Heard about the giant Facebook data leak?

By Brett Jordan on Unsplash

As a result, we call all expect online scam attempts. Via Daniel Markuson, digital privacy expert at NordVPN:

How to spot a phishing email or smishing SMS, according to Markuson: 

1. Check the sender’s address or telephone number. Don’t just trust the display name – pay attention to the email address, telephone number, and other sender credentials.

2. Look for spelling and grammar mistakes, design issues. Serious companies and institutions don’t usually send out emails with bad grammar; email design is usually lean and precise.

3. Don’t click on links or download attachments. If that’s an email – hover your mouse over the link to see the destination link. Check if it looks legitimate and, especially, if it contains the “https” part to indicate a secure connection. If that’s and SMS – it’s better to search for the website yourself.

4. Consider context. Were you expecting such an email or SMS? If not, it is probably suspicious, especially if the offer is too good to be true.  

5. When in doubt, contact the company or institution over the phone or alternative email address and ask to confirm if the email is legitimate.

6. If you notice something unusual – report the incident to the authorities. Raising the alarm can help not only you, but others affected by the leak as well.

You can’t believe everything the food industry funds

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Via sciencealert.com, something we’ve always suspected:

“The food industry has their fingers all over our nutrition research. According to a new analysis, one out of every eight leading, peer-reviewed studies on nutrition is tied to business.

“Even worse, this conflict of interest, although acknowledged explicitly within the scientific journals, tends to produce results that favour business, and potentially with misleading consequences.

“This study found that the food industry is commonly involved in published research from leading nutrition journals,” researchers write.

“Where the food industry is involved, research findings are nearly six times more likely to be favourable to their interests than when there is no food industry involvement.”

“As far as the authors know, this is the first systematic review on the extent and nature of food industry involvement in peer-reviewed research. Similar studies focusing on industry involvement have produced mixed results, but far more research is needed.”

Check your medical bills

Photo by Javier Matheu on Unsplash

Hospitals are losing money because of covid, and many of them will resort to improper billing to make up the difference. If you’re having any kind of procedure, check what’s covered. Via MedPageToday:

“Nearly one in eight commercially insured patients undergoing elective colonoscopy with in-network providers incurred out-of-network costs, researchers found — potentially leading to illegal “surprise bills.”

“In an analysis of a national claims database, and among 118,769 elective colonoscopies with in-network endoscopists and facilities, 12.1% (95% CI 11.2-13) involved out-of-network claims. The median potential surprise bill was $418, according to James M. Scheiman, MD, of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and colleagues (“potential” because the investigators didn’t have access to actual bills, but instead made estimates based on records of in- versus out-of-network coverage).

“Of particular concern was that one in 12 procedures without an associated intervention still had an out-of-network claim, they explained in a brief research report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“This outcome is disconcerting because Section 2713 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [ACA] eliminates consumer cost sharing for screening colonoscopy and because a recent Federal Reserve study reported that 40% of Americans do not have $400 to cover unexpected expenses,” the investigators wrote.”

Be suspicious

If you think side effects are related to a new drug you’re taking, err on the side of caution. Be persistent with asking questions. Remember, most of what doctors tell you was relayed by a pharmaceutical salesperson. They might believe they’re telling you the truth, but often, the full facts have been hidden from the prescribers:

Data breach settlement may affect you

Check it out:

Hack your privacy

The new price of Eli Lilly’s generic insulin, Humalog, is $137.35, and sold for $35 per vial in 2001

Isn’t this insane? Only if we put up with it!

This month, Eli Lilly and Co. announced with some fanfare that it was manufacturing a generic version of its own best-selling insulin brand, Humalog, which it would sell for half off — $137.35 versus about $275.

David Ricks, the chief executive of Lilly, said the company was making this seemingly beneficent gesture because “many patients are struggling to afford their insulin.”

But they’re struggling, in large part, because since 2001 Lilly has raised the price of a vial of Humalog to about $275, from $35. Other insulin makers have raised prices similarly.

In Germany, the list price of a vial of Humalog is about $55 — or $45 if you buy five at a time — and that includes some taxes and markup fees. Why not just reduce the price in the United States to address said suffering?

Instead, Lilly decided to come out with a new offering, a so-called authorized generic. This type of product is made by or under an agreement from the brand manufacturer. The medicines are exactly the same as the brand-name drug — often made in the same factory with the same equipment to the same formula. Only the name and the packaging are different.

This is what deregulation looks like

Cereal

What’s for breakfast? Via USAToday, unsafe levels of weed killer in your kids’ cereal!

A number of popular breakfast foods, including cereals, granola bars and instant oats, were tested and found to contain potentially dangerous amounts of cancer-linked glyphosate, the main ingredient in weed killer.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental advocacy organization that conducted the study, said Wednesday that glyphosate was found in all but five of 29 oat-based foods that were tested.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, the most heavily used pesticide in the United States. Every year, according to the EWG, more than 250 million pounds of glyphosate is sprayed on American crops.

The World Health Organization has determined that glyphosate is “probably carcnogenic to humans” and the Environmental Protection Agency has set a safety level for the potentially dangerous chemical. Just last week, Monsanto was ordered by a court to pay nearly $300 million to a man who claims his terminal cancer was caused by exposure to Roundup. Hundreds of other cases are working their way through the courts.

Unsafe food means higher profits for manufacturers. Now factor in the cost of treatment for childhood cancer, and this lack of regulation is very, very expensive for those of us on the purchasing end.