OprahSideEye

Jenny Craig calls Kirstie Alley Circus Fat Because That’s Normal

OprahSideEye

Jenny Craig please don't use the term "CIRCUS FAT," ever – as a description of a person of size – Jenny Craig, you know better.  

What is that "Circus Fat?"  Sideshow fat?  You mean 300, 400, 500 pounds?  I was there once.

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Sideshow performer, Victorian age.

Are we supposed to be amused by this?  Is that funny ha-ha?  Like, "Hey!  Kirstie is an elephant? Or a side-show?" 

You're making yourselves look like mean-girls for the sake of bad publicity. 

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FTC Announces Initiative Against Deceptive Claims Made by National Marketers of Fad Weight Loss Products

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Finally, maybe?!  I can't wait to see some rules slapped down on these irresponsible companies.

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Do you buy brand-names or generic?

When you go to the pharmacy or big-box retailer do you choose brand-name or off-brand generic over the counter medications and pills even with the same active ingredients?

This kind of thing enthralls me.  I love you NPR. 

Why do people choose what they choose when given the option of the same product in different packaging?  

Some of you are SO. INSISTENT

"I MUST HAVE THIS BRAND!"  

"It is the ONLY ONE!"

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Don't EVEN bring it to crazy-town with mayonnaise.   But we're taking about medication today.

My line of thinking (…when making that choice in the aisle) goes to:

  • Is is *exactly the same?*
  • Does it have the same efficacy?
  • Is the generic brand safe and effective?

When side-by-side store branded pills versus big brands aren't all that different, same active ingredients, similar labeling, the only thing that stands out to many of us is the pricing.  So why do you choose the more expensive product, if you do?

If I am being completely honest, I don't buy off-brand super inexpensive pills from big box retailers like Wal-Mart (…or a Dollar Store, shiver!) because quite frankly I am terrified at the potential of an eighty-eight cent price point and where THAT came from.  It's not that I am a brand snob, but just, no.  I read the packaging of every side-by-side product and if the ingredients match by percentage and you can see the source — I do not mind paying less per pill.

I will admit for some things I have brandsnobbery  (…but even so much less lately and not really. I have even downgraded to generic huge tubs of coffee.  RIP Starbucks at home, entirely.  Thanks to blogging not being so, uh, lucrative, don't quit your dayjobs!)  But not for over the counter medications.  I bought approximately three boxes of generic gas medications, gut-fail medications and the like prior-to and during my trip to Portland last week because of desperation and it worked and kept me from ROTTING ON A PLANE THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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NPR

Why does anyone buy Bayer aspirin — or Tylenol, or Advil — when, almost always, there's a bottle of cheaper generic pills, with the same active ingredient, sitting right next to the brand-name pills?

Matthew Gentzkow, an economist at the University of Chicago's Booth school, recently tried to answer this question. Along with a few colleagues, Gentzkow set out to test a hypothesis: Maybe people buy the brand-name pills because they just don't know that the generic version is basically the same thing.

"We came up with what is probably the simplest idea you've ever heard of," Gentzkow says. "Let's just look and see if people who are well-informed about these things still pay extra to buy brands."

In other words, do doctors, nurses and pharmacists pay extra for Tylenol instead of acetaminophen, or buy Advil instead of ibuprofen?

Gentzkow and his colleagues looked at a huge dataset of over 66 million shopping trips and found that, "lo and behold, nurses, doctors and pharmacists are much less likely to buy brands than average consumers," Gentzkow says. (Their findings are written up here.)

Pharmacists, for example, bought generics 90 percent of the time, compared with about 70 percent of the time for the overall population. "In a world where everyone was as well-informed as pharmacist or nurse, the market share of the brands would be much, much smaller than it is today," Gentzkow says.

I asked several people who had a bottle of Bayer or Tylenol or Advil at home why they'd bought the brand name. One guy told me he didn't want his wife to think he was cheap. A woman told me Bayer reminded her of her grandmother. Another guy, a lawyer, said he just didn't want to spend the time to figure it out, and decided it was worth the extra couple bucks to buy the brand.

In general, we often buy brands when we lack information — when, like that lawyer, we decide it's easier to spend the extra money rather than try to figure out what's what.

Jesse Shapiro, one of the co-authors of the headache paper, told me he buys Heinz ketchup rather than the generic brand. He likes Heinz. He thinks it's better than the generic, but he's not sure. "I couldn't promise that, if you blindfolded me, I could tell them apart," he says.

Report: Some money in Lap-Band settlement to pay for billboards on weight-loss surgery risks

AP –  Report: Some money in Lap-Band settlement to pay for billboards on weight-loss surgery risks

LOS ANGELES — A company that promoted Lap-Band weight-loss surgery has agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a false-advertising lawsuit, with some of the money going to billboards warning the public about the risks of weight-loss surgery, a newspaper reported Thursday.

From 2009 to 2011, five patients died after Lap-Band surgeries at clinics affiliated with the 1-800-GET-THIN ad campaign, according to the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/11knLBS ).

The proposed settlement still needs the approval of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Freeman, who asked attorneys at a hearing Thursday to provide more information and resubmit their settlement motion before he gives the deal his OK.

Relatives of two of the dead patients, Ana Renteria and Laura Faitro, filed the lawsuit as a class action in 2011.

The lawsuit sought damages from several companies and two brothers, Michael and Julian Omidi, who court documents said owned and managed Top Surgeons, a weight-loss business.

John Hueston, an attorney for the Omidis, said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing.

“Under the agreement, our clients … are dismissed without any admission of liability, and made no contribution whatsoever to the settlements,” Hueston said in a statement cited by the Times.

A lawyer for the surgery centers, Konrad Trope, said the action against the facilities was dismissed without admission of liability or financial penalty.

The proposed settlement will be paid only by Top Surgeons, one of the companies behind the GET-THIN operation, the newspaper said. The company did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press.

The lawsuits and other public documents showed that 1-800-GET-THIN was a marketing company that steered patients to a network of outpatient clinics, where thousands of weight-loss surgeries were performed.

The company used dozens of billboards — along with ads on television, radio and the Internet — to promote Lap-Band weight-loss surgery.

Some of the suits alleged that the clinics put profits above patient safety, employing physicians who were unqualified and allowing surgeries to be performed in unsanitary conditions, the Times said.

The proposed deal calls for $100,000 to be spent on billboard advertising throughout Southern California “intended to explain the risks of weight-loss surgery.” The agreement does not specify the language to be used in the ads but says it must be approved by the court.