I don't read health magazines. Here's one reason why.


oct2009_mag150x200.jpgI don't usually read HEALTH magazine, but a Time, Inc. PR person sent me a news release promoting the October issue.

The article headlined "NATURAL CURES YOU NEED NOW" jumped out at me.

But when I read the article, evidence - data - did not jump out at me.

The article promoted calcium, magnesium, iron, omega 3 supplements, eleuthero and licorice for women in their 30s; black cohosh, probiotics, flaxseed and vitamin B12 for those in their 40s; and vitamin D, Replens, hawthorn and zinc for women in their 50s.

All of those promotional claims without one single shred of evidence or data to back them up.

But the story did include costs of most of the products - although it didn't explain the cost per unit - how much money for how much product.

Nonetheless, the overall cost of the products promoted totaled $207.37.

Time, Inc. - keep sending me your news releases. I'm not likely to subscribe. But I sure want to keep current on these bargain cures each month - these "cures I need now."


this brings up a "whole nother" issue in the health care debates. Why do we allow the promotion of all these supplements that have marginal benefit at best, to be promoted with vague language and very little evidence for benefit?
Billions are spent yearly, and people buy these supplements and things all the time. Yet they have big problems paying doctors and fulfilling their copays and deductibles.
Can you put this on the list of things to reform, Mr Obama?

People buy a lot of things while complaining they can't afford health care--things that are known to be harmful, like cigarettes and alcohol--as well as things they simply want--like vacations and new cars. You are generalizing to the point of saying that the people buying supplements are the ones who have "big problems paying doctors...", and that this is in need of "reform". Do you have proof supporting that statement? While I am not one of those "people (who) buy supplements and things all the time", I support their right to do so, to make their own decisions about their health, nutrition, and lifestyle. If they choose to try an herbal remedy or supplement, and it helps them, then good for them. In the meantime, some doctors push prescription drugs as if they are candy. It's a "try this and see if it helps" approach, despite the known risks and side-effects of many of the drugs that are prescribed. Talk about something in need of reform!

My family struggles financially, due to health care needs, not because we indulge in buying supplements but because health care is expensive. 1/5 of my husband's salary pays his employer-sponsored insurance plan and out-of-pocket costs. We choose the most expensive, comprehensive plan because we have to, with three children seeing various specialists, two who have congenital heart defects, and expensive surgeries looming in the future. We might groan at the expense, yet we make sacrifices and pay our share. If, at any time, we choose to try some herbal remedy or supplement, I know it will not be the downfall of our financial state--health care costs are doing that already.

And while supplements might "have marginal benefit at best", I have yet to find enough evidence for or against them. So why make them the target of what is wrong with health care? When you have the proof against them, please share it. It comes down to having choice, a freedom to make one's own decisions, that is important to me.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Gary Schwitzer published on September 29, 2009 8:52 AM.

Editorial poses tough questions about shared decision-making in prostate cancer screening decisions was the previous entry in this blog.

Journalists across the US should be prepared for pharma conflict of interest stories is the next entry in this blog.

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