gets so little attention. I’m going to have to work on that (i.e. add information about this to some of my web-pages).
  • Posted by: d.a.n at October 6, 2006 4:05 PM
    Comment #186812

    d.a.n.,

    When you start researching this, it starts to look like one of the most dangerous things in society … and it is.

    Just two short years ago I was one of those people who thought, while some drugs were dangerous and accidents did happen, our medical system was really outstanding and sought to truly help people.

    How shocked I was to learn the truth, and that so much information is out there and nearly no one is paying attention or doing anything about it. I tried sharing some of this information a couple of months ago on here as well, and the only response I got was someone asking me why I wasn’t angry at the terrorists who want to kill us and why did I blame America first. I pointed out how the terrorists could never kill as many people as this issue does, and that only seemed to further inflame that person’s animosity toward me. These deaths and this suffering isn’t as glamorous or spectacular I guess, even though the numbers are. [sigh]

    And, it’s amazing how little attention it gets.

    Sometimes it drives me a little bit crazy, actually. I see everyone on the news (and on this site) debating and talking endlessly about so many other issues, the vast majority of which will never even come close to affecting (destroying) nearly as many lives. That’s not to say that other issues aren’t important, but I’ve never understood why this issue gets no time or consideration.

    Don’t be sorry. You are trying to educate people. That’s a good thing! Like you said, you may have already saved many from pain, misery and death.

    Thank you d.a.n. Honestly, that drive to protect and educate others is one of the few things that has kept me going throughout all this.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly on the corruption in government. Both parties are a complete waste when it comes to the issues that truly matter; constantly pandering to the lowest common denominator in a frantic bid to retain or regain power.

    I’ve been reading at this site for well over a year, but only recently have I been feeling well enough sometimes to actually participate and post. I’ve seen all the work you do here (and on your own site); it’s awesome that you’re trying to stop the partisan warfare and get people to see what’s really going on. I think that political parties are possibly the worst thing to ever happen to our government, they turn politics into little more than a sporting event, where both sides become so entrenched in the support of their own teams that the nation and her people get lost in the fervor.

    I’m going to have to work on that (i.e. add information about this to some of my web-pages).

    Thank you again, truly. Every time I find someone who listens, or even better, is willing to try and make a difference, it makes my day (week, month).

    Posted by: Liberal Demon at October 6, 2006 11:55 PM
    Comment #186990

    Liberal Demon,
    Thanks for the links and info.
    This problem is being severly under-reported. Over 106,000 fatal Adverse Drug Reactions (per year!), making it the 5th or 6th leading cause of death is staggering. 195,000 deaths due to medical mistakes each of 2000, 2001, 2002 is frightening.

    Part a large part of the problem is the growing corpocrisy, corporatism, and influence of government by corporations. Pharmaceutical corporations and the FDA are becoming pill pushers that are killing hundreds of thousands in the U.S. annually.

    I have added items and links to 4 web-pages to start helping raise more awareness to this serious and overlooked problem. (1), (2), (3)

    The sad part is the corpocrisy and corporatism behind it. This issue really is being severely under-reported. Perhaps because people with medical problems are so eager for relief that they become easy targets for pill-pushing pharmaceutical corporations and the complicit FDA, that care more about profits than anything else?

    This should be getting much more attention, when you consider that medical mistakes and adverse drug reactions in the U.S. are killing more than 200 times more people than all U.S. troops killed in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (annually).

    Thanks again! What you are saying is not merely alarmist or biased. Not in the least. 195,000 deaths per year is not insignificant in the least. 106,000 deaths per year due to adverse drug reactions is not insignificant in the least. Something is drastically wrong here. It is suspiciously odd that something so deadly, killing so many, is somehow being overlooked and under-reported. The FDA is not doing its job, despite the billions of tax dollars used to fund it. Once again, American tax payers are being ripped off in a very BIG way. They’re not just losing their money, but their lives too. The numerous reports and statistics of deaths by drugs and medical mistakes does not sound as though it could really be true. It’s frightening, and there’s no doubt that pharmaceuticals are becoming dangerous pill pushers and the FDA is complicit.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 8, 2006 12:08 PM
    Comment #186991

    No wonder Walmart got into the pharmacy business. There are BIG profits to be made. Nevermind that they are helping push pills that kill 106,000 per year due to adverse drug reactions. They don’t want to hear about that. Not in this era of corpocrisy, corporatism, corporate welfare, pork-barrel, cheap illegal labor (exploitation of an under-paid, under-class), outsourcing & importing skilled workers, falling median incomes since 1999, and government that is FOR SALE (83% of all federal campaing donations ($200 or more) come from a mere 0.15% of all eligible voters).

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 8, 2006 12:14 PM
    Comment #187049

    d.a.n.

    One of the scariest things of all this, is that those numbers are only referring to the injuries/deaths that occur in our nation’s hospitals. The number of deaths that occur in the home or other clinical settings due to prescriptions drugs are not, that I’ve been able to find in any studies, available at all.

    With over 3 billion outpatient scripts written annually (slightly more than ten times the number of Americans) the numbers of serious injuries and fatalities is guaranteed to be staggering. Like I said though, no one is tracking this data; I’ve searched far and wide and come up emptyhanded.

    Part a large part of the problem is the growing corpocrisy, corporatism, and influence of government by corporations.

    You hit the nail on the head here. I’ve been saying it for years, that the merging of corporations and government is no less detrimental to this country than the merging of religion and government is/was to so many other nations. No outside influence should ever have nearly that much sway over our leaders. I do not believe that our forefathers intended for us to trade Theocracy for Corpocrisy.

    Whenever people argue over “Liberal” vs. “Conservative” media, what they should be talking about is the “Corporate” media. No entity will ever publish information which is significantly harmful to its own interests, which is why state-run media was abolished so long ago.

    We literally have a situation where these corporations have been given carte blanche to maim, torture, poison and kill human beings for profit. Hell, they did it to me.

    It seems that this thread will disappear into the abyss of the archives soon, so I just want to say your welcome and thank you for listening.

    Posted by: Liberal Demon at October 8, 2006 10:00 PM
    Comment #187054

    Actually, I should have said that they did it to us.

    Posted by: Liberal Demon at October 8, 2006 10:21 PM
    Comment #187099
    I do not believe that our forefathers intended for us to trade Theocracy for Corpocrisy.

    Well said.

    It seems that this thread will disappear into the abyss of the archives soon, so I just want to say your welcome and thank you for listening.

    From now on, I will include this every chance there is, plus it is now on my lists of pressing problems.

    While we’re worried about North Korea, and Iran, 200,000 Americans (and probably many more, as you point out) annually are dying due to medical mistakes, and over 106,000 are dying due to greedy pill pushin’ pharmaceuticals and the complicit FDA (corpocrisy and corporatism at it’s worst). It’s amazing how well they are doing at keeping this out of the media; keeping the population ignorant. But, look at all the attention the media gives to other crap. But, then, the media is largely bought-and-paid-for too.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 9, 2006 10:07 AM
    Post a comment