Letters to editor for Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Readers write about voting by mail, education, vaccinations and TV ads for medications…

Letters to editor for Wednesday, March 24, 2021 1
Letters to editor for Wednesday, March 24, 2021 2

Concerns about proposed legislation

Watching the Florida Legislature in session is a daily exercise in frustration.

The attempts of Republicans to make it harder to vote do not bode well for everyone’s voting rights, especially after the state just conducted an efficient and well-run campaign with a respectable turnout.

The attempts of Republicans to limit the rights of free speech and legitimate public protest are equally depressing. 

But as a retired educator, I am most disheartened by the proposed legislation of state Sen. Dennis Baxley to shape the career decisions of Florida Bright Futures scholars. College graduates do not automatically stay with their college majors in pursuing their careers, nor do college majors automatically forecast job success, earnings or career satisfaction. Why does the senator think he has the expertise to tell young people what to do?

I would add to my frustration with the Legislature my concern with the governor’s  pronouncements on what the teaching of civics should and should not include. His designation of forbidden topics, such as race, would seriously limit the education of our young people.

Patricia S. Floestano, North Naples

Favor seniors registered at pharmacies

Here is a message I emailed to Gov. DeSantis to improve the floundering vaccination process:

I am a 78-year-old retired Air Force registered nurse (captain) registered for medications at a Publix pharmacy 10 minutes away. But on a retired nurse’s income, I cannot afford the internet. I use computers at the library, which does not open until 10 a.m., after all appointments are closed. I’m far from the only senior having this difficulty and frustration.

To expedite the process, why don’t the pharmacies at Publix, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart first vaccinate seniors already registered at their stores? They should have priority over someone driving from Ocala? This is a waste of time and gas.

I will have to drive over an hour from south of Fort Myers in heavy seasonal traffic and through three (slow-speed) school zones next week to get my vaccination at the VA in Cape Coral. An 83-year-old veteran friend who gave me the information to get my shot at the VA in Cape Coral had to drive there from Bonita Springs, south of Fort Myers.

Please consider my plan to improve the vaccination process, which will get worse with the lowering of age eligibility.

Alice Mack, Fort Myers area

Do more to vaccinate all those over 65

To Gov. Ron DeSantis:

Before you drop the eligibility age for receiving the coronavirus vaccine, shouldn’t you give concern for how many residents above 65 haven’t been able to make an appointment to receive the vaccine yet.

Why wouldn’t you first establish a statewide system for a specific time period that would allow anyone over 65 to contact the state by phone to schedule an appointment in their area. Then and only then reduce the age below 65, knowing you have reached all of the most vulnerable.

You need to give thought that once you open up the age for those below 65, before all of those who are above age 65 have received the vaccine, you will greatly reduce the probability they ever will be able to get the vaccine and relieve their frustrations and anxiety, as expressed in these pages day after day.

Will Rogers, Naples

TV ads for drugs waste time, risk health

When attorneys began advertising in 1977, I was proud that physicians didn’t sink to that level. Of course, it didn’t take long before doctors followed suit. 

I have never understood how people could literally put their lives or reputations in the hands of someone they knew only from a TV ad, but this advertising is here to stay.

What is even more puzzling involves pharmaceutical companies pitching even highly complex medications. The USA and New Zealand are the only countries that allow marketing of drugs directly to consumers.

It’s a multibillion dollar business, despite the average viewer or reader being unlikely to understand whether a particular medicine will be beneficial. Benefits are emphasized over adverse reactions. Even serious side effects often are slyly slipped in.

It has been noted that the increased costs of this advertising probably result in higher insurance premiums, coinsurance rates and copays. 

According to an FDA survey, 65% of physicians said medical advertising direct to consumers sent confusing messages to patients.


In 2015, the American Medical Association “called for a ban on direct-to-consumer ads for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices.”

Physicians are busy and might find it easier and quicker to give a prescription than spend valuable time explaining why the med isn’t appropriate.

Dr. Allen Malnak, M.D., Bonita Springs

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