Today’s news:

Never go generic

To The Editor:

I enjoy reading your column every week! The week of the 22nd in your column was right on target! You have no idea how right you were. If you care to talk in length about that specific column I will leave my name and number at the end of this.

I would like to say that “In My Opinion” generic drugs are garbage!! They work on some, but have not worked on me. “The Union” say “they” are the same as the brand name! I probed it to myself though it was costly for a person on Social Security. I tried to explain that you could never buy a good “Macy’s” shirt in the 99 cent stores to give another practical ideology, and was not told that I was right. I also had noticed a number of years ago that the brand name extra strength Tylenol are also different (the “tabs” and the “capsules”), for pain relief! I should know. If you ever notice at the large pharmacies, they always have the “tabs” but most of the time the gel capsules are already gone. Same thing, yet people are finally getting the difference and waking up. Why is a medication designed to do the same thing not the same?

Also I have a few more “In my Opinions” so I hope you don’t mind reading all this. Sorry I can’t afford a {.C. and though I would like one, due to my illnesses, its not anywhere “in my future”. I had a Dell once, and that was enough of Dell for me! I gave it away! Ha! (True story)

In my opinion, is it only me who wonders what is recycled into what, exactly? I think consumers should be informed. Who knows what paper products and such we use and what it “actually” came from? There are many other instances of this too.

In my opinion, everyone is so worried about second-hand smoke as if its some sort of cure-all for all illness if you don’t inhale it (yes, I smoke). I know many smokers who have lived into their 90’s and also others today who don’t mind if one smokes a cigarette. I laugh especially when some one says you can’t even smoke outside a certain builidng when all the gas, diesel fuels and germs from other people put us at a much higher risk than a few cigarettes. However, I do not condone or encourage starting smoking at all!

I also have a severe case of “fibromyalgia” and “chronic fatigue syndrome” (syndromes common in many Gulf War veterans), and they keep me homebound. I’ve done research at the libraries and from my grandson’s P.C. and nowhere does it mention smoking as a factor except it does say smoking is “a pain reflector” and actually helps. Crazy, but true. I used to own my own small business in the 80’s and I freelanced my handcrafted ideas, stories, recipes, etc. to women’s magazines. Lord, how I miss having a life! The story of my life is long, sad and complicated, especially to me. That is why I enjoy creating one-of-a-kinds of things my brain goes off on! Can’t do it right now because there is no place in this apartment as of yet to even make a working area with my bad back and hips. Lucky me, huh? I will finally maybe reach 60 this October, who knows?

Another “In my Opinion” is that I am tired of us Americans always getting the short end of the stick no matter how many jobs we have had at one time, with barely a vacation to spare. Yet these ILLEGAL citizens are coming here and living better than us. My granddad, who is gone now, came through Ellis Island, and they did not fool around back then with health issues. Today we are expected to learn everyone’s language and English is becoming a second language. My grandfather was required to learn English, just so he could work, he did not get handouts from the government!

I have much more I would like to say, but thanks to my back pains I will have to conclude my letter. It is up to you if you would want to address any of my opinions in your next article, but if you could throw in my initials or something, that would be great!

Thanks so much for your time and great skills at writing such wonderful columns!

Jo-Ann Scanapico

Bensonhurst

Stanley Gershbein responds:

Dear Ms. Scarpacio,

Thank you very much for writing. Your letter contains so many issues for discussion and I would love to offer my views on all of them but with the constraints put on me I’ll offer my thoughts on one now and you can look for others in future columns.

Generic medications are, according to the federal authorities, exactly the same as the brand. There was a time, about thirty years ago, when so many of them were not. As a pharmacist, I carefully examined my inventory for what are known as “drug recalls.”

Those were the items that we in the business were ordered to remove from our dispensing stock. Some medications were recalled because of contamination, some for mislabeling, and some for being under, or over, potency.

The overwhelming majority of recalls were generics. There were very few from the major pharmaceutical manufacturers. In fact, there were so few that when there was a rare problem with a brand name product it made headlines. Obviously Merck and Pfizer had better “quality control.”

That was a long time ago and since then generics as a group have come a long way. The recalls now are a small fraction of what they were yesteryear. Are they perfect? According to you and some others I speak to, the answer is “No!” Not by a long shot. The FDA says they are. Your body says they aren’t.

Knowing what I’ve learned about fillers, coatings and time disintegration methods, I’m betting on you.

Thanks again for writing.

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