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Personal Income Rose in all Metropolitan Areas in 2011

Personal Income Rose in all Metropolitan Areas in 2011

On November 26, 2012, the Bureau of Economic Analysis under the Department of Commerce announced that personal income increased in all 366 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs)—the first time since 2007.  Personal income increased 5.2 percent in 2011 compared to 3.8 percent in 2010, but inflation increased to 2.4 percent compared to 1.9 percent in 2010.  

Personal income is income received from all sources before deducting personal income taxes.  Net earnings equal earnings from work minus contributions from the government plus other adjustments.  Per capita personal income is measured by dividing the collective personal income according to county estimates divided by the metropolitan area’s population.  

Earning increased by 5.5 percent in 2011, and property income (dividends, interest, and rent) increased 7.6 percent for all MSAs as well.  The earnings and property incomes rates only increased 3.6 percent and 1.8 percent in 2010.

The growth of transfer receipts decreased to 1.5 percent in 2011 compared to 7.1 percent in 2010.  The transfer receipts include Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance.  

Personal income increased $3,062 on average in all 3,113 counties in the United States.  King County in Texas saw the largest growth in personal income (62.2 percent) while Lynn County in Texas saw the largest decrease in personal income (-28.8 percent).   

45 of the 50 counties with the fastest growing personal income were located in the Great Plains region, and 41 of the 45 counties are in Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.  Farm income contributed to the growth rates in these counties, but these counties will likely show huge decreases in personal income during 2012 because of the drought.  

Per capita personal income was the highest in Manhattan ($121,301) and lowest in Crowley County, Colorado ($16,752).  The national average was $41,560 in 2011.  

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Protect Consumers from Fraudulent Online Pharmacies

Protect Consumers from Fraudulent Online Pharmacies

On September 28, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it is launching a campaign to increase public awareness about fake online pharmacies.  The FDA reports that buying prescriptions from fake online pharmacies can endanger a person’s health and result in identity fraud as well. 

According to the FDA, “Nearly 1 in 4 Internet consumers has purchased prescription medicine online.”  More important, about 30 percent of the people in the survey stated that they lack confidence in making such purchases online. 

There is reason for concern as well.  The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy conclude that less than 3 percent of all online pharmacies adhere to all state and federal laws.  In order to appear professional, many of the fraudulent pharmacies online will use strong and expensive marketing techniques.  The FDA reports that many of the drugs sold from fake online pharmacies contain the wrong ingredients, too little or too much of the right ingredient, or even no active ingredients as well—all of which directly endanger the consumer. 

Margaret Hamburg, M.D., the FDA Commissioner, states: “Fraudulent and illegal online pharmacies often offer deeply discounted products.  If the low prices seem too good to be true, they probably are.  FDA’s BeSafeRx campaign is designed to help patients learn how to avoid these risks.”  For more information on the BeSafeRx campaign, visit the following link: www.FDA.gov/BeSafeRx. 

Before buying a prescription online, consumers are encouraged to look for the following:

· Does the website need a valid prescription from the health care provider to set up the order?

· Is the website operated from within the United States?

· Does the website have a licensed pharmacist available to answer questions?

· Is the website licensed by the state board of pharmacy?

Source: Food and Drug Administration

Use Caution when Buying Decorative Contact Lenses

Use Caution when Buying Decorative Contact Lenses

Decorative contact lenses are a popular item, especially when holidays like Halloween are just around the corner.  Most people think these items are sold over the counter legally, but all contacts are controlled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  

Vendors that advertise these decorative contact lenses as cosmetic items or sell them without requiring a prescription are in direct violation of the law.  The law is in place to regulate these items, yes, but the laws are in place to protect the consumer as well.  

Many illegal decorative contact lenses come in one size.  Prescription contact lenses are for your specific eye size.  If you use the wrong sized contact lenses—as people often do with decorative lenses—you can cause serious eye damage like:

-scratches to your cornea
-ulcers in the cornea
-pink eye
-weak vision and even blindness

Bernard Lepri, an optometrist with the FDA, state, “The problem isn’t with the decorative contacts themselves.  It’s the way people use them improperly—without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care.”

The FDA states that consumers should never buy decorative contact lenses from street vendors, beauty stores or boutiques, Halloween stores, beach shops, or similar stores.  You shouldn’t buy the lenses off the internet unless the website requires a prescription.  Instead, get a prescription from an eye doctor and go to a seller that requires a prescription.  If you notice any problems with your eyes, contact your eye doctor right away.  

The FDA points to the story of Laura Butler as a warning to consumers who buy their contact lenses from illegal distributors.  Butler bought a pair of decorative lenses from a souvenir shop for $30 while on vacation and ended up paying $2,000 in medical bills.  She soon experienced a huge amount of pain after using the contact lenses, and she was diagnosed with corneal abrasion.  She could have lost her eye, and she couldn’t drive for 8 weeks because of her vision.  

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration