Monthly Archives: June 2010

The cost of cheap drugs

The cost of cheap drugs

HYDERABAD, India, Sept 29 (Reuters) Centuries ago, Indian princes would bathe in the cool Kazhipally lake in Medak. Now, even the poorest villagers here in India’s baking south point to the barren banks and frothy water and say they avoid going anywhere near it.

A short drive from the bustling tech hub of Hyderabad, Medak is the heart of India’s antibiotics manufacturing business: a district of about 2.5 million that has become one of the world’s largest suppliers of cheap drugs to most markets, including the United States.

But community activists, researchers and some drug company employees say the presence of more than 300 drug firms, combined with lax oversight and inadequate water treatment, has left lakes and rivers laced with antibiotics, making this a giant Petri dish for anti microbial resistance.

“Resistant bacteria are breeding here and will affect the whole world,” said Kishan Rao, a doctor and activist who has been working in Patancheru, a Medak industrial zone where many drug manufacturers have bases, for more than two decades. giant Mylan Inc, say they comply with local environmental rules and do not discharge effluent into waterways.

National and local government are divided on the scale of the problem.

While the Central Pollution Control Board (PCB) in New Delhi categorises Medak’s Patancheru area as “critically polluted”, the state PCB says its own monitoring shows the situation has improved.

The rise of drug resistant “superbugs” is a growing threat to modern medicine, with the emergence in the past year of infections resistant to even cheap jerseys last resort antibiotics.

In the United States alone, antibiotic resistant bacteria cause 2 million serious infections and 23,000 deaths annually, according to health officials.

Thirteen leading drugmakers promised last week to clean up pollution from factories making antibiotics as part of a drive to fight the rise of drug resistant superbugs, while United Nations member countries pledged for the first time to take steps to tackle the threat.


Patancheru is one of the main pharmaceutical manufacturing hubs in Telangana state, where the sector accounts for around 30 percent of GDP, according to commerce ministry data. Drug exports from state capital Hyderabad are worth around $14 billion annually.

Local doctor Rao pointed to studies by scientists from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg that have found very high levels of pharmaceutical pollution in and around Kazhipally lake, along with the presence of antibiotic resistant genes.

The scientists have been publishing research on pollution in the area for nearly a decade. Their first study, in 2007, said antibiotic concentrations in effluent from a treatment plant used by drug factories were higher than would be expected in the blood of patients undergoing a course of treatment. That effluent was discharged into local lakes and rivers, they said.

“The polluted lakes harboured considerably higher proportions of ciprofloxacin resistant and sulfamethoxazole resistant bacteria than did other Indian and Swedish lakes included for comparison,” said their latest report, in 2015, referring to the generic names of two widely used antibiotics.

Those findings are disputed by local government officials and industry representatives.

The Hyderabad based Bulk Drug Manufacturers Association of India (BDMAI) said the state pollution control board had found no antibiotics in its own study of water in Kazhipally lake. The state PCB did not provide a copy of this report, despite several requests from Reuters.

“I have not seen any credible report that says that the drugs are no longer there,” Joakim Larsson, a professor of environmental pharmacology at the University of Gothenburg who led the first Swedish study and took part in the others, told Reuters by email.

“There might very well have been improvements, but without data, I do not know.”Local activists and researchers say the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) built in Medak in the 1990s was ill equipped to handle large volumes of pharmaceutical waste.

After protests and court cases brought by local villagers a 20 km (12 mile) pipeline was built to take effluent to another plant near Hyderabad. But activists say that merely diverted the problem waste sent there, they say, mixes with domestic sewage before the treated effluent is discharged into the Musi river.

A study published this year by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, found very high levels of broad spectrum antibiotics in the Musi, a tributary of the Krishna, one of India’s longest rivers.

The Cost Of Cheap Clothes

The Cost Of Cheap Clothes

A total of 112 people were killed and at least 200 more were injured in a fire Saturday at the Tazreen Fashions Factory, located near Bangladesh capital city Dhaka. Two days later, another apparel factory near Dhaka caught fire. Ten people were injured after jumping from windows to escape the inferno at the 10 story building. Eye witnesses say that managers had locked the windows and gates to the buildings, which had no fire escapes, effectively trapping the workers in.

Photos of items sold at Wal Mart taken in the Tazreen Fashions factory surfaced in the days following the fire. Today, we have terminated the relationship with that supplier, Wal Mart said.

Sears also said that the factory produced merchandise for the retailer without its approval and that it has since terminated its relationship with the vendor.

On its website, Wal Mart says it monitors undisclosed subcontracting by conducting audits and enhancing its standards for suppliers. It defines subcontracting as factories in its supply chain that weren properly disclosed or that it didn know about.

Sears also said that the factory violated its code of conduct.

Workers rights experts, however, claim that it unlikely that retailers wouldn know where their stuff is produced, as a matter of cost and production control.

order to be profitable, you have to control the supply chain, monitor quality, prices and the speed of delivery, said Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium. strange that a company would say they had no idea who was making stuff cheap jerseys for them. website says the retailer conducted 9,737 audits on 8,713 factories that supply private label and non branded goods to Wal Mart in 2011. The audits, completed by what it calls accredited or internationally recognized auditing firms, are carried out every six to 24 months.

But the reports are not published online. Nor are they shown to factory workers, according to Nova.

no transparency. They never publish their findings as to whether or not there a violation, so there not much scrutiny about the audits, he said.

The issue, experts say, runs deeper, to a conflict between selling clothes at a cut rate price versus bolstering the rights of workers.

In order to keep production prices low, Nova said that companies rely on cheap labor, which often goes hand in hand with low wages, poor working conditions and safety concerns.

one hand, brands are telling factories to improve conditions, but on the other hand they telling them they need lower prices, he said. have workers at factories making 18 cents an hour to keep prices down, but they recognize that the consequence are egregious situations like this fire. retailers contend with competing interests, local governments also play a role in why these issues aren addressed. According to Charles Kernaghan, director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, the Bangladesh government is anxious to hang on to the apparel business because it is a huge part of the country economy.

is such a poor country and so desperate for jobs that they ignore the most minimal labor rights standard, he said. as if everything has to give way just to maintain these garment jobs. There a fear that the labels will flee and go to another country. rights experts say that the government turns a blind eye to buildings with no fire safety standards, filthy factory conditions and pitiful wages.

The cost of a fancy coffee can help finance Long Beach infrastructure repairs

The cost of a fancy coffee can help finance Long Beach infrastructure repairs

As much as we try to dodge the issue of full disclosure in all of our endeavors, we don think we can get away with writing in favor of a temporary increase in the sales tax in Long Beach without noting that our wife is cheap jerseys an employee of the city and therefore we are steadfastly in favor of bloated city salaries, overly generous pensions and anything else that trickles down to her husband who stuck in a go nowhere private sector job.

We should also note, in the interest of the full transparency that all the rage these days, that our singular selfishness is why we are in favor of Measure A, which, if passed by Long Beach voters on June 7, would bring in $150 million to pay for long overdue infrastructure projects including street, sidewalk and alley repair, park and library improvements and a lot more, because we own a house, and it be worth a lot more if it in a neighborhood where the roads are smooth, the parks are green and the library roof isn going all convex on us.

It been too long since Long Beachers have pitched in and voted for anything to add to the city ever dwindling funds. They been pretty enthusiastic about tax cuts, though. They been overjoyed with cheap gas, but they balked at paying for improvements to the city. They haven approved any general tax measure in almost 40 years, though they approved specific expenditures for Long Beach City College and the Long Beach Unified School District.

that tells me is that Long Beach has made the decision to invest in everyone but the city, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia told us on Wednesday. cut taxes and they vote no. your own home, if you have a leaky faucet, you fix it or it gets worse. That what been happening in Long Beach. This hasn happened overnight. Things have been falling apart, and it been getting worse. the increasingly distant past, Long Beach voters ponied up for things that made the city great, including the Municipal Auditorium, the Belmont Plaza Pool, airport improvements and, in the 1960s, the last infrastructure bond.

The Measure A tax increase wouldn be a crippling one, Garcia said.

He pointed at our cup of cappuccino. much did you pay for that? he asked. We pointed out we paid for his drink, too. Ten bucks for both with tip.

dollars a month is about what the increase will mean to the average person in Long Beach. Just the price for a coffee at Starbucks. does everyone pick on Starbucks when it cost cutting time? We were drinking at Kress Market on Pine.

There is no shortage of people who are against the temporary sales tax increase. They fall anywhere from declaring it just another way for politicians to their pockets to suspecting it a back door way to funnel more money into the budget devouring police and fire departments.

But it a sure thing that the city is losing revenue, thanks in large part to tax cuts, cratering oil income and the continuing crippling effects of Prop. 13.

At some point, and this might sound charmingly naive, you need to trust the city to use the money to repair itself, even if it means our wife doesn get to stuff taxpayer money into her purse to bring it home to her devoted husband who would squander it on another guitar.

The cost of a DWI in Greene County

The cost of a DWI in Greene County

Many people will be out drinking to celebrate the holiday, and police will be out looking for drunk drivers. So if you’re going to join the party, you’ll want to find a sober driver. Or, just pay for a ride, because it’s going to be much cheaper than a DWI. We did the math.

Defense Attorney Scott Pierson said, “DWIs are not cheap, and they’re only getting more expensive.”

Pierson is an attorney who handles hundreds of DWI cases a year. When it comes to paying for a DWI, he says hiring a lawyer will cost a first time offender about $2,000.

“So those cheap drinks have already become really expensive by the time you’ve hired an attorney,” he said.

He says you’ll have to pay the courts about $750 in fees and fines. Pierson says you’ll also be required to take a class through the Missouri Department of Mental Health called SATOP. According to the state’s website, it’ll cost at least $500.

“It’s an educational program to help re affirm that somebody won’t get a DWI in the future,” said Pierson.

DWI offenders also have to do community service. That costs money, too.

“You have to pay to do community service, if you’re through Greene County. You go through the CASP office, depending on how many hours you have to do, you have to pay them to monitor your hours,” Pierson said.

You’ll probably have to get an ignition interlock device installed in your car that makes you take a breathalyzer test before you can turn on the engine. That’ll cost at least $75 a month. If you’re required to have it for ten months, that’s $750.

Your car will probably be towed while you get a ride to jail. A Springfield towing company told tells KSPR News that’s going to cost you at least $70.

We totaled it all up, and it came to $8,170 cheap jerseys dollars. Of course, that’s just an estimate to show you how fast the costs can add up. Every DWI case will be different.

“You know, people think of it as maybe being a little bit worse than a speeding ticket. It’s way worse than a speeding ticket,” explained Pierson, “It’s a very serious crime that has very serious ramifications going down the road,” said Pearson.

The cost of a Big Mac

The cost of a Big Mac

The British publication, The Economist, has been trying to make global currencies and their exchange rates easily understood by comparing the price of a Big Mac hamburger in various international currencies.

What the index does is take the price of the Big Mac in U. S. currency, then calculates how many dollars of the subject country it would take to match that U. S. amount.

In the words of The Economist editors, “the Big Mac Index is based on the theory of purchasing power parity (PPP), which says that exchange rates should move to make the price of a basket of goods the same in each country. Our basket contains just a single item, a Big Mac hamburger, but one that is sold around the world. The exchange rate that leaves a Big Mac costing the same in dollars everywhere is our fair value yardstick.”

The Big Mac, according to the Big Mac Index, sells for $3.57 in the U. S. But in Canada the price, after reflecting the exchange rate, is $4.08.

Now an Australian bank, Commonwealth Securities Ltd. has developed a similar price index for the Apple iPod.

What the iPod index purports to show is the value of a country’s dollar compared to the U. S.

In the words of CommSec, “the value of the iPod index is to highlight implications of currency changes and country relativities. The index is designed to show the cost of local goods for foreign buyers. The sharp fall in the Aussie dollar means goods in Australia have become super cheap for foreign buyers. Our local goods are not only cheaper for tourists, but our domestic produced goods are cheaper on the world stage.”

According to CommSec’s survey, an eight gigabyte iPod Nano in Australia is selling for the U. S. equivalent of $131.95.

In Canada, the U. S. price for the same iPod is $138.73, in cheap jerseys third place just slightly behind Indonesia.

The explanation, say the folks at CommSec, is the sharp drop of the Australian dollar on international money markets.

Speaking of money, the folks at PayPal Canada suggest a way to cut down expenses this Christmas is to shop online. That suggestion, say the PayPal folks, cuts down on time and gas running from store to store.

It also mans being able to select from a larger number of suppliers.

And, of course, they are suggesting you use PayPal as a way to pay for those purchases.

In other news.

The editors of “Make” magazine have culled the best of the instructables website and put it into a book.

The “Best of Instructables Volume 1” hit the bookshelves this week.

The 330 page compendium contains more than 120 projects from gardening to technology. Included in that list of 120 plus do it yourself projects is a plan for a marshmallow gun made from PVC piping.

The book is being published by O’Reilly and sells for $35 in Canada.

And in a totally unrelated matter. the following shows one should never take some things found on the ‘Net too seriously.

It was purported to be “a transcript of a radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operations on Oct. 10, 1995, between a U. S.