The FDA has finally approved a drug for treating chronic constipation. The agency strained over the decision for quite some time before finally unleashing it upon the American public. The real breakthrough? It finally occurred to one FDA bureaucrat that the new anti-obesity drug, Alli (Orlistat) caused so much diarrhea and involuntary anal discharge that it doubled as an anti-constipation drug.
So now it's a two-fer: Take Alli and you can lose weight at the same time you solve your constipation problems. Just be sure to have a few extra pairs of underwear on hand in case the small-print side effects turn out to be true. Or else your dog won't be the only thing your friends call "Spot."
California suckered yet again
California is suing the federal government over its bungled Medicare prescription drug benefit plan, which has left so many senior citizens without prescription drugs for so long that they're actually starting to regain some mental clarity and realize what's going on. That, of course, is unacceptable.
The disastrous federal drug "benefit" program (actually, a giant Bush handout to Big Pharma at taxpayers' expense) has already cost California $150 million in emergency prescription drug funds, which is not nearly as much as Enron cost California during the fabricated energy shortage crisis a few years ago, but is almost as curious.
I keep wondering how long Californians will put up with the profiteering scams engineered by the White House (Enron's top guys were all Bush buddies, too), but apparently the state's appetite for being scammed by Washington is not yet satiated. Has anybody else realized that California would be a whole lot wealthier if the state declared its sovereignty and ran its own economy without federal meddling? California is a huge exporter of dollars to Washington, and all it gets in return is rhetoric and frustration.
Californians, of course, can walk right across the Mexico border and buy the same prescriptions for a fraction of the price, but for some reason, Californians keep waiting around for the U.S. government to "save" them money and solve the problem. This exercise is tantamount to spending a couple of days staring at a dead tortoise, hoping it will spontaneously leap to its feet and perform the cha cha.
Conventional doctors (sort of) adopt acupuncture
Use of acupuncture by mainstream doctors has doubled in the last year across the United States. Doctors, who originally shunned acupuncture as something far worse than being hounded by rabid pharmaceutical reps, are coming to realize the treatment actually works.
Naturally, they're still limiting its application to minor conditions like treating pain following surgery, or reducing nausea after chemotherapy, saving the BIG diseases for those heroic, high-profit procedures like heart bypass surgery and chemotherapy. That's how organized medicine marginalizes the wisdom of five thousand years of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The only reason modern doctors even tolerate acupuncture is because, as one MD recently told me, "At least we get to puncture patients with something." To my great amusement, he also thinks the phrase "acupuncture points" refers to a scoring system whereby doctors compete with each other to see how many needles they can stick in a patient in a single, timed fifteen minute race. (Every needle earns another $25 reimbursement from Medicare, apparently.)