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Over-the-counter Culture

November 03, 1996

Linda Marsa's article, "America's Other Drug Problem" (Sept. 29), was outstanding and should be required reading by medical students, residents and, especially, by those primary-care physicians in managed-care programs who are overwhelmed by the number of patients assigned to them.

Dr. Carl K. Pearlman

Santa Ana

*

I've thought often about the use of drugs in our society--legal, illegal, prescribed and over-the-counter. Our lifestyle stresses that the only way to achieve and prosper is to sacrifice all for your job or career. Don't call in sick, even if you are; don't even appear to be sick. Working overtime and on your days off and being on call during vacations are common.

Sleep, family, relaxation, proper eating and recreational activities are considered selfish, time-consuming pursuits. If you want to be considered for a promotion, you must eat, sleep and breathe the industry you work in.

Even activities that should improve well-being (sports, recreation, socializing) instead become battlefields for employers and employees. Those who dare to believe in holistic healing, natural methods of relieving stress and the benefits of living balanced lives are often considered New Age fanatics.

Is it really any wonder that many people search out quick and easy cures for their illnesses?

Marilyn Anita Dalrymple

Lancaster

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Marsa's article was quite informative, but there was one important omission: When prescription drugs become available over the counter, their cost is no longer reimbursed by health insurance carriers. Who loses? The consumer.

Lynda Roose

Valley Village

*

The FDA's mission is not to be a "good guy" public watchdog but rather to maintain the doctor-pharmaceutical monopoly. In short, it's about power. If that were not so, the FDA would be what it should be: an advisory agency, along the lines of Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

The FDA, in effect, condemns thousands to death each year by keeping legitimate drugs and medical procedures off the market.

Mark A. Tarbell

Walnut

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