Americans are bombarded with ads that begin with “Talk to your doctor about…” and plug some pharmaceutical product or device. And many doctor-patient encounters end with a prescription of some sort. The rising cost of drugs and devices is a major contributor to overall health costs in this country; whether or not we are getting value for money is an open question.
Moreover, a number of high-profile drugs have come under intense scrutiny in the last several years and Public Citizen has played an important role in many: Vioxx, Avandia, Viagra, Rezulin, Darvon, Meridia.
Public Citizen has been assessing the quality and efficacy of drugs and devices since its founding in 1971. When we feel that the information provided to doctors or patients is misleading, insufficient, or just plain wrong, we do not hesitate to express an opinion. Our book Worst Pills, Best Pills, our monthly print newsletter and our Web site WorstPills.org have been at the forefront of the provision of information to patients. We also use the law, petitions, and letters to monitor the FDA and coax the agency into action. Our actions have contributed to 23 drugs being pulled off the market. Public Citizen has also been instrumental in getting “black box” and other warnings on drugs and devices.