Letters To The Editor - Comment offered on drugs, supplements

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I am happy Don Casebolt decided to acknowledge drugs approved by the FDA are not always as safe as he stated. Now I feel obligated to respond to some of his concerns about me, the letter writer he mentioned in his column.

I am a retired RN and currently have a part-time practice of acupuncture and hypnotherapy. I am in no way involved in the production, distribution or sale of supplements nor do I recommend them for any of my clients. I don't even take them myself with the exception of Chinese herbs and then only occasionally.

Also, I do not take any prescribed medication. Only rarely do I take an over-the -counter pain medication for my elderly aches and pains when I have done too much gardening.

In his most recent column, Casebolt questioned the source of the investigation of the FDA by the Office of Inspector General. This was on the website naturalnews.com. His column also prompted a memory of another questionable and unsafe practice and that is doctors prescribing drugs for off-label, unapproved use. Although it is not illegal for them to do this, it is illegal for drug companies to advertise such. Does that stop them?

In 2008, the Connecticut Attorney General's Office issued a press release of one such company violating that law.

As far as a supplement being dangerous when used with a prescribed medication, I consider it the doctor's responsibility to inform his/her patient when that may be the case. However, if one would take aspirin while taking Coumadin, that could be dangerous and life-threatening and we would not say aspirin is an unsafe drug.

I definitely agree with Dr. Casebolt that a healthy lifestyle goes a long way toward avoiding illness and disease. I also feel people can do more by being responsible for their own health and do research on any substance they plan to put into their bodies.

It is very true that there are people/companies who are only too glad to relieve people of their money and will promise anything. At the same time, I cannot be convinced that Big Pharma is only concerned with the health and safety of the public. There is the issue of lots of money to be made.

Mary Kay Pinnick
Walla Walla

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