Mar 29

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Various groups and individuals representing animal agriculture and the animal health industries feel FDA has failed to substantiate, on a scientific basis, a human health hazard resulting from fluoroquinolone use in poultry. In written comments filed with the agency, industry has told FDA it believes its action was based on unfounded assumptions, selective data and inappropriate risk assessments.

The issue of antibiotic resistance, including that being associated with fluoroquinolone use in poultry, is definitely a sensitive and far-reaching matter. It is an issue that concerns those producing meat products as well as those consuming them. Nevertheless, the points industry raises should not be ignored or simply brushed aside, for if they hold true, FDA could actually be putting more consumers at risk by banning fluoroquinolone use in poultry then by allowing the antimicrobial to remain on the market. There’s no question poultry producers and the birds they raise will suffer from the product’s removal.

Much of the difference of opinion that exists between FDA and industry surrounds the assessment of risk in regard to fluoroquinolone use in chickens and fluoroquinolone-resistant campylobacter in humans. Both sides believe the use of antibiotics in humans or animals could eventually result in the development of resistance or the creation of conditions that allow the expression and recognition of resistance genes that existed prior to antibiotic use. The unknown is the degree to which this has already occurred with campylobacter in poultry and whether an unacceptable risk is created when compared with the risks resulting from the withdrawal of therapeutic uses of enrofloxacin in poultry. As pointed out by the American Veterinary Medical Assn. (AVMA) and others, these risks include reduced animal health and welfare …


Mar 28

Hannah Hawkins, a Baptist who converted to Roman Catholicism, seems to relish breaking the mold and being difficult to pigeonhole. She started the Children of Mine Center for two reasons.

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After working for Brooklyn College Community Partnership, she worked for eight years as an advisory neighborhood commissioner for Washington, D.C. In the District of Columbia, there are 37 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, each composed of nine members. The groups advise the city government on issues such as zoning, streets, recreation, education, social services, sanitation, planning, safety, and health. Hawkins’ ANC work brought her into intimate contact with the ills besetting her community. She saw how crack cocaine was affecting the young people–and their children. She saw many young men being sent off to be warehoused in prison. She saw many young women jailed. She saw the despair.

In addition, her three sons–she has five children and is a grandmother of four–all became crack addicts. (Today, they have recovered and hold jobs. One is a chef at a halfway house. Another is a landscaper. Her daughters work in the computer field for the federal government.) Struggling with a heartbreaking situation so close to home moved her to become an activist.

Hawkins, who worked for 30 years as an administrative aide in the D.C. school system, being forced to retire on disability due to dangerously high blood pressure, was elected vice president of a group called Concerned Mothers Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Through her work there, she came in touch with a stream of wives and mothers and caring relatives in anguish because their loved ones had fallen prey to “this scourge.”

“JFK once said that he could not have …


Mar 27

infiniti-changeMost normal people try to give you some idea why the vehicle is in for service. They call before they come in, or they leave a note with the vehicle. These individuals realize that the more information they give us, the faster we can zero in on the problem and return the vehicle in a reasonable period of time. The other folks just don’t seem to understand that in order for the system to work they have to participate. Otherwise, the whole process screeches to a halt. The two vehicles in question had no such information accompanying them. They were just there.

In California, there isn’t a hell of a lot I can do with a vehicle that is just ‘there.’ Without a signed, written repair order, I’m dead in the water. That authorization must be for specific automotive service work and it must come from the registered vehicle owner in order to safely remain within the law. Remaining within the law roughly translates to retaining any hope of getting paid if there is a problem. Consequently, we’re pretty careful about who we trust when a vehicle appears without its owner or a clear, written authorization to proceed. We have to be.

The two cars left in the driveway were left without an appointment, authorization or instructions. Nevertheless, they were blocking the driveway and we had to do something with them or effectively remain closed for the rest of the day.

Reinforcing my theory that crazies love company, both owners turned up at precisely the same moment.

Both had been to the shop with other cars and other work in the past and had left the two vehicles in question


Mar 11

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Once a brief guided tour of the dispensary, led by pharmacist Shafeeque Mohammed, was over,Mr Murdock’s first task of the day was to check the repeat prescriptions that had already been prepared by a dispenser.

Most of it was “pretty standard stuff” and, with the exception of one incomplete prescription, the job was finished without any major problems. The help of the BNF was only needed on a couple of occasions.

As the pharmacy is directly opposite a health centre and near a hospital, plenty of prescriptions soon started coming in and Mr Murdock and Mr Mohammed were suddenly extremely busy.

Getting into the swing

Mr Murdock seemed to find his bearings very quickly and was soon turning round prescriptions quite rapidly. There was some Calpol to be measured and poured into a bottle, and 84 Deltacortril tablets to be counted up.

“We used to do a lot more counting in my day; that has changed quite a lot with the introduction of patient packs, and rightly so,” said Mr Murdock.

He would like to see the introduction of patient packs speeded up, estimating that the current split is about 60 to 40 per cent in favour of packs. He put the blame for the delay firmly on the current Government.

“The last Tory Government was going to fund conversion to patient packs, but when Labour came into power they said `no way’ and insisted that the industry paid for it,” he explained, adding that no agreement on the subject had been reached with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee either.

“It is a huge investment on industry’s part, but one that would allow us to automate a lot more,” he …


Mar 3

An announcement of unusual importance to every business owner

FOUR years ago, the Mechanical Contractors Association of Greater Kansas City, with help from the Kansas Association of Addiction Professionals, adopted and implemented a Drug Abuse Policy following negotiations with Plumbers Local No. 8 and Pipe Fitters Local No. 533.

In announcing it to the public, MCA said:

 

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“It is our policy to provide a safe and healthful workplace for all employees. We understand that the construction industry is an inherently dangerous industry that is internally regulated by a variety of local, state and federal regulations. We recognize the problems and hazards associated with the use of drugs, alcohol and controlled substances.

“The purpose of this policy and program is to establish and promote a safe, efficient and productive working environment for all employees by providing a workplace and workforce free from illegal drugs, alcohol and controlled substances. This policy shall apply to all employees performing work covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreements. Each employer shall have in place a similar policy which shall apply to all other employees.”

If the contractors and two unions were starting to create an agreement and contract today, or asked to restate the policy, the parties involved would not change one sentence or one word of the original announcement. In plain, simple language, it gives the reason for the very existence of the Association and explains its membership growth.

MCA is still proud of the record of its proven drug policy. If the Association were not, it would not have continued to implement it for so long.

Just recently, for example, the fourth annual month-long drug screening was conducted in seven different area …