Letters: Accusations but no answers on medication’s risks

Re: “New Pills, New Issues,” Health, April 19: This article is discouraging, as I’m about to begin my career search at the university level and was planning to explore the medical field. Sure, doctors as well as pharmaceutical companies make large sums of money, but they are always at risk of being sued, either for malpractice in the case of the doctor or for health problems such as in this case with Bayer HealthCare.

The studies done don’t give a clear answer if Yaz and Yasmin are “the cause of health problems, including deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the deep veins), strokes, heart attacks and gallbladder disease” as they’re being accused of doing.

Ivan Garcia

Los Angeles


It should scare the heck out of women! My wife began taking Yaz shortly after it hit the market in 2006, and a little over a year later she suffered a bilateral pulmonary embolism that devastated her. It caused a cascade of injuries that culminated in pulmonary arrest, multiple cardiac arrests, multiple strokes and ultimately an anoxic brain injury. At 46 years old she went from being vibrant and active to lying flat on her back and being unable to do anything for herself. The decision to begin taking Yaz was catastrophic in our lives. Not worth it.

Christopher Hull

Bedford, Texas

Cancer website for patients, loved ones

Thank you for your article of April 19 illustrating the importance of websites for cancer patients to utilize for communication with their supporting community [“The Many Ways to Share Bad News”].

We would like to inform your readership that the Cancer Foundation ( provides free, confidential websites exclusively for cancer patients as a tool for communication with their supporting friends and family. In contrast to other sites, our site focuses on resources, education, advocacy and survivorship features for cancer patients only.

Dr. Rob Fisher, board president, and Marcia Donziger, executive director, the Cancer Foundation


Triclosan shouldn’t be in consumer products

As a water advocacy group, Clean Water Action supports banning triclosan and its related chemicals in consumer products, despite industry’s claims that it is safe. Our reasons are simple:

1) We should not be washing or brushing our teeth with a registered pesticide, which triclosan is;

2) These chemicals are not more effective than plain soap and water, and therefore unnecessary;

3) They are found in our water sources and are acutely toxic to aquatic organisms;

4) While the human health impacts are not yet fully understood, we do know that triclosan could lead to resistant bacteria that may pose a serious threat.

Why continue to use chemicals that are unnecessary but do cause environmental harm and may seriously threaten our health and safety? Until the government acts, consumers can act by reading labels and not buying triclosan-containing products.

Andria Ventura, Clean Water Action

San Francisco


Programs in a number of states all prohibit the use of hand soaps that contain antimicrobial ingredients such as triclosan — except where required by code or regulations (i.e., healthcare and food preparation areas). They just want people to use good old-fashioned soap and water — and to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available.

One additional reason that institutions (schools, hospitals, government buildings) are avoiding antimicrobial hand soaps is, frankly, the cost. Triclosan is expensive and they believe it adds absolutely no value in most hand-washing situations.

Stephen P. Ashkin, executive director, Green Cleaning Network

Bloomington, Ind.

Letters to the editor highlights selected reader comments on recently published articles.

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