Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Disturbing Article on MSNBC

A recent article on kids and health on MSNBC reports that doctors are suggesting children as young as eight years old start taking cholesterol lowering drugs. We find this really disturbing and bizarre -- part of a growing trend in America to medicalize everything about our children's childhoods and treat every problem with drugs.

When drugs are given to children the people who stand to gain the most are the drug companies who profit from every sale.

When we were in Niger, West Africa for a year we had two kinds of health insurance. Neither would pay for the only malaria preventive medicine that was safe for our family (our son has a rare genetic condition, a G6PD deficiency (also known as favism) and he cannot take quinine-based drugs of any kind; I had a violently bad reaction to mefloquine, the anti-malarial of choice even though mosquitoes are resistant to it these days) even though the insurance companies would have been responsible if any of us contracted malaria. The pills we took cost $5 a pill and needed to be taken daily and we paid out of pocket for them until we realized that we were spending more than $1000 beyond what the Fulbright Fellowship stipend was giving us and that we simply didn't have the money. Then we stopped taking any malaria preventative medication. There's a lot wrong with America's health care system -- our inability to pay for needed medication and the recommendation that children take drugs for high cholesterol are two good examples of that.

Let's give our kids fresh air, exercise, and a healthy diet that does not include any processed foods or high cholesterol foods. Let's support organic farmers not irresponsible drug companies. Let's not give 8-year-olds cholesterol lowering medication. Okay?


Om. said...

Wow so when are you going back to Niger

About the book said...

No plans to return to Niger any time soon, though we are open to any and all possibilities and the Director of the American Cultural Center has talked several times about inviting me. If you have any ideas, let me know!


Sue said...

I agree! 8 years old seems a bit to young for cholesterol medication!