So who wants Dr. Ona’s post?

By Katrina S.S.

Second of two parts

Clinical trials and the anti-dengue cocktail

But the bigger story is about the anti-dengue cocktail that is ActRx Triact, the clinical trials for which were started in 2012, as ordered by Dr. Ona. Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin stopped the clinical trials the moment she stepped in, declaring that it had “no legal basis” as it had yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). At that point the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) had questioned the soundness of the science behind the clinical trials. Since then the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID), and members of the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) have thrown their support behind Garin’s decision to stop the trials. These organizations question the science and ethics behind the clinical trials, and assert the dangers it poses to the public’s health. Dr. Sylvia Claudio has called the science behind the clinical trials “crap,” saying that it is “a medical horror story.”

Read on…

Posted in health, politics

In Defense of the Anti-Dengue Cocktail

By G. U. Stuart, MD

I became aware of the ActRx TriAct controversy only after the the study was pulled or suspended by the powers that be. It wasn’t clear why, and it still isn’t. There was no outright allegation that the researchers tweaked data or fabricated results—that would certainly have justified killing the study. Instead, the DOH and a complicit media have been spewing out allegations, discrediting, questioning the validity of the study and the verity of its conclusions. Non-compliance and deficiency issues? Were there application issues? Conditions that were not met? Design flaws? Ethical issues? Monitoring failures? Statistical or methodological problems? Why was it pulled only after the Phase III results were released? Is it all “politics,” as some suggest?  In the absence of clear evidence of a bad study, I chose to give the ActRx TriAct cocktail the benefit of the doubt.

Posted in health, politics


my son joel was going on 4 in 1977 when he came home from pre-school running a slight fever. lagnat-laki lang, i hoped, and started giving him tempra.  when the fever kept coming back and going up, i took him to his pediatrician who said to continue with the meds plus lots of water. but over the next day the fever was up to 39.5, and creeping closer and closer to 40; he was barely eating, and mostly throwing up the medicine and the little food i could force, beg, him to swallow.  freaking out, we brought him to Lourdes Hospital’s ER where the residents took one look at his inner arm, near the joint…pointed to tiny red dots i hadn’t noticed (or maybe they had just come out), and at once proceeded to draw blood for lab tests while also inserting an IV needle.  he struggled and cried and screamed, of course; i could only help hold him down.  H-fever, i.e, hemorrhagic fever, also known as dengue, was the diagnosis.  he needed transfusions, 3 bags of platelets.  it was nerve-wracking.  what if we didn’t bring him in when we did?

Posted in health, politics

in defense of dr. ona (updated)

poor dr. ona! indeed.  it would seem that the health secretary has been prejudged over his decision to procure the cheaper of two pneumonia vaccines when, as boo chanco explains, it was apparently a professional decision grounded on what makes the most sense, given cost and need.  dr. ona deserves a fair hearing.  the same is true with regard to the use of malaria herbal meds as treatment for dengue.

Posted in health, politics

Barack Obama, Ferguson, and the Evidence of Things Unsaid

Black people know what cannot be said. What clearly cannot be said is that the events of Ferguson do not begin with Michael Brown lying dead in the street, but with policies set forth by government at every level. What clearly cannot be said is that the people of Ferguson are regularly plundered, as their grandparents were plundered, and generally regarded as a slush-fund for the government that has pledged to protect them. What clearly cannot be said is the idea of superhuman black men who “bulk up” to run through bullets is not an invention of Darren Wilson, but a staple of American racism.  TA-NEHISI COATES, The Atlantic

Posted in america

Gossip as history

By Luis H. Francia

NEW YORK CITY — Imelda Romualdez Marcos leads a charmed life. So far able to dodge the bullet of criminal liability and seemingly inured to the regular impugning of her past and her character, she’s living proof that lives can have third acts.

Ooh’d and ahh’d over in public, the congresswoman now has her own “Evita,” the musical based on Evita Peron’s life with whom she was often compared, a comparison she didn’t like one bit. But she has never raised objections, at least publicly, to the rock musician, he-of-Talking-Heads-fame, David Byrne’s poperetta “Here Lies Love,” reviewed last year in this column.

Read on…



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