Daily News editorial

A drug too far

(Thumbs down)

On Monday, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug, Abilify MyCite.

The previous version of the drug, Abilify, is an antipsychotic medication used to treat bipolar disorders, irritability associated with autism, manic depression, schizophrenia and more.

Sounds simple enough, right? Not so much.

The new version, Abilify MyCite, treats the same symptoms, but with one massive difference. Abilify MyCite is embedded with a digital sensor about the size of a grain of sand. The sensor “is activated by stomach fluids and sends a signal to a patch worn by the patient that notifies a digital smartphone app that the medication has been taken,” according to an Associated Press story. The patient’s activity, sleeping patterns, heart rate and number of steps taken also are recorded.

The FDA claims patients can track their ingestion of the medication and can give their caregivers and physicians permission to access their information through a web-based portal.

A story published in the Wall Street Journal indicates the FDA expects to approve other digital pills.

Tracking devices already are installed on some vehicles that tap into the cars’ computers to capture and store driving data and report that information to auto insurers. Many people wear fitness trackers or watches that monitors fitness-related activities.

What’s next? Will health insurers want access to our fitness device information? Perhaps. Would insurance premiums go up? Probably.

The Abilify MyCite pill seems like a slippery slope leading to totalitarianism.

In George Orwell’s novel “1984,” he describes a dystopian world where everyone is under government surveillance – secret and not-so-secret surveillance, deception and manipulation of recorded history.

Seems like the Abilify MyCite pill is right out of “1984.”

How soon after an individual begins taking the new pill will the government want access to the information it provides? And, would the government have a right to this information?

Do the benefits these drugs may provide outweigh the dangers of taking drugs that track behaviors? Should we give up our privacy to help medicine? That is a little too Machiavellian for us. No matter how good the outcome, iniquitous methods are never acceptable.

UCLA athletes in China

(Thumbs sideways)

Three men’s basketball players for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) recently were held and questioned in Hangzhou, China, for allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store.

The players and their team members were in China to play an exhibition game against Georgia Tech.

President Donald Trump got involved and asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case and release the players to the United States. After their return to the U.S., all three players apologized for their actions at a news conference. And, they admitted they shoplifted in Hangzhou.

The players were suspended from the team indefinitely. UCLA Bruins head coach Steve Alford told news outlets the players will have to “earn their way back.”

The three men all deserve three individual thumbs down for their actions.

We give the school and coach a thumbs up for suspending the players. But, considering the POTUS had to get involved, we believe the players should have been kicked off the team permanently.

College basketball

(Thumbs up)

College basketball is back and we couldn’t be happier. We’ve already watched some great games.

Top-ranked Duke University beat No. 2 Michigan State University. The Kansas Jayhawks and the Kentucky Wildcats put on a show Tuesday night, although one of us didn’t watch the game as it was playing at the same time as the game between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Howard University Bisons.

This year, Gonzaga is looking better than we hoped. The Zags have some new talent as well as some solid returning players. Silas Melson, Johnathan Williams and Josh Perkins are back. As is Rui Hachimura, a sophomore out of Japan who looks very good this early in the season. A newcomer to the Zags is Corey Kispert from Edmonds, Washington. While at King’s High School, Kispert, a forward, led his high school to two state championships and was ranked the 72nd player in the country by Scout.com.

If you’ve been watching the Zags this year, you would have seen the 6-foot, 6-inch Kispert shooting the lights out in Gonzaga’s Kennel arena. Kispert has averaged 64.3 percent field goal shooting in two games and 55.6 percent from behind the three-point line.

It’s going to be a great season. Go Zags!

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