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July 29, 2010     The Ponchatoula Times
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THE PONCHATOULA TIMES, JULY 29, 2010, PAGE 8 ( .( By DR. RANDOLPH HOWES M.D., PhD (EDITOR'S NOTE: Longtime medical columnist for The Ponchatoula Times, the author is an accomplished surgeon, medical inventor, and Country music recording artist. Dr. Howes grew up on his parents' Ponchatoula strawberry farm. He is a graduate of St. Joseph, Ponchatoula High School, Tulane - two doctorates, followed by a residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in plastic surgery. He says he is "re- tired" now in Kentwood.) Dr. David Graham, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientist, has estimated that as many as 100,000 heart-related problems may have been caused by the diabetes drug Avandia and he wants the pill banned. He co-authored a study (:~ ~ ~ which analyzed medical records ..... of more than 225,000 elderly Medicare patients. Republi- ~:: can Senator Charles Grass- ley helped initiate a review of Avandia with an investigation that concluded GlaxoSmith- Kline (Glaxo) tried to downplay the risks of its drug. Grassley also wants Avandia withdrawn from the market. But, the drug's manufactur- er is the powerful drug giant Glaxo. Two years ago, a medical journal article reported "a 43 percent higher risk of heart at- tacks among Avandia patients when compared with those tak- ing other diabetes drugs." Sub- sequent to this, use of Avan- dia dropped dramatically. Yet, about a million U.S. patients still take it regularly. The Public Citizen group's research found 14 cases of liver failure associated with Avan- dia, 12 of which led to death and that Avandia predisposes some patients to eye problems, anemia and bone fractures. Glaxo said its own data showed that the drug has a good safety record when it comes to liver problems and the data on heart attacks was inconclusive. Glaxo has continued to milk this "prized cash-cow" even though many of its side effects are life threatening, such as liv- er failure, heart failure, heart attacks and death. Recently, the American Diabetes Associa- tion and a European counter- part jointly released guidelines that pointedly recommended against using Avandia. It is true that some diabetes patients are benefiting from the use of this drug but it is also true that there are safer rival drugs available, such as Actos (made by Takeda Pharmaceuti- Dr. Howes cals). The argument over Avan- dia's safety has raged on since 2007, when the manufacturer was required to add a warning label to the drug later that year. Avandia was Glaxo's third best- selling drug with U.S sales over $2.2 billion in 2006 but sales have leveled off near $500 mil- lion. The FDA has produced an exhaustive 700-page review of Avandia and its ties to deadly side effects. As of July 2010, Glaxo has agreed to pay about $460 million to settle a large part of the lawsuits related to heart attacks and strokes. This averages at least $46,000 for each of this group of about 10,000 cases. Yet, Glaxo still faces about 13,000 Avandia lawsuits alleging personal inju- ries. In the America that I love, we are aware of the unbelievable power of drug company lobby- taking Avandia. Sadly, just be- cause it is dangerous is no guar- antee that it will be completely pulled from the market. Wel- come to medical politics. Ponchatoula Kiwanis donates to fight cancer Holy Ghost Students involved in a fundraiser for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center accept a donation from The Ponchatoula Kiwanis Club. Pictured (left to right) are: President-Elect of Ponchatoula Kiwanis Dianne Crim, stu- dents Jessica Camelo, Taylor Ridgedell, Carlye Galloway, Skylar Compton, and Bailey Barker. There will be a Disco Fundraiser on August 27 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph's School. All proceeds and donations will benefit the Mary Bird Per- kins Cancer Center (MBP) in Hammond. (Courtesy Photo) 6, North Oaks adding: "I am guided and compelled by my conscience to express that statutory law cannot be sepa- rated from concepts of natural law and should not ignore 'the principle of natural ethics' root- ed in the nature of the human person. I reject the legal fiction that 'personhood depends on recognition by law. "The democratic structures of our political system would be quiteTragile were its foundation not the centrality of the human person. Otherwise, what is a fe- tus? A nonentity, a nothing, a mass of lifeless matter?" Kuhn went on to point out that legislatures passed laws that enslaved Blacks in this country for 200 years: "To put it bluntly, law was the medium and lawyers were the agents responsible for turn- ing one class of human beings into property . . . Gross char- acterization of human beings in terms that reduced them to animals, or real estate, or even FROM PAGE 1 kitchen utensils now may seem so unbelievable that we all can profess shock and amazement that it was ever done." Kuhn pointed out that Thomas Jefferson co-authored the slave code of Virginia, and Abraham Lincoln once argued on behalf of a slave owner seek- ing to recover as his property a woman and her four children who had escaped to the free state of Illinois. "Looking at such familiar ex- amples and realizing how com- monplace it was for lawyers to engage in this kind of fiction, we learn, I think, that law can operate as a kind of magic," Kuhn wrote. Layrisson and his co-counsel, lead attorney David Browne of New Orleans, have not given up. Still alive is their wrong- ful death case against the local hospital and physicians, which is unaffected by the Appeals Court ruling, and that case has not yet been heard. In the swim Christa Swiger (left) and fellow Northshore Eye Associ- ates nurse Davie Keller (right) and her husband Rick are pictured enjoying Saturday's Krewe of Erin swim party at the home of the krewe's Chieftain Bryan T. McMahon. (Times Photo) FREE HD FOR LIFE! Only on DISH Network / Lowest Price In America! $ 24.99/mo for over 120 channelsl $S00 8onusl Call !-888-367-1224 UNITY WILL SECURE OUR FUTURE IN EDUCATION Paid for b~/the Chris Cohea Campaign I ing. Money talks and Glaxo has i icle 26: Art. 26. un m child I the money. As always, do not unbo child shall be eonsid d as a natural rson now hesitate to contact your doctor for whatever relates to its interests the moment of with [ I r, and inquire about safer alterna- conception, if the child is born ad, itshall be considered tive drugs, if you are a diabetic GOLDBBRfl & BORNE never to have existed as a person,: except for purposes of actions resulting from its wron death. I-8%THE-EAflLE (1-800-843-324 ) Acts 1987, No, 125, 1, eft'. Jan, 1, 1988. www,, Ask an Attorney By PARKER LAYRISSON Times Legal Columnist "Can the police stop and ticket me for texting and driving?" In a word, yes. Text messaging while driving is illegal in Louisi- ana. It is also extremely dangerous. Of dancer therapists and queens Brendan Byard McMa- hon passes a good time with Queen of Erin Kerri Glad- ney (1992). Professional dancer Susan Kierr who em- ploys her art as therapy is pictured in the background at the Krewe of Erin an- nual swim party Saturday. (Times Photo) Parker Layrisson stopped and ticketed for texting while driving despite the ab- sence of other traffic offenses. Considering the obvious dan- gers and legal liability associ- ated with texting and driving, keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road until you reach your destination. Louisiana Revised Statute 32:300.5 prohibits drivers from "using a wireless telecommu- nications device to write, send, or read a text-based communi- cation." The fine, $175 for first offense, increases to $500 for subsequent offenses. Fines can be doubled if an accident is in- volved. Texting messages while driv- ing is far more dangerous than mobile phone talking and driv- ing. Studies have shown texting drivers to be 23 times more like- ly to be involved in a crash or near-crash than non-distracted drivers. Texting takes a driver's focus away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds -- enough time to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph! In years past, the crime of texting and driving was consid- ered a secondary offense, mean- ing that police officers could not pull you over for that violation alone. However, effective Au- gust 15 text messaging while driving becomes a primary of- fense. The upshot is you can be Be prepared! 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