Double Dose: Sex Trade Foes Stung by Spitzer’s Fall; Managing Online Health Records; The New Face of AIDS is a Black Woman; Pre-Schoolers and Body Image

By Christine |

E-Mail Discussed Unapproved Use of Drug: “John C. Lechleiter, an Eli Lilly official who is about to become the company’s top executive, wrote an e-mail message in 2003 that appears to have encouraged Lilly to promote its schizophrenia medicine Zyprexa for a use not approved by federal drug regulators,” reports today’s New York Times. Why is this an issue?

The e-mail message was discussed this week in an Anchorage courtroom in a lawsuit against Lilly by the State of Alaska. The suit seeks reimbursement for the medical costs of Medicaid patients who developed diabetes while taking Zyprexa.

The drug causes severe weight gain and cholesterol problems in many patients and has been linked to diabetes.

Zyprexa is federally approved only for use by adults diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. While doctors are free to prescribe it “off label” for any patients for any use, it would be a violation of federal law for Lilly to actively encourage off-label use of the drug.

Bed Rest: Writing at Feminist Law Professors, David S. Cohen describes his wife being prescribed bed rest for preeclampsia and the questions it raises about medical logic and stereotypes.

Online Records: The Washington Post looks at the pros and cons of trusting your health records to online technology. There are now more than 100 websites offering management of personal health records.

Foes of Sex Trade Stung by Eliot Spitzer’s Fall: Until he was linked to a prostitution ring, the about-to-be-former New York governor was a strong ally of human rights groups, “which credit him with what they call the toughest and most comprehensive anti-sex-trade law in the nation,” reports The New York Times. The Times talked with Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of Equality Now:

Too often, Ms. Bien-Aimé maintained, the public imagines a huge divide between the kind of glamorous call girl depicted in a movie like “Pretty Woman,” and the lurid, violent world of trafficked women in a film like “Eastern Promises.” But they are all part of a commercial sex industry that buys women’s bodies, she said, citing studies that put the average age of entry into prostitution in the United States at 14.

“There’s no sliding scale in the exploitation of women,” she said. “Either you exploit a woman in the commercial sex trade or you don’t.”

Because Mr. Spitzer seemed to agree, she said, “he was our hero.”

Silence Will Not Protect You: “On this day, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, AIDS now bears a black female face,” writes Diary of an Anxious Black Woman. “Unlike gay men in the ’80s, however, we are conspicuously silent (or rather “silenced”) in mainstream media and within the national conscience.” She continues:

Unlike gay men in the ’80s, who broke the silences surrounding their sexuality – promoting condom use through newsletters and even in gay porn (even though gay porn and personal relationships of late have dangerously resorted back to “bareback sex”) – black women, who now comprise 70% of new AIDS cases and, if aged between 19 and 44, will most likely die by this disease, have not rallied publicly through collective rage (I’m very angry to see such high statistics among my sisters, aren’t you?). We have not promoted, in TLC fashion (remember when they used to sport those condoms in their clothing?), condom use among women and girls through our erotic fiction, music, and videos (I know at least one porn star who gave out “goodies” at the Harlem Book Fair last summer but didn’t bother to distribute condoms) nor have we staged walkouts at various church services when they promote violent homophobia and “wives submit” type sermons. We have not stormed through the Stock Exchange to demand affordable drugs for black women here and overseas, nor have we staged sit-ins at various corrections facilities and hospitals and schools, which have all colluded in the silent devastation of our communities through the spread of HIV/AIDS.

We have not figured out, as the gay men of the ’80s did, that there is an insidious agenda to let us die.

Expert Hired to Guide Title IX Effort: “The University of Colorado appointed one of its staunchest critics Monday to advise the school on women’s safety issues, fulfilling the final requirement of a $2.85 million settlement with two former students,” reports the Denver Post. “Nancy Hogshead-Makar, an educator and 1984 Olympian, will independently oversee Title IX compliance, including matters regarding sexual harassment, sexual assault and gender discrimination.”

CU, you may remember, made headlines after a former student was raped during a high school recruitment party. The school overhauled its athletic program and several school officials were ousted. Best quote: “The best way to prevent a sex harassment or a sex assault claim is to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault,” said Hogshead-Makar.

The Long-Term Cost of Childhood Abuse: Middle-aged women who suffered physical or sexual abuse as children spend up to one-third more than average in health care costs, according to a long-term study of more than 3,000 women (mean age: 47 years) that appears in the March issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

After accounting for women’s age and education, the health care costs for women who were sexually abused were 16 percent higher than non-abused women; physically abused women’s costs were 22 percent higher. For women who suffered both types of abuse, their costs rose 36 percent above average.

“What’s remarkable is that women with an average age in their late 40s still suffer consequences from abuse that occurred decades ago,” said Amy Bonomi, associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University, who led the study at Group Health in Seattle. “No other study has found that before.”

Pre-schoolers Discuss Body Image, Diversity: Because it’s never too soon.

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