Time for a Dialogue
I lean heavily on the feedback I receive from all of you because it helps me to shape the direction of this magazine. Many times, readers alert me to debates about hot topics taking place in the diabetes community, and other times I like to start discussions myself.
Let’s try a few on for size.
Would This Plan Compromise New York Diabetics’ Privacy?
A new plan proposed by New York City health officials would require medical labs to report patients’ A1C results to the city. According to a July 26, 2005, Associated Press report, Thomas Frieden, the city’s health commissioner, believes that “…by pinpointing problem patients, then intervening ever so slightly in their care … the city can improve thousands of lives.”
New York already tracks people with infectious diseases as a way to halt epidemics. However, diabetes is not infectious. This begs the question: Would New York’s diabetics have their privacy invaded by a plan such as this?
James Pyles, an attorney who represents healthcare groups concerned with medical privacy, told AP writer David B. Caruso, “Unless diabetics are asked for their consent, it would be ‘an outright violation of the constitutional right to privacy’ for the government to obtain their identities.”
Would you give up some of your privacy if it meant that you could get proper medical intervention if your numbers went bad?
The ADA’s Controversial New Fundraising Efforts
I am a proud supporter and member of the American Diabetes Association, and as a member, I feel I have the right to question its motives from time to time. I was bewildered this past June 11, while attending the Scientific Sessions in San Diego, to read a flyer for an ADA symposium entitled “Managing Sweetness and Patient Health: Scientific Straight Talk on Sugars, Sweeteners and Health.” What surprised me was the flyer’s statement that the symposium was “supported by an unrestricted educational grant from The Coca-Cola Company.”
Coca-Cola? Makers of the beverage that has 39 grams of sugar per can? And they were sponsoring a diabetes-related symposium, on sweeteners, no less?
Taking the matter one step further, the ADA announced on April 21, 2005, that it was launching a three-year, million-dollar alliance with Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages (CSAB) “to fight obesity and diabetes in America.”
Really? Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages?
This is the company that makes A&W Root Beer, 7-Up and Hawaiian Punch, as well as the Cadbury brand of chocolate bars.
Does Eating Sugar Cause Diabetes?
In a May 9, 2005, interview, Richard Kahn, PhD, the ADA’s chief scientific and medical officer, defended the $1 million alliance by saying, “What is the evidence that sugar itself has anything to do with diabetes? There is no evidence …. There is not a shred of evidence that sugar per se has anything to do with getting diabetes.”
Dr. Kahn makes many good points, and the interview is posted at www.corporatecrimereporter.com/diabetes051605.htm.
This Just In: Warning Labels on Soft Drink Packaging?
An article in the July 14, 2005, issue of The New York Times reported that the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA that soft drink labeling should include a warning to alert consumers that soft drinks may cause obesity and other health problems.
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on these issues. Drop me an e-mail and let’s get a dialogue going.
Type 1, 30 years (and counting)
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