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on November 18, 2006
I have the Graedons' original 'The People's Pharmacy' and always found it a useful and helpful book. When I discovered they published this book which reviews the usefulness of a wide range of treatments for common health and mental health ailments (such as acne, allergies, depression, foot odor, insomnia, weight loss and more), I got it also and was not disappointed. This is a great reference, written in a down-to-earth manner, reviewing the most useful, best treatments for 2 dozen conditions. It gave me information I didn't know or even think to try. A must-have for everyone.
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on April 8, 2007
I have been trying for years to take charge of my health with preventive measures. This book is organized by the health concern and then gives not only comments about prescriptions for that health concern, but also herbs/foods that may help. I lowered my blood pressure by following the advice in the book, and am now ordering two more copies for friends.

This book is worth the money, several times over.
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on November 16, 2006
Joe and Terry Graedon have a unique and important perspective. They are only interested in what patients confirm works for them, not what drug companies or marketing hype is saying. I consider this a very well written, important book and is a "must have" for anyone interested in self care. Joe and Terry do a great job of discussing both traditional and alternative therapies. They have an easy to read writing style and use lots of tables and graphs to illustrate their points.
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on November 5, 2006
I've been reading the Graedons' "People's Pharmacy" books since I graduated from pharmacy school in the mid 1970s. "Best Choices" is my favorite. Their chapter on generic drugs is worth the price of the book.

The issues surrounding generic drugs are endlessly fascinating. Pharmacists like generic drugs because the mark-up is better than on brand name drugs. Insurance companies love generic drugs because generics save the companies a ton of money. As a taxpayer, I'm happy that federal and state governments embrace generic drugs. I'd hate to be taxed to pay for exclusively brand name drugs for Medicare Part D, and for the Veterans Administration, and for Medicaid programs, etc. I like the fact that the government embraces generic drugs because that holds down my taxes. But as a consumer, I prefer brand name drugs.

One of the fundamental tenets of capitalism is that price determines quality. You get what you pay for. That's why tires for your car with a 80,000-mile treadlife warranty cost much more than tires with a 25,000-mile warranty. When you go to a supermarket, do you buy the store brand of green beans or do you prefer Green Giant or DelMonte? Are you happy when your automobile mechanic uses a brand of motor oil you've never heard of, or do you prefer that he uses Valvoline or Havoline? If you need a pacemaker for your heart, wouldn't you want the absolute finest on the market? If you need a drug to control a heart arrhythmia, would you be wise to accept a generic? The examples are endless but the point is the same. Can you be assured of quality when the cost of a generic product is half the price of a brand name?

The Graedons point out that the FDA is grossly understaffed and that the chances are frighteningly small that the FDA will actually pull and test a drug sample from a pharmacy shelf or even from the plant where the drugs are manufactured.

Belief in the quality of generic drugs is, in my opinion, based more on faith than science. Too many powerful groups have a vested interest in the perception that generic drugs are as good as brand name. I'm not making the case that we as a society embrace brand name drugs and discard generics. Quite to the contrary. Americans are grossly overmedicated, in no small part as a consequence of direct-to-consumer drug advertising on TV and in newspapers and magazines. Americans would do well to embrace prevention and let pharmaceuticals return to their proper role in society, important but far more limited. I do everything in my power to prevent illness, but when I do need a drug, I prefer a brand name, especially when it's used to treat a serious medical condition.

The Graedons have been enthusiastic supporters of generic drugs for decades but have lately begun to have second thoughts. They cite an increasing number of letters from readers of their newspaper column who have less than satisfactory results with generic drugs. Patients who are well-controlled on the anti-seizure drug Dilantin suddenly begin having seizures when switched to the generic phenytoin. Men taking the brand name Hytrin for enlarged prostate begin having more difficulty urinating when swithched to the generic terazosin. Mothers complain that their child's behavior worsens when switched from the brand name Ritalin to the generic methylphenidate. Patients taking the brand name Synthroid complain that they begin experiencing thyroid symptoms when switched to the generic levothyroxine. Patients on the brand name blood thinner Coumadin have more difficulty keeping their clotting in the target range when switched to the generic warfarin. And so on.

What is one to make of this? Are these people imagining these differences in effectiveness between brand name drugs and generics? Are these people simply complaining because their insurance company or Medicaid pushes them to accept generics?

It is not rare that pharmacists hear complaints from our customers that generics do not perform as well as brand name drugs. Many pharmacists dismiss such complaints outright. Other pharmacists are beginning to wonder if there may be some truth in our customers' complaints. Pharmacists certainly aren't impressed when we receive bottles of a hundred, or five-hundred, or a thousand tablets from a generic manufacturer and we see lots of powder at the bottom of the bottle as a result of too many broken tablets. This tells pharmacists that quality control at the manufacturing plant is not the best. Pharmacists see powder and broken tablets far less often with brand name tablets.

People used to think that generic drugs were made in a bathtub in someone's back yard. That's not the case. Some brand name manufacturers do, in fact, make generic drugs. But I have serious doubts whether, in general, there is as much quality control with generic drugs compared to brand name. For example, when I read advertisements for generic drugs in my pharmacy magazines, I am struck by the fact that the number one theme of these advertisements is QUALITY. Why are all these generic manufacturers trying so hard to convince pharmacists that their generic products are of high quality? If the FDA says that all generic drugs are as good as brand name, why are the generic manufacturers still obsessed with convincing pharmacists about the quality of their generic products?

"Best Choices from the People's Pharmacy" is an eye-opener on this and many other important issues. When it comes to expose' of the pharmaceutical industry, the Graedons are the best.
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on April 24, 2008
I've bought a few home remedy books over the years and they were all pretty useless, but this one is excellent. There is information in here I haven't seen anywhere else, and once tried, boy was I surprised at how well it worked. This is really sound, researched, rational information. I don't even put it away. It's always on my desk.
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on August 29, 2008
Great information coupled with believable testimonials from people. I'm a Type II diabetic who found the information very very useful and helpful.
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on September 26, 2007
Fantastic book. Easy to read and find specific information on common medical concerns. I am an RN and my father is a pharmacist so using O.T.C. or Rx drugs for every ailment has always been our first response. With the recent recalls of major drugs and risky side effects as well as problems with counterfeits I can see a great benefit both physically and financially in natural alternative remedies. I like the way they rate the different approaches with stars from 1-5 for proven effectiveness and the letters from tried and true believers adds to the credibility. This book is not without it's lighter moments and several times had me laughing out loud. I plan to make this book a gift to family and friends this year.
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on November 30, 2009
I purchased this book for myself and was so impressed with the
information in this book and how it can help one understand his/her
own body and the ailments/diseases which can affect one's health.

Since my original purchase, I have purchased this book twice more and sent them as gifts to friends. They love this book as do I.
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on February 7, 2007
The People's Pharmacy has spent over three decades developing its health information and building its reputation as a trustworthy health reference, so Best Choices from the People's Pharmacy comes with a trusted brand name attached, and both public libraries and school health collections will want to take note of their fist book. Remedies for common health concerns accompany thumbnail descriptions of good choices, ratings that allow for cross-comparison of treatment options for each condition, and discussions of pros and cons of health treatments. There are even some easy 'recipes' for solutions in this comprehensive survey. A highly recommended pick: it's the trusted name which sets this apart from any similar-sounding reference.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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on October 10, 2007
This book has some of the most fascinating cures for our everyday maladies...and they work! An example: for leg cramps, put a bar of soap under the bottom sheet. I have not had a single leg cramp since doing this. My friends have all tried it and are amazed how this solution was the only thing that has worked for them as well. So many other simple remedies. Love this book.
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