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Your thoughts on flu vaccine, drug prices and a girl's illness

By CNN Health Staff
updated 1:03 PM EST, Mon February 25, 2013
Getting a flu vaccine is a preventive measure much like wearing a seat belt, one commenter says.
Getting a flu vaccine is a preventive measure much like wearing a seat belt, one commenter says.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A story on 5-year-old Rafi Kopelan got nearly 400 comments
  • Commenters were supportive of Brittni Garcia's weight loss struggle
  • One commenter likens the flu vaccine to wearing a seat belt

Editor's note: "What you're saying" is a regular series examining our pick of the best comments from readers on some of CNN Health's biggest stories from the past week.

(CNN) -- Here's what CNN readers are saying on health stories from the past week:

'It's horrible what they've had to endure'

Our weekend piece on Rafi Kopelan's struggle with a rare disease called epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, and her neighbors' social media-driven efforts to help raise money for a cure, got nearly 400 comments. Some discussed efforts by the government and others to help find cures for disease; others recounted their health struggles or those of people they know.

"I can't say how happy I am to see this on the CNN front page," commenter RumMonkeyMama wrote. "I have a good friend whose husband and son both have EB. It's horrible what they've had to endure. Every small milestone is such a huge accomplishment. My friend's son is 5, and only started walking last year. It brought tears to my eyes when she posted a video of him running not long ago. It's been such a long struggle, and one with no foreseeable end. I'm happy to see this on the CNN front page, because more people will become aware of EB, which will hopefully drive more (research and development) money into finding treatments or a cure!"

'If you're just working out and not altering your diet, it's an uphill battle'

The story on Brittni Garcia, who dropped 107 pounds after realizing her "fat shorts" no longer fit her during her college years, also garnered nearly 400 comments, many of them expressing support for Garcia and sharing similar weight loss struggles.

"Congrats to Brittni," wrote commenter focusmm. "I firmly believe in taking personal accountability for your health. I lost 65 pounds and went from a size 18W to a size 6 last year, cut my body fat in half, lowered my visceral fat from 11 to 4 and got my cholesterol totally in control. But my focus was more on the eating aspects and adopting a new way of eating for life. I work out, but I think it is an 80/20 rule, where 80% is all about what you eat. I now teach weight loss classes online to pay it forward for the health and renewed energy I have."

Responding to focusmm, commenter Guneun wrote, "The best description I've heard is 'You lose ounces in the gym, but you lose pounds in the kitchen.' If you're just working out and not altering your diet, it's an uphill battle. Do both and you can shed weight in no time."

'Nothing in medicine is absolute'

A story on the flu vaccine being less effective, especially for the elderly, than previously stated sparked a debate on vaccines in general.

"The military forces this on the troops (firsthand experience)," wrote commenter tinytall. "Each year that I got this silly 'vaccination' while serving, I got the flu. Since separating (1999), I've never gotten the flu, including this year. Huh, go figure."

In response, commenter DrDougFC wrote in part, "That doesn't mean the vaccine doesn't work, it just means that nothing in medicine is absolute. I know someone who didn't smoke, yet got lung cancer, and a couple people who wore their seat belt, yet still died in a car crash. That doesn't mean that I should take up smoking or stop wearing my seat belt. Like the flu vaccine, not smoking and wearing a seat belt improve my odds, but aren't guarantees."

'We have more failures by far than successes'

A story on a new breast cancer drug receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration triggered a discussion on the role of the FDA in safeguarding public health and on drug prices.

"You have no idea how much it costs to bring a drug to market," commenter rs1201 pointed out. "As a senior research scientist working in the R&D division of a major pharmaceutical company, I can tell you that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent to come up with a drug. We have more failures by far than successes. To succeed, the company hires the best of the best scientists and has to pay them accordingly. To retain these scientists, the company does everything it can and that costs them dearly. It takes approximately 20 years from inception of the idea of a drug to FDA approval. There's no guarantee of approval. Pricing on a drug is a way to recoup a bit of all the millions that it took to get the drug to the FDA."

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