Category Archives: health

Free Drugs for the Unemployed… Not the Fun Kind

Currently Featured on the Huffington Post

Whoever said big billion dollar medical conglomerations didn’t have a heart, as well as shill high-risk chemical concoctions for it? It’s official: Pfizer Inc. has announced that it will provide 70 of its most popular prescriptions (like Lipitor, Zoloft and Viagra) gratis to the poor, fat, flaccid sad sacks who have been unlucky enough to have lost their jobs and medical coverage… and (read the fine print) been loyal Pfizer customers for three months or more–JUST DON’T BUY GENERIC! WHATEVER YOU DO, STAY AWAY FROM GENERIC BRANDS THAT DO THE SAME THING BUT COST MARKEDLY LESS!!!

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Yesiree Bobby, it seems altruism is alive and well within the amalgamated capitalist model. Slap on back. Hand on heart. Salute. Zoom up on single tear trickling down a chubby corporate fat cat’s face, starting from his rad Ray-Bans and slowly pooling within the dainty dimple in his jaunty jowl.

Meanwhile, legislators in eight states are advocating that beneficiaries of Uncle Sam’s subsidized programs such as food stamps, unemployment benefits or welfare be required to submit to random drug testing (AKA Operation Buzzkill) for certain substances that are not government approved. It seems the marijuana lobby, not surprisingly, isn’t all that organized.

Seriously, though, I know there are diabetics that desperately need their testing supplies and medicines in order to survive, but Pfizer’s plan (recently hatched at a leadership training program) seems more aimed at maintaining product loyalty than preserving the phalanges of the masses. What about all the non-Pfizer-buying sufferers left in a life-or-death limbo without the aid of desperately needed pharmaceuticals? F*ck em’, I guess. ‘Cause this is really about cutting losses and making sure none of the docile drug-buying sheeple stray away from the pack.

For in times of dire economic depression some might question the actual malady they are “suffering” from, seeking out alternate measures to treat the trauma they’ve been mindlessly medicating, as long it didn’t make them choose between the deluxe cable package or the other little blue pill (that was for all you Matrix nerds). Worst of all (cut to aforesaid corporate fat cat’s sweat-drenched visage, crocodile tears dried, eyes red and frantic, his douchebag-designer sunglasses long ago having slid down the slippery bridge of his rhinoplastied, cocaine-caked nose and shattering into a Million Little Pieces) some might even choose to exercise, change their diets or question the source of that mental pain they have been numbing for months or years–rather than directly line the pockets of an industry that, more often than not, encourages dependency rather than a cure. Can’t let that happen!

To conclude, let’s just take the Viagra subsidy in and of itself. Unemployment plus artificially stimulated erectile function in the elderly and/or infirm can only lead to positive developments for society as a whole, right? Hey, far be it from me to knock the importance of providing the prescription-paying public with boner pills so that they might procreate in their down time, breeding a whole new generation of loyal customers indoctrinated into the practice of pharmaceutical instant gratification by their pill-popping parents. Best of all, these newly distracted descendants who spend their formative years ministering to their drugged-out adult dependents can open up a vital ADHD market. Win-win!

Now if only they could concoct a new drug to stave off the impending Swine Flu Apocalypse, or better yet cook up a new virus to contrive a drug to avert …that would be a real money-maker! Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Preparing for the Swine Flu Apocalypse

Currently Featured on the Huffington Post

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First SARS, then Avian Bird Flu, and now the Iddy Biddy Piddy Pandemic. Here we go again, and this time we are at DEFCON 2, apparently. And of course in times of artificially manufactured duress we must remember to not under any circumstances remain calm–it is very important to panic and support a good healthy public hysteria. Do your part. Support the mass media’s fixation on a modern-day Captain Trips narrative. They need the ratings. There hasn’t been a good old-fashioned saucy sexual scandal among the politicos in quite some time, all is quiet on the tsunami/volcano front, and the Craiglist Killer just doesn’t got what it takes (hard to empathize with sinners’, who were utilizing casual encounters, most unfortunate endings when they were financially hawking happy ones). I mean we seriously can’t be expected to sit in front of the boob tube drooling over Arlen Specter’s spectacular defection to the Democratic Party can we? Where are the tantalizing titillation or doom and gloom? Please! I might as well read a book or pursue my dreams or something.

Also, it is important to boycott bacon and pulled pork sandwiches, even though the offending pathogen’s transmission has not been scientifically connected to the consumption of the succulent buttermilk-bathed bodies of these mud-trolling cob rollers. It shows that we are serious and committed to overreacting. I mean you’d think the United States would take a world leadership position here. Instead we have to idly watch as other nations out-frenzy us. Russia and Gabon are blatantly banning all imports of the other white meat, while Egypt has ordered the mass-execution of all of their unhallowed hoggies (although this could merely be a convenient excuse to settle an age-old Islamic grudge–why must unsanctified flesh taste so delicious!).

Meanwhile, pork industry lobbyists are out to ruin all our fun by trying to change the name of the swine flu back to H1N1 Flu or even worse: Hybrid Influenza. Borrrrring! One sounds like a Star Wars robot and the other like an environmentally sound automobile that runs on germs (actually not a bad idea–someone contact Al Gore), but neither is particularly catchy. How are we supposed to foster widespread irrational pandemonium with these mundane lab-coat clad monikers?

And keep up the good work out there by continuing to make stupid jokes about acts of bestiality with our pink, hooved, pot-bellied friends, poor Kermit’s marital bed quandary, and awful puns about overweight women and those who protect and serve on the police force. Hysterical! You are quite a card! And doing your duty producing uneasy titters and groans while perpetuating paranoia among your co-workers. Sales of Purell should increase by 20%.

I myself survived the dreaded SARS epidemic (in the heavily populated Asian neighborhood of Elmhurst, Queens) in which a total of 779 people died worldwide. There were eight U.S. cases, all non-fatal. I may be wrong but I think more people have actually lost their lives at Great Adventure… and that’s just from the concession stands (More Flags, Less Fun! ). Though that didn’t stop the local populace from panicking like pros. I rode the subway into NYC daily across from faces covered in surgical masks and red bandanas. As if we were heading towards some bizarre convention catering to Wild West outlaw bank-robbing bandits and the medics who loved them. It was exciting. Why not full Hazmat suits and oxygen tanks this time? Let’s go full-blown Outbreak and spice up the morning commute!

Ultimately, though, the excitement it bound to end and the drama to abate as the world survives another media spin cycle and the perfect storm for virulent virus mutation once again fails to form. Odds are most of us will survive to watch yet another sub-par episode of American Idol thanks to the technologically advanced art of hand-washing we practice. It also doesn’t hurt to have access to stockpiles of Tamiflu or the ability to mass-produce more, this being a first-world country and all. And let’s remember this is a strain of influenza, not AIDS, and the majority of us would probably kick it on a mucus filled Nintendo-Wii-filled sick day vacation from our cubicles.

However, if it comforts you more to fantasize about a dark and dreary post-apocalyptic dystopia where a sole bedraggled man trudges down I-95 with a shopping cart desperately searching for any signs of other survivors (perhaps, with the re-tread REM ditty Cause it’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel swine, as background score), I say go for it. It’s either that or waiting for the much-anticipated cinematic adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to come out…or you could just go outside, live your life and enjoy the spring. Nah! What if???

Aw, Nuts: The FDA Pistachio Scare Nightmare

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How’s about a nice hot fudge sundae with two big scoops of pistachio ice cream and a smattering of Salmonella? Wait a second! Acute abdominal cramps, projectile vomiting, debilitating diarrhea and sallow skin the color of the aforementioned frozen dairy treat doesn’t sound so appetizing on second thought. Also, if you happen to be frail, a senior citizen, a young child, or have a compromised immune system you might want to steer clear of Kraft’s Back to Nature Nantucket Blend Trail Mix… that is, unless you’d like to start singing Happy Trails (the delightfully infectious bacteria can cause fatalities in these delicate demographics). Jeez Louise! A death sentence hardly seems like the proper encouragement for the health conscious among our young, elderly and bed-ridden who happen to be nuts about deez nuts. Even astronauts orbiting the earth in our ramshackle International Space Station are at risk, as the microscopic contagion has recently been shown to become more virulent in a zero-g environment (best to stick with Tang and tortillas, spacemen!).

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It seems that the FDA done did it again! Or didn’t do it… what they’re supposed be doing, that is, mainly regulate and prevent widespread contamination of our food supply from harmful microbes and bacteria. That and be the tool of an overzealous Pharmaceutical Complex pimping products to alleviate ailments they themselves have created to make a quick buck off the public’s paranoia, hypochondria and dissatisfaction with their droll everyday existence (which usually includes lists of side effects more frightening than the symptoms being “treated.” Anal bleeding and sudden stroke? No thankee. I’ll mourn my kitty cat’s unfortunate demise sans the Dr. Feel Good pills, Pusherman!).

Lettuce, poultry, tomatoes, peanut butter and now pistachios… and that’s just the Salmonella, folks! Let’s not forget our friendly neighborhood fecal contaminator, E. Coli, that, all too recently, was found in spinach, ground beef patties and frozen pizza (affecting everyone from the patchouli-soaked vegan to the Sarah Palin-supporting soccer mom and munchie-craving stoner alike). And what pray tell is being done to protect us? Two million pounds of allegedly roasted pistachios have been recalled by Terra Bella, Inc. (the second largest processor in the nation) to determine the cause post hoc! As baklava lovers across this great nation go wanting and suburban Chinese restaurants are forced to frantically push the mango pudding (yuck!).

Perhaps its time for the FDA, which supervises 80% of our food supply (the USDA is responsible for the rest, mainly focusing on meat, poultry and eggs), to refocus its efforts from clean-up to prevention (so we may enjoy a nice crisp Cobb Salad or old-fashioned PBJ without worrying about running to the restroom to release our churning insides from an orifice on either end and subsequently survive surreptitiously sipping sickly tasting bubble-gum-flavored Pedialyte for the next 36 to 48 hours, praying our tummy won’t revolt and reset the whole rigmarole to the beginning).

One can only hope that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Kathleen Sebelius (Obama’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary) will be successful in splitting the FDA’s drug and food safety obligations into two autonomous agencies so they can concentrate on heading off such catastrophes before they become part of our digestive tracts, if not, I guess we could always form hippie communes, raise our own organic produce and livestock, or intravenously feed ourselves from bags of glucose solution… but really, who has the time or inclination?