The Food and Drug Administration warned people recently against fake multivitamin supplements sold online. With prices at half or even a third of those sold in pharmacies, people were lured to buy what probably were nothing more than sugar pills.
As I have said before, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
No doubt there are good bargains online but prices cannot be half or a third of commercial products. For one thing, there is the shipping cost to add to the price.
In fact, because of add-ons, some online items are more expensive than those in department stores and supermarkets. But because people cannot find or have no time to look for the products in stores, they pay the additional price.
People who feel they need nutritional supplements but do not want to pay or cannot afford the price of branded products can always go generic. The branded version of the eyedrops I am using, for instance, costs more than P200 while the generic one I buy is only P80.
But some pharmacists seem apologetic for being able to offer only generics. I do not know if it is because customers still look down on generics or because they themselves do not have much faith in the quality of their products. When I handed a salesperson at Generika, a major retailer of generics, my eyedrop prescription, she said on a tentative note that they only had the generic version.
Of course, in terms of getting the right nutrients, nothing beats a healthy diet. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and fish and get all essential nutrients minus the chemical additives of processed pills.
Incidentally, generics was one of the causes the late Dr. Alberto Romualdez, a true champion of health for all Filipinos who also advocated and supported anti-smoking and reproductive health, felt strongly about. He would be sorely missed by public health campaigners.
Tax is better
I hope Romualdez’s former boss, ex-president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, will help preserve his health secretary’s legacy by implementing a no-nonsense anti-smoking program in the capital city.
Estrada does not seem to consider anti-smoking a priority since he smokes but, if he is really concerned about his constituents, he should support the campaign. It will save the city, which he said had no money, millions of pesos in medical cost arising from smoking-related diseases.
Barack Obama smoked before he became president of the United States. Whether or not he smokes in private, he is no longer seen lighting up in public. After all, as president, he is now responsible for the health of all Americans and has to be an example of healthy living.
Steve Williams, in a report published in the online Care2, said the “Centers for Disease Control found that 443,000 deaths [in the US] were caused annually by smoking (including deaths from secondhand smoke), and that this is more than ‘all the deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV that causes the acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined.’”
Williams’ report gives supporters of the new law on higher “sin” taxes more reason to celebrate. Researchers from Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown University Medical Center found, in a new global study, that tax increases seemed more effective in curbing smoking than outright bans.
Looking at 41 countries in 2007-2010, they found that, based on sales, more people dropped the habit because of taxes, compared to bans. Williams, said, “Researchers believe that if that trend holds and future emphasis is put on tax rises, seven million more deaths could be averted between now and 2050.”
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