Something about profiting from the vulnerable is unconscionable which is why I wanted to bring attention to one of the ways our society practices it. For a host of reasons people caught in the criminal justice system are being asked to wear ankle bracelets. Often these keep them from being in jail while awaiting trial. Of course sometimes people are innocent but need a trial to prove it. There is a catch. In St Louis, the city ProPublica investigated, EMASS (Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services) the company that operates these ankle bracelets is a private company which charges $10 a day and the bill must be paid in full before the ankle bracelet is removed. As can be imagined this can be tough for many. And while being in jail is technically the alternative, aside from the hardship of life in prison, for some that would mean a loss of a job. As we know young Black men are disproportionately caught in this system and that bill or debt can make it even harder for them to bring some kind of normalcy to their lives.
Like private prisons, these companies work to sustain and enlarge their bottom line. Profit ought not to be part of the justice system. And while that may not be the current trend, it remains what is necessary.
Please note, we will be on hiatus for the month of August. See you back in September.
About 50 years ago the FDA instituted expiration dates on
drugs, meaning that was the date, typically two to three years, until which
they could guarantee efficiency. Well, it turns out that is not so. A
toxicologist from the California Poison Control Center and a research pharmacist
from the University of California San Francisco teamed up and discovered drugs
can last often years longer. They studied 14 compounds and out of those 12
retained their efficiency. Of course the present system suits drug companies.
The federal government stockpiles many medications which periodically have to
be discarded. Nursing homes discard medications once a patient leaves and
pharmacies certainly have to. All in all the researchers found that the waste
in the health care system amounts to $765 billion a year, something like a
quarter of health care spending. And drug waste account for a large portion of
ProPublica conducted the investigation that exposed these facts. Now it’s up to us to start using them. It will be a long time before Big Pharma owns up to this fact since it improves their bottom line, and it will equally be a long time before the FDA changes its rules. But we can heed this revelation and not go by the expiration date of given drugs. Two expensive drugs I was using, one a cream, another an inhaler reinforced the point the researchers made. I used them beyond the expiration date with no difference, and when I mentioned it to my doctor, she said “sure, that’s fine.”