Thursday, August 16, 2007

Death is just the beginning

When I wrote a post about the diet drug "alli" a while back, the actual news part was not the drug itself. The drug had been available on prescription for a long time, known as Xenical. The big news was that it had been declared "safe" by the USFDA to allow a version of the drug to be sold over the counter.

Of the wide and varied comments I received (if you count all the forums it appeared on, it generated well over 1,000 comments) one stood out for me. A couple of times people posted comments along the lines of "why are you worried? the FDA says it's safe!" These tools are apparently unaware of the long and proud history of drugs being declared safe then later discovered to have side effects like causing birth defects. And death.

The latest in this parade is a painkiller marketed in Australia as Prexige. It turns out this "safe" drug can kill you too. I guess you stop feeling pain after that. It was banned in Australia last Friday. The reports into this intrigued me because they included the warning that your condition could get worse after you stop taking the drug.

What's worse than death?

Anyway, this story prompted me to file the following Angry News report:

The more I think about the Chinese authorities executing people for poor job performance, the weirder it seems. Where do they draw the line? Is it defined in your work contract? And it must make recruitment hellishly difficult. And how about annual reviews? You'd be terrified of getting a good review. It might be followed by

"Congratulations, we're promoting you!"

"Nooooooo, you can't promote me!"

"But you're the best performer we have, we want you to run the company."

"No, anything but that. Listen, you never found out but I've been stealing stuff. And I've been hiding my heroin habit from you. Pleeeease don't make me the boss."

It would certainly make for a weird variation of the Peter Principle.

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