Why does the pill require a prescription in the U.S.?

Published: Friday, October 10, 2014 @ 6:08 AM
Updated: Friday, October 10, 2014 @ 6:08 AM

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A few political ads this campaign season raise a really interesting question: Why does birth control require a prescription in the U.S.?

CORY GARDNER, Colorado candidate for Senate (R): "I believe the pill ought to be available over the counter, round the clock without a prescription."

There are politics to the debate to be sure, but we were more curious about the underlying question. 

As it turns out, worldwide, the U.S. is in the minority in requiring a prescription to get the pill. Only about a third of the world's countries limit access, including Canada, Australia and Japan. Countries like China, Russia, and Mexico offer the drugs over the counter. 

So what's the rationale behind requiring a prescription?

Proponents say the pill can increase women's risk for blood clots, heart attacks and stroke, especially among smokers and older women. The thinking there is — under a physician's direction, those risks are mitigated. 

But many over-the-counter drugs, like aspirin, which can cause stomach bleeding, also have potentially serious risks and don't require a prescription. 

On top of that, critics of the current prescription-only system argue women can do the research and decide for themselves whether they're good candidates for birth control. 

Critics like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says unplanned birth rates would likely go down in the U.S. if prescriptions were no longer required to get contraceptive pills.

In 2012, it found 60 percent of women not currently using contraceptives would begin using them if they became available over the counter. 

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And consider this: Sales of nicotine replacement therapies went up by 150 to 200 percent the first year they were offered without a prescription. 

The Food and Drug Administration would have to approve any changes to oral contraception's prescription-required status. There aren't plans to do that yet, but as we mentioned earlier, there are a couple Republican candidates for Senate who are calling for it to happen. 

Cynics will say that's a move to skirt Obamacare requirements that insurance companies completely cover the cost of birth control. 

Or as two Health Affairs writers put it, "replace one barrier (ease of access) with another (cost)."

And that's why proponents of change in general say — in order to really improve access to oral contraceptives — both have to happen: Over the counter status as well as preserving the requirement insurance companies cover the cost. 

Video of man walking kangaroo on leash in Detroit goes viral

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 1:57 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 5:11 PM

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27: A kangaroo jumps across the 16th fairway during day three of the 2016 Perth International at Karrinyup GC on February 27, 2016 in Perth, Australia.  (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Paul Kane/Getty Images

A Snapchat video of a man walking a kangaroo on a leash down a residential street in Detroit has gone viral.

Brionna London posted the video to Snapchat and Twitter Monday. The seven-second clip shows a man holding a kangaroo on a leash, setting it on the ground and jogging to keep up with it as it hops down the street.

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WJBK said a street sign and the Snapchat's location stamp verify the bizarre incident took place in Detroit. Many commenters on social media wondered how a person could obtain a kangaroo.

The Detroit Free Press confirmed with the Detroit Zoo that no kangaroos were missing from its facility. Several Facebook commenters pointed out that the man in the Snapchat video looks like the man who operates the Exotic Zoo, a Detroit organization that leads exotic animal programs at area schools.

Tuesday afternoon, mlive confirmed that the “dude with the kangaroo” was actually Javon Stacks with Exotic Zoo. Stacks told mlive that the kangaroo was in the neighborhood for a birthday party. He referred to his organization as a “mobile zoo” that brings wildlife encounters to kids in the inner city.

How will Trump’s climate change executive orders impact Ohio?

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 4:58 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 4:58 PM

Not even 100 days into his presidency, President Donald Trump Tuesday announced an executive order that would have sweeping impact on his predecessor’s efforts to curb climate change – a move that business and the energy industry cheers and that environmentalists lament.

With the stroke of a pen on Tuesday, Trump issued an order that will begin to bring to a halt the Clean Power Plan, one of the cornerstones of former President Barack Obama’s climate change efforts. The order also would overturn a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands; ask the EPA and Interior to review rules on oil and natural gas development, such as the EPA’s methane emissions rules and Interior’s rules on fracking on federal lands; and ask federal agencies to review current rules and policies that could limit energy development.

Flanked by coal miners and joined by Vice President Mike Pence, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Trump said his action would “eliminate federal overreach, restore economic freedom and allow our companies to thrive, compete and succeed on a level playing field for the first time in a long time.”

Making the U.S. ‘energy independent’

The administration says the effort is aimed at making the United States “energy independent,” with a senior administration official Monday saying that Trump believes that we can serve the twin goals of protecting the environment and providing clean air and clean water, getting the EPA back to its core mission, while at the same time, again, moving forward on energy production in the United States.”

While the administration still plans to enforce clean air laws currently on the books, the official said “when it comes to laws or regulation like the Clean Power Plan, we’re going to go in a different direction.”

Christian Palich, president of the Ohio Coal Association, was gleeful. “This is a great day,” he said, saying Trump was fulfilling his campaign pledge to create an environment “that will allow the coal industry to compete.”

“It’s a great first step,” he said. A 2015 study published in the journal Energy Policy found that 50,000 coal jobs had disappeared over five years. “It has been heartbreaking to see,” he said. “Now, there is a renewed sense of optimism, a renewed sense of faith.”

Some say move still won’t bring back jobs

But not all are convinced that the regulatory rollback will translate to jobs. Even before Trump released his executive order, Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray told the Guardian that Trump, despite his efforts, will not be able to bring back the jobs.

Murray argued that natural gas has also driven down the demand for coal. An ardent foe of Obama’s policies, Murray said “it’s a better time,” for the coal industry, but nonetheless suggested Trump “temper” his expectations for job growth in the aftermath of the action.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said Trump’s executive actions “are a welcome departure from the previous administration’s strategy of making energy more expensive through costly, job-killing regulations that choked our economy.”

“There is every reason to believe that the federal government will no longer seek to punish American consumers and businesses for using the energy resources that fuel our economy,” he said.

Ohio Republican lawmakers support the move

Similarly, three Ohio GOP lawmakers applauded the actions. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, was among those to join Trump at the signing ceremony at the EPA.

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, said regulations such as the Clean Power Plan “would do nothing but raise costs on families…This order protects families and business from significant costs and burdens stemming from EPA regulations.”

“The President demonstrated today that there can be a common-sense balance - it is possible to have environmentally responsible regulations that don’t result in lost jobs and skyrocketing electricity costs,” said Johnson, while Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville said Trump “continues to make good on his promises and give the hard-working people of once-forgotten towns in coal country a chance at making a good living without the fear of government bureaucrats shutting down the industry they depend on to raise their families.”

Environmentalists say it’s a setback

While business and the energy industry welcome the decision, environmentalists say that the change will bury the U.S. behind much of the industrialized world in efforts to end climate change; that the world is already seeing the impact of climate change and that the economic toll, too, will be devastating, as nations try to deal with the impact of unpredictable weather.

“It’s a disaster,” said David Scott, a Columbus resident who is a former president of the Sierra Club and currently a member of the board. “Collectively it puts us out of touch with the rest of the world.

“This is an all-out assault on the protections we need to avert climate catastrophe,” said Rhea Suh, president of the National Resources Defense Council.

“Dismantling existing EPA programs and policies isn’t a plan—it’s an abdication,” said Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Seas are rising, droughts are becoming more commonplace, the Mountain West’s wildfire season is getting longer and we’re seeing more record-breaking temperatures. The fingerprints of climate change are everywhere, threatening Americans’ health, safety and pocketbooks.”

Lake Erie impact

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said climate change could hurt Lake Erie by creating an ideal environment for the growth of harmful algal blooms. Trump’s budget also zeroed out money for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program to clean up the Great Lakes.

“I refuse to accept that we have to choose between clean air and good jobs, or between protecting Lake Erie from the effects of climate change and promoting American energy production,” he said.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, said the executive actions ignore the boon brought by transitioning to a clean-energy economy. He said more than 100,000 jobs in Ohio are supported by clean energy.

“President Trump needs to stop lying to the American people about how this harmful executive order will impact our job market, and work on ways get coal miners back to work building a new, clean economy,” he said.

Scott points out that undoing Obama’s executive actions isn’t as easy as “waving a wand.” Undoing an action, he said, takes time and won’t happen immediately.

Trump, who once called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese but also told the New York Times last year that he has an “open mind” about dealing with the issue.

But the public’s view may be at odds with his: For the first time ever, half of Americans now say they believe in climate change and are very concerned about it, according to a March Gallup poll.

In a background briefing Monday night, a senior administration official said that Trump’s goal was to “protect the environment and provide people with work.”

“The president has been very clear that he’s not going to pursue climate or environmental policies that put the U.S. economy at risk,” the official said.

Asked about scientists’ worry that climate change would create adverse economic consequences – rising sea levels, dangerous hurricanes – the official claimed to be unaware of the studies. “I would want to see the research,” the official said.

The official also said that the administration is reviewing whether it will continue to participate in the 2016 Paris Climate Accords, an agreement between to work to curb climate change that 194 countries including the United States have signed and 141 countries have ratified.

“It’s a tragedy,” Scott said. “I don’t know what else to say. We made promises in Paris and the Clean Power Plan is a linchpin of those promises. Donald Trump is the only leader in the world who is denying that carbon pollution causes climate change.”


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WSU interim leader: Golf team could go, school needs a ‘Dr. No’

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 4:25 PM

Most of Wright State University’s financial wounds were self-inflicted, interim president Curtis McCray told the Dayton Daily News in his first interview as the college’s temporary leader.

WSU needed a “Dr. No,” or someone who could turn down financial requests that led to the university overspending, McCray said. McCray has served as a president at four other universities.

WSU interim president: bad judgment caused financial troubles

“It seems to me there’s been no Dr. No here,” McCray said. “In the end, if I’ve made commitments that were unreasonable and couldn’t be sustained, I had someone who said no, we’re not going to do that.”

Wright State is expected to spend nearly $40 million more than it brought in this year and officials have to cut $25 million from the school’s fiscal year 2018 budget.

Budget cuts and layoffs are expected to be announced next month and some may be proposed as early as next week, but McCray said he was not ready to announce their scope today. McCray’s contract requires him to right WSU’s finances while maintaining the college’s “core athletic programs at a NCAA Division I standing.”

TWEET: Follow reporter Max Filby on Twitter for more higher ed news

Today, he said that could mean cutting the university’s men’s golf team.

“Well, the AD has talked to me about that and the AD has mentioned golf,” McCray said. “It’s apparently a program where we don’t have as many students and if we eliminated the program the impact on Division I status would not be there. We would still retain our Division I status.”


• Wright State has a food pantry to help students in need

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• Cost of ITT Tech implosion surpasses $141 million for taxpayers

Air Force Marathon sign up cost going up

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 4:31 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 @ 4:29 PM

Running in the Air Force Marathon will get a little more expensive soon if you haven’t signed up for one of the series of races.

Registration fees will rise $10 for the full- and half-marathon and the 10K races on Tuesday, April 4, organizers say.

RELATED: Air Force Marathon gets new mascot

Today, registration costs for the full marathon are $95; half-marathon, $85; and 10K, $4. The races will launch Sept. 16 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The price for the 5K race Sept. 15 on the campus of Wright State University will stay at $35, organizers said.

About 15,000 runners from around run in the series of races.

For information, log onto www.usafmarathon.com.


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