WBEZ | prescription drugs http://www.wbez.org/tags/prescription-drugs Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Popular Acid Reflux Drugs Linked to Kidney Disease Risk http://www.wbez.org/news/popular-acid-reflux-drugs-linked-kidney-disease-risk-114447 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/nexium_custom-e01f0eaca7a6f8d5f57e6094eefba865bbad8cba-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>People who take certain popular medicines for heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux may want to proceed more cautiously, researchers reported Monday.</p><p>The drugs, known as proton-pump inhibitors (<a href="https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000381.htm">PPIs</a>), appear to significantly elevate the chances of developing chronic kidney disease, according to a&nbsp;<a href="http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?doi=10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7193">study</a>&nbsp;involving more than 250,000 people.</p><p>An estimated 15 million Americans use PPIs, which are sold by prescription and over-the-counter under a variety of brand names, including Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid.</p><p>&quot;They&#39;re very, very common medications,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/5426/morgan-grams">Morgan Grams</a>, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health who led the research, being published in the journal&nbsp;<em>JAMA Internal Medicine</em>.</p><p>When PPIs were first approved in the 1980s, the drugs appeared to be very safe. Since then, concerns have been rising about their safety. Evidence has emerged that the drugs may increase the risk for a variety of problems, including&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2010/05/26/127132723/fda-warns-about-bone-risks-from-heartburn-drugs">bone fractures</a>,<a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104552350">infections</a>&nbsp;and possibly even&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/06/11/413433350/data-dive-suggests-link-between-heartburn-drugs-and-heart-attacks">heart problems</a>.</p><p>Grams and her colleagues decided to examine whether PPIs might increase the risk for<a href="https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/chronickidneydisease.html">chronic kidney disease</a>. They examined the medical records of two groups of people: 10,482 participants in the Artherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study and 248,751 patients in the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania.</p><p>Among the 322 people using PPIs in the ARIC study, the 10-year estimated absolute risk for chronic kidney disease was 11.8 percent, the researchers reported. The expected risk would have been 8.5 percent. The 10-year absolute risk among the 16,900 patients using PPIs in the Geisinger Health System was 15.6 percent, whereas 13.9 percent would have been expected to develop chronic kidney disease.</p><p>Grams said it isn&#39;t possible from these data to determine who is at highest risk of developing kidney disease. The study looked only at whether someone had gotten a prescription for a PPI and did not look at how long someone may have been on the drug.</p><p>Grams also stressed that her study does not prove that the drugs can cause chronic kidney disease. More research is needed to explore the association she found, she says.</p><p>But the findings are worrying enough that people should use PPIs only when they really need them, she says.</p><p>&quot;Given the fact that so many people use PPI medications, I think it is judicious to exercise some caution,&quot; she says.</p><p>Other experts agree.</p><p>&quot;I think it&#39;s a pretty big concern,&quot; says Adam Schoenfeld, an internal medicine resident at the University of California, San Francisco, who co-authored an&nbsp;<a href="http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?doi=10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7927">editorial</a>accompanying the study.</p><p>Schoenfeld noted that other research has found that many prescriptions for PPIs are inappropriate.</p><p>&quot;When they first came out they weren&#39;t associated with side effects, or we didn&#39;t think they were,&quot; Schoenfeld says. &quot;So we put [people] on this medication thinking: &#39;It&#39;s a quick fix and they&#39;re very safe.&#39; But in actuality they&#39;re associated with a range of side effects.&quot;</p><p>Schoenfeld says people should try other measures first to alleviate heartburn and indigestion. For example, people often feel better if they change their diet, stop smoking or reduce their alcohol consumption, he says.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s other ways that people can feel better with indigestion or heartburn. They can change their diet,&quot; he says.</p><p><em>Shots&nbsp;</em>queried several companies that sell PPIs, including&nbsp;<a href="https://www.astrazeneca.com/">AstraZeneca</a>, which markets Nexium. In an email to&nbsp;<em>Shots</em>, Alicia Dunn, a spokesperson for AstraZeneca, wrote:</p><p>&quot;Patient safety is an important priority for AstraZeneca and we believe all of our PPI medicines ... are generally safe and effective when used in accordance with the label.&quot;</p><p>She added: &quot;We encourage patients to work with their health care provider to determine the most appropriate treatment approach based on their individual needs.&quot;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/01/11/462423759/popular-acid-reflux-drugs-are-linked-to-kidney-disease-risk?ft=nprml&amp;f=462423759" target="_blank">&mdash; via NPR</a></em></p></p> Mon, 11 Jan 2016 16:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/popular-acid-reflux-drugs-linked-kidney-disease-risk-114447 NIH Director: For Obesity, There’s No Magic Pill, Yet http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-12-09/nih-director-obesity-there%E2%80%99s-no-magic-pill-yet-114114 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/1209_obesity-diet-pills-624x415.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="attachment_97466"><img alt="The National Institutes of Health spends more than $800 million on obesity research every year. (Pixabay)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/12/1209_obesity-diet-pills-624x415.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="The National Institutes of Health spends more than $800 million on obesity research every year. (Pixabay)" /></div><div id="attachment_97465"><img alt="Dr. Francis Collins (NIH)" src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/media.wbur.org/wordpress/11/files/2015/12/1209_francis-collins-220x300.jpg" style="height: 273px; width: 200px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Dr. Francis Collins is director of the National Institutes of Health. (NIH)" /><p>The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends more than $800 million on obesity research every year. That is a fraction compared to the total cost of obesity to taxpayers and those affected with obesity.</p></div><p>According to NIH Director&nbsp;Dr. Francis Collins, that fraction is doing a lot to help find systematic solutions to counteract high obesity rates, but there is still much to be done.</p><p>For part three of<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/12/09/nih-obesity-no-magic-pill" target="_blank"><em>&nbsp;Here &amp; Now&#39;s </em></a>series&nbsp;<a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/tag/america-on-the-scale" target="_blank">America On The Scale</a>, host Jeremy Hobson speaks with Collins about the latest research and what it says about understanding obesity, its complications and how best to reduce the problem.</p></p> Wed, 09 Dec 2015 14:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-12-09/nih-director-obesity-there%E2%80%99s-no-magic-pill-yet-114114 Senate Questions 'Egregious' Price Hikes For Specialty Medicines http://www.wbez.org/news/senate-questions-egregious-price-hikes-specialty-medicines-114113 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/risingdrugprices_custom-505022b43288089d97f6f5016d9a05f6535cdee0-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res458977182" previewtitle="AIDS activists poured cat litter on an image of Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli during an October protest in New York."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="AIDS activists poured cat litter on an image of Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli during an October protest in New York." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/12/08/risingdrugprices_custom-505022b43288089d97f6f5016d9a05f6535cdee0-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 401px; width: 620px;" title="AIDS activists poured cat litter on an image of Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli during an October protest in New York. (Craig Ruttle/AP)" /></div><div><div><p>The Senate Special Committee on Aging is holding the first of a series of hearings Wednesday into why the prices of medicines that have been on the market for decades are suddenly climbing.</p></div></div></div><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aging.senate.gov/">investigation</a>&nbsp;by the Senate committee, led by Maine Republican&nbsp;<a href="https://www.collins.senate.gov/">Susan Collins</a>&nbsp;and Missouri Democrat&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/">Claire McCaskill</a>, is focusing on four pharmaceutical companies that bought the rights to certain drugs, and then dramatically increased the prices.</p><p>Collins called the price hikes &ndash; as much as nearly 5,000 percent in one case &mdash; &quot;egregious.&quot;</p><p>&quot;We&#39;ve had nontraditional companies come in, buy the rights to these drugs and then hike it up very high &ndash; and, as one executive put it, just because they can,&quot; Collins tells NPR.</p><p>Collins and McCaskill last month&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/TuringDocumentRequest.pdf">requested</a>&nbsp;detailed information from Turing Pharmaceuticals, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Retrophin and Rodelis Therapeutics about several drugs whose prices have skyrocketed in the last year.</p><p>In a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/ValeantDocumentRequest.pdf">letter to Valeant</a>, the senators asked for information on three drugs, including Cuprimine, a medicine that treats a metabolic condition called Wilson&#39;s disease. The price of Cuprimine jumped nearly nearly 3,000 percent after Valeant bought the rights to sell it, from $888 for 100 capsules to $26,189 for 100.</p><p>They&#39;ve asked Turing to explain the increase in the price of the toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim, which went from $13 a pill to $750; and they have&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/RetrophinDocumentRequest1.pdf">requested</a>&nbsp;information from Retrophin about why the price of Thiola, a drug to treat a rare kidney condition, rose from $1.50 a pill to $30.</p><p>Finally the senators<a href="http://www.aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/RodelisDocumentRequest1.pdf">&nbsp;asked Rodelis</a>&nbsp;how and why the company decided to raise the price of Seromycin, which treats multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, from just $500 for 30 pills to $10,800.</p><p>&quot;Some of these companies seem to act more like hedge funds than traditional pharmaceutical companies,&quot; Collins says.</p><p>Collins and McCaskill say none of the four companies fully responded to their requests by last week&#39;s deadline.</p><p>In a response to NPR&#39;s request for comment, a Valient spokeswoman emailed, &quot;We are cooperating with the committee&#39;s review, including providing documents they requested.&quot;</p><p>Retrophin supplied this written statement: &quot;Pharmaceutical pricing that strikes the right balance between affordability and enabling innovation is an issue of legitimate concern for patients and the industry, and we look forward to sharing our views with the special committee.&quot;</p><p>Turing and Rodelis didn&#39;t respond to interview requests by NPR.</p><p>The senators say they are determined to get answers; both pledge to issue subpoenas if the companies don&#39;t voluntarily comply.</p><p>Executives from the companies aren&#39;t scheduled to appear at Wednesday&#39;s hearing. McCaskill describes it as a &quot;table-setting&quot; hearing, where representatives from pharmacies, hospitals and universities will lay out the issue. The committee intends to summon executives from the companies later.</p><p>Both senators say they are keen to learn how the companies chose the drugs they bought and how they settled on the high prices.</p><p>&quot;This may be a business model,&quot; McCaskill says. &quot;It may be a way of gouging the public with drugs that are off patent but don&#39;t have a lot of competition because they&#39;re not widely prescribed.&quot;</p><p>She says she became worried about huge price hikes last summer at a hearing that was supposed to be about tax policy. An executive from Valeant was at the hearing, and McCaskill learned that the company had recently purchased rights to a heart drug called Isuprel and then raised the price by more than 500 percent.</p><p>&quot;I asked some pointed questions at that hearing,&quot; McCaskill says, &quot;and I never got answers. And I still haven&#39;t gotten the complete answers.&quot;</p><p>Traditionally, drug companies defend high prices by saying they spent a lot on the research and development of the drug in question. But Valeant didn&#39;t develop Isuprel; it acquired the drug long after it was on the market.</p><p>Valeant sent McCaskill a letter explaining that Isuprel is part of an in-hospital treatment and Valeant&#39;s analysis showed that hospitals could bear the cost.</p><p>&quot;Valeant&#39;s increases in the list prices of Nitropress and Isuprel have had limited impact on the average hospital&#39;s costs,&quot; the company letter said. It said some hospitals use a larger volume of the drugs and added, &quot;For those institutions where the impact was significantly greater, we are beginning to reach out to hospitals to determine an appropriate pricing strategy.&quot;</p><p>Companies like Turing are different from traditional drug companies, according to<a href="http://www.zsassociates.com/about/leadership-team/pratap-khedkar">Pratap Khedkar</a>, a managing director at ZS Associates who consults with the pharmaceutical industry on pricing. He says that&#39;s because they&#39;re not focused on developing new products.</p><p>&quot;It does sound like somebody who&#39;s flipping houses or something,&quot; Khedkar says, &quot;because you&#39;re not adding much value. You&#39;re simply looking for arbitrage, so that&#39;s much more of a hedge fund business than a pharmaceutical business.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/12/09/458976680/senate-questions-egregious-price-hikes-for-specialty-medicines?ft=nprml&amp;f=458976680" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 09 Dec 2015 14:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/senate-questions-egregious-price-hikes-specialty-medicines-114113 Medical marijuana coming to Illinois http://www.wbez.org/news/medical-marijuana-coming-illinois-108260 <p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana during a bustling news conference full of pomp and circumstance at the University of Chicago on Thursday.&nbsp;</p><p>Some, like Pamela Jones, a nurse who hung out in the back, watched the ceremony with a sense of seriousness though.</p><p>She said she recently lost her father to liver cancer and medicinal marijuana could have made him more comfortable while he was getting treatment.</p><p>&ldquo;I think if this bill would have been in effect, maybe he would have been spared, he would&rsquo;ve had a little bit of longevity in his life and possibly would&rsquo;ve been able to live a more fulfilled life towards the end stages of his life,&rdquo; Jones said.</p><p>State Rep. Lou Lang, who sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives, said medicinal marijuana will serve as a better alternative to pain relievers like morphine or Vicodin. He said those prescriptions have harmful effects.</p><p>&ldquo;Those medications, which were designed to help them feel better actually ruined their lives,&rdquo; Lang said.</p><p>The law allows doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients with cancer, glaucoma, Rheumatoid arthritis and a series of other illnesses.<br />Supporters say Illinois&rsquo; law is strictly regulated to prevent those who just want pot for recreational use to get it from a medical dispensary.</p><p>The bill goes into effect next year, but it could be months after that before grow houses are set up and producing marijuana.</p><p>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</p></p> Thu, 01 Aug 2013 15:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/medical-marijuana-coming-illinois-108260 Illinois joins network to track prescription drug use http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-joins-network-track-prescription-drug-use-104171 <p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; An Illinois medicine-monitoring program has joined a national data-sharing network to help prevent prescription drug abuse.</p><div><p>The Department of Human Services will link its prescription monitoring program to a National Association of Boards of Pharmacy network. It will help Human Services officials to better identify patients who have been issued duplicate prescriptions for controlled substances in different states.</p><p>To prevent abuse of prescriptions it will alert physicians and pharmacies when a patient has been given more than recommended dosages.</p><p>The program began in Illinois in 1986 but monitored only certain drugs.</p><p>Last year, the program collected 18 million prescription records which 19,000 doctors and pharmacies consult regularly.</p><p>A federal grant is funding the program&#39;s expansion.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 07:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-joins-network-track-prescription-drug-use-104171 Winning a referendum is no silver bullet http://www.wbez.org/story/200-cut-rate-liquors/winning-referendum-no-silver-bullet <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-13/REFERENDUM_Rea_Woods.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The idea behind a referendum is to give voters a direct voice in making their community better. These ballot questions can cover anything from stem-cell research to the fate of an empty lot. They may be binding or just advisory. Last month, referenda were on ballots in nine Chicago precincts. But it&rsquo;s not clear the voters will get what they had in mind &mdash; even if they were on the winning side. We&rsquo;ll hear now from WBEZ reporters in three parts of the city. We start with Chip Mitchell at our West Side bureau.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Kurt Gippert lives near a building here in Humboldt Park that seemed like a magnet.<br /><br />GIPPERT: Gang banging, loitering, drug sales, some prostitution, tons of urinating.<br /><br />MITCHELL: It was a liquor store.<br /><br />GIPPERT: In 2010, we had at least nine people shot in front of that store.<br /><br />MITCHELL: Under city pressure, the store closed last fall. Gippert and his neighbors wanted it gone for good, so they turned to a 77-year-old Illinois law that lets voters ban selling alcohol in their precinct.<br /><br />GIPPERT: It&rsquo;s the only power we had &mdash; the only surefire, effective thing that was going to last longer than six months or a year.<br /><br />MITCHELL: They petitioned to put the referendum on last month&rsquo;s ballot. And voters passed it about 4-to-1. Starting next week, the precinct will be dry. There&rsquo;s just one problem.<br /><br />SOUND: Car alarm.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on the scene): The place with the gang bangers in front wasn&rsquo;t the precinct&rsquo;s only store selling alcohol. I&rsquo;m outside a CVS a few blocks west. The clerks inside tell me booze accounts for about half their sales. But there&rsquo;s also a stream of customers who rely on this CVS for everything from prescription drugs to shampoo and milk. Without its liquor sales here, some of these folks worry CVS might close this store.<br /><br />CUSTOMER 1: Some of my family members get their prescriptions filled here. And it&rsquo;s really convenient that they can walk here instead of worrying about getting a ride or catching the bus.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on the scene): Do they have cars?<br /><br />CUSTOMER 1: No.<br /><br />CUSTOMER 2: I got three kids, so we need milk. If you get something for them from the corner store, it&rsquo;ll probably be old.<br /><br />CUSTOMER 3: Everybody around here, I guess, is poor. So they need to get to a place that most of them can walk to. Bus fare is high. Cab fare is high. So, yeah, it would hurt them.<br /><br />MITCHELL: CVS isn&rsquo;t answering whether it&rsquo;ll keep the store open once it quits selling alcohol. Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) supported the referendum. But he admits there&rsquo;s collateral damage.<br /><br />MALDONADO: We don&rsquo;t have a lot of retail in the area. And we have never heard complaints about CVS. However, if they depend on liquor to remain viable, then they should not be open.<br /><br />MITCHELL: I ask Maldonado about other precincts in his ward.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on the scene): Businesses that are selling alcohol and doing so responsibly, without a lot of problems out in front, do they have anything to worry about?<br /><br />MALDONADO: No, they don&rsquo;t have to worry as long as they are conscious about their own responsibility [to be] a good business neighbor.<br /><br />MITCHELL: And as long as residents don&rsquo;t vote the precinct dry. Reporting from Chicago&rsquo;s West Side, I&rsquo;m Chip Mitchell.<br /><br />MOORE: And I&rsquo;m Natalie Moore at our Side South bureau. The situation was different in a 3rd Ward precinct along East 47th Street. Voters didn&rsquo;t take aim at all liquor. They had specific targets: Night Train, Wild Irish Rose, Thunderbird &mdash; cheap, fortified wines that some residents say attracted low-end elements to the neighborhood. The referendum was nonbinding, nothing more than an opinion poll. Still, the majority voted to ban fortified wines at two stores. No more malt liquor either. But one of the stores took 22-ounce malt liquor off the shelves in July.<br /><br />MICHELIS: Took a hit on sales, between $20,000-$25,000 a month, but I gained it from the wines I put in the store.<br /><br />MOORE: Steve Michelis owns a store called 200 Cut Rate Liquors. Michelis says voters got what they wanted. He says the loitering and begging in front of his place stopped last year. Still, he didn&rsquo;t mind last month&rsquo;s referendum.<br /><br />MICHELIS: I don&rsquo;t care. I don&rsquo;t have anything to hide.<br /><br />MOORE: Maybe another reason Michelis didn&rsquo;t mind so much was because he was already getting other pressure &mdash; from Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd).<br /><br />DOWELL: You have people who stand outside, they drink it, they throw the can down, they beg for money or they go back in and get some money from somewhere and go back and buy another can.<br /><br />MOORE: Residents targeted Aristo Food and Liquor on the ballot, too. While residents gathered signatures for the nonbinding referendum, Dowell had her own approach. She&rsquo;s been working on getting the owners to sign agreements to stop selling the cheap liquor. She&rsquo;ll then attach them to their liquor licenses with the city. That would make them binding. The owner of Aristo says he plans to comply with Dowell. But the alderman says she&rsquo;s still waiting to hear back from him. Reporting from the city&rsquo;s South Side, I&rsquo;m Natalie Moore.<br /><br />YOUSEF: And I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef. Here on the North Side, one alderman and some voters are not on the same page. And, the issue isn&rsquo;t liquor. It&rsquo;s land use.<br /><br />GLAZIER: There&rsquo;s going to be three large driveways next to each other.<br /><br />YOUSEF: This is Josh Glazier.<br /><br />GLAZIER: Two for trucks coming in and out of the project, and one for several hundred cars that are going to remain inside the building.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Glazier lives behind this unused hospital garage in Lincoln Park. He&rsquo;s not happy about a developer&rsquo;s plan to turn it into a grocery store.<br /><br />GLAZIER: The community really objects to the grocer and the trucks.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Glazier says Ald. Vi Daley (43rd) has heard him out. He and others recall her saying she&rsquo;d stay neutral until the community reached a consensus on the project. But in spite of overwhelming opposition at public meetings. . .<br /><br />GLAZIER: We&rsquo;ve been hearing for quite some time that the alderman had this secret list, with the names of all the project&rsquo;s supporters and opponents. And increasingly she&rsquo;s been telling us the count was very close. And we didn&rsquo;t feel like a secret list should be the basis for any decision on the project.<br /><br />YOUSEF: So Glazier and fellow opponents gathered signatures to put the issue on their precinct&rsquo;s February ballot.<br /><br />YOUSEF (on the scene): So you knew going into this that this would not be a binding result?<br /><br />GLAZIER: Of course it was not going to be a binding result, but it was going to create some transparency.<br /><br />YOUSEF: And that&rsquo;s what Glazier says he got. Most voters opposed the project at the polls. So he was stunned to hear Ald. Daley&rsquo;s official position just days later. In a statement, she wrote, &ldquo;I will not delay this project any longer and I will vote to approve this project at City Council.&rdquo; Daley said only a narrow majority of voters opposed the development. She said she heard from many ward residents who do want it. They live outside the precinct that voted on it. I asked Prof. Christopher Berry of the University of Chicago if that was a legitimate reason to discount the referendum results:<br /><br />BERRY: Well, it&rsquo;s a legitimate tack to take, but the only way we would really know the answer is to have some sort of scientific public opinion poll that was done, that included everyone in the affected geography.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Berry says referenda are anything but scientific. They&rsquo;re often put together by self-selected groups on one side of an issue. And, usually, only a small fraction of voters come out to decide it. Berry says with referenda, the real story often isn&rsquo;t about how the vote came down. It&rsquo;s that an issue came down to a vote at all.<br /><br />BERRY: When you see a referendum, which means citizens have to be directly making this policy, it suggests some sort of failure or breakdown in the process between the citizens and their representatives.<br /><br />YOUSEF: Berry says those breakdowns are rare because politicians usually want to get reelected. But, in Lincoln Park, that&rsquo;s not the case. Ald. Daley retires in May. On Chicago&rsquo;s North Side, I&rsquo;m Odette Yousef, WBEZ.</p></p> Mon, 14 Mar 2011 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/200-cut-rate-liquors/winning-referendum-no-silver-bullet