Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: Symptoms persist

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  • Glenn Pearce,

    Re the Cycleway

    Is it $30 million or $3 million ? It makes a difference as to whether I'd support it or not.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 345 posts Report Reply

  • Grace Dalley,

    The "good bacteria" capsules work out at about $1 each? That sounds like a lot, but they have something like 25 billion bacteria in each one. Per bacterium, that's really quite reasonable! ;-)

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2008 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Scientists, can you please tell me if after nearly five decades of taking my antibiotics neat, I might now benefit from these pills and their promise to "help restore beneficial flora"?

    For every course of antibiotics I have to take, I buy a potted ficus. Always worked for me.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7351 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    In Christchurch my niece went to the pharmacy over some matter. While there an assistant (pharmacist?) offered to test her for zinc deficiency, and waved a "tool" over niece's palm. "Yes!" the assistant said. "you are deficient in zinc. If you take a course in these pills you will feel much better. The pills will only cost $60 per month."
    "I will think about it," said Tanya as she walked out the door.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    My bicycles and I are with you in spirit, David.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 652 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Part of the problem is that in NZ Pharmacy's main purpose is as a dispensary for free drugs for the government - it's hard to make a profit doing that - on the other hand you have a way to get people in the door for an up-sell.

    It's also why it's hard to buy that really really cheap generic bottle with 400 ibuprofens in the supermarket the way you can in the US

    (I give up - who is the 3rd guy?)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    If the vitamins were demonstrably neccesary or effective, your doctor would prescribe them and Pharmac would fund them.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4418 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Also, Shapeshifter featuring Lydon! When? I must find a record shop!

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4418 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Is it $30 million or $3 million ? It makes a difference as to whether I'd support it or not.

    I believe NZTA said $30m full on, the pro-cycle-friends said $3m for a simple alternative.
    Possibly somewhere on the lower-end of inbetween then?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    (I give up - who is the 3rd guy?)

    Mr Steve Braunias.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Possibly somewhere on the lower-end of inbetween then?

    Right so far we've got ...

    A group of engineers and specialists from the government agency who do this sort of estimating for major civil works all the time say it'll cost $30 million.

    A group of lycra wearing enthusiasts (one of whom clearly has some decent photshop skills or access to someone who does because that cycleway looks great with the Auckland cityscape in the background through the glass) "reckon" they can do it for $3 million.

    Gareth reckons it's somewhere in between but probably towards the lower end for some reason.

    Anyone else care to hazard a guess ?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 345 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    NZ Pharmacy's main purpose is as a dispensary for free drugs for the government

    No, their main purpose is to sell lots of cosmetics, hair product and cheap sunglasses. Somewhere down the back, most of them have some medicine.

    Speaking of which, has there actually been a ban on over-the-counter pseudoephedrine-based medicine? I'd heard talk of bans in places like Gisborne, but the last time I took cold medicine it did sod all, and it was only then that I noticed that all the codral, sudafed, day & night etc had suddenly become "new formula".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Is it a coincidence that this chameleon used to have a column entitled Page 94? I think we should be told...

    Fantastic stuff.

    Also, I will be there on Sunday morning, possibly with bell on. Do we have any numbers on the possible size of the PAS contingent?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1549 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Antibiotics do tend to kill useful bacteria as well as evil bacteria. This is especially true of broader spectrum antibiotics. For example, amoxicillin clavunate (Augmentin) is very commonly prescribed, and in addition to making you well terminates the lives of 1kg of bacteria resident in your GI tract (explaining the commoness of diarrhoea as a side effect). The medsafe datasheet describes this as 'may affect gut flora', which sounds less icky. Coming off antibiotics, there is a chance that instead of the usual bacteria re-colonising you, you might end up with unwelcome visitors, which is what the probiotics are supposed to prevent. I'm not sure how big the chance is.

    It's worth noting too, that the total cost of the antibiotics is much higher than $3, but also that yoghurt containing good bacteria, is much cheaper than $14. Whether the yoghurt works as well as the probiotics, I'm not sure.
    ________________

    And just while we're talking about 'good' bacteria, bear in mind that the anti-bacterial handwashes that kill 99% of germs, are mostly killing the ones that you don't want to kill.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 683 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    has there actually been a ban on over-the-counter pseudoephedrine-based medicine

    No. The new phenylephrine products are mostly not as effective, but you might have to push a bit harder to get the good stuff. Note, in case of an emergency, P, other amphetamines, and cocaine will also work, but are now unfortunately not available for decongestant purposes.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 683 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Having said that, I think pharmacies can choose not to stock pseudoephedrine, but I'd have to check.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 683 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Count yourself lucky they were just peddling microbes and vitamins.

    I find it profoundly irritating that people who were made to study chemistry and microbiology every year of their degree peddle this crap. Either they believe the woo (depressing ignorance and gullibility, testimony to the lack of efficacy of a university education) or they don't (depressing hypocrisy, testimony to the broken nature of health model in NZ).

    Part of the problem is that in NZ Pharmacy's main purpose is as a dispensary for free drugs for the government - it's hard to make a profit doing that.

    If the state had to pay pharmacists a bit more in return for them not fostering the spread of ignorance around the country, it would be money well spent.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Well Glenn I think it's fair to say you've nailed your colours to the mast!
    My reasoning for a lower end estimate is that (as I understand it), NZTA's version was a pretty full-on, over-the-top engineering project option whereas your "lycra-clad" reckoning is based on a much simpler idea. I wouldn't be surprised if their costing is slightly low-balled given they are pro, but if you can do the cheap version at all then it will be closer to the $3m than the $30m.

    BTW I trust you are equally distrusting of the new Waterview Connection that is magically a few hundred million cheaper than NZTA's original estimates?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Vitamin tablets = expensive urine

    However I find the fluorescent yellow entertaining especially when hung over.

    You could just eat fruit and veges but you'd miss out on the opportunity to support our local economy, in particular help pay for your pharmacists new car which they bought from a struggling car dealer so it's got to be the right thing to do.

    And besides fruit and veges just don't make your urine glow quite the same way as those pills do.

    Trust the marketing guys they know what's good for you

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3261 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Who'd be a pharmacist, though?

    (I have a mate who's one, and after a year or so doing interesting stuff in a hospital, he went to work at Boots in the UK. A lot of his time was spent fixing cameras - on the grounds that they are technical thingys, and pharmacology should prepare you to mend one).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4418 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Well Glenn I think it's fair to say you've nailed your colours to the mast

    Not at all, The point I'm trying to make is I would support the bridge cyle way but not at all costs and not at $30 million or anything approaching it.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 345 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Anyone else care to hazard a guess ?

    I reckon $50k. All it needs is a big white line down the middle of the upstream clipon, a couple of accessways by the Curran St on-ramp and the old toll plaza, and some barricades to close the lane off.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4418 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    How about $30k for an old transit van and say $40k year for the driver to run shuttles across for a year and see if it gets used ?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 345 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    study chemistry and microbiology every year of their degree

    FWIW, they take much less microbiology than that (one paper in second year @ otago). Although antibacterials are an important class of medicines, there's a lot of others that don't have too much to do with it.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 683 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Vitamin tablets = expensive urine

    A little worse than that; some vitamins, in large doses, are not at all good for you.

    General rule of thumb for medical stuff: if it uses the words "boosts your immune system", it's at least 50% woo. Possibly more. It's an almost unconfirmable, difficult to measure, but impressive-sounding claim - which is why it's so often used.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

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