August 2013 media hits

Public Citizen is mentioned, or its experts quoted, every day in print and broadcast media around the world. Below are links to some of the recent stories in which we have appeared.

Labor Day Shines Light on Challenges, Courage of Low-Wage Workers

8/31/2013
Labor Day Shines Light on Challenges, Courage of Low-Wage Workers - Liz Ben-Ishai is a policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). She works on job quality issues, advocating for paid leave and more responsive workplaces. Prior to joining CLASP, she was a campaign coordinator at Public Citizen and a political science professor at a liberal arts college in Michigan. She is also a new mom to a baby girl, born March 2013.

Public Citizen Op-Ed: Not Much Chance for Cutting Red Tape for Businesses

8/31/2013
Public Citizen Op-Ed: Not Much Chance for Cutting Red Tape for Businesses by Robert Weissman , President, Public Citizen Katherine McFate, President, Center for Effective Government Washington - Despite a series of contaminated food outbreaks, the Wall Street financial collapse and an explosion at a fertilizer facility in Texas that killed 15 people, Sens. King and Blunt want to create a new, secretive system for eliminating regulatory safeguards…..

U.S. weighs informed consent rules in wake of infant study controversy

8/31/2013
U.S. weighs informed consent rules in wake of infant study controversy - While it is true that the SUPPORT infants got treatments within the range of normal care, they were put into high- or low-oxygenation groups, while doctors in neonatal care units often change oxygenation levels in response to a variety of signs and symptoms, said Michael Carome, Public Citizen’s director of health research and a former OHRP official.  

Does Refusing To Help Constituents With Obamacare Cross An Ethical Line?

8/31/2013
Does Refusing To Help Constituents With Obamacare Cross An Ethical Line? - Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist with nonpartisan but progressive watchdog Public Citizen, wrote to TPM in an email that public declarations by House members that they won’t help constituents access benefits available to them under federal law is largely unprecedented.

Today's Teamster News 08.31.13

8/31/2013
Today's Teamster News 08.31.13 - Colombia Uprising: Is This What "Free Trade" Looks Like? Public Citizen ...Unfair trade is one of the rallying cries of the underreported protests currently wracking Colombia...

D.C. Week: HHS Eyes Informed Consent Process

8/31/2013
D.C. Week: HHS Eyes Informed Consent Process - Wednesday's public hearing stems from allegations surrounding the federally funded SUPPORT trial, which evaluated oxygen saturation targets in premature infants. The watchdog group Public Citizen earlier this year alleged that the Office for Human Research Protections failed to respond appropriately when it uncovered deficiencies in the consent forms that left infants' parents uninformed about potential risks in a study.  

Dark Money Group Spent on House Race, Then Told IRS It Didn't

8/31/2013
Dark Money Group Spent on House Race, Then Told IRS It Didn't - "This type of inaccurate reporting by electioneering nonprofit groups has a long history," says Public Citizen's Craig Holman, when asked about the group's most recent filing. "It is rooted in the fact that the IRS almost never holds these groups accountable for such false declarations."

Report uncovers massive holes in physician database

8/29/2013
Report uncovers massive holes in physician database - A recent report by Public Citizen uncovered glaring holes in a key government-run database meant to identify doctors and other health care providers who may not be fit for employment. The report found that the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) contains at least 50,000 incomplete files, a huge gap which makes it difficult for hospitals and other health care organizations to effectively screen doctors.

Ethics debate for medical research on preemies: How much should parents be warned of risks?

8/29/2013
Ethics debate for medical research on preemies: How much should parents be warned of risks? - “This continued pattern of egregious informed consent deficiencies in NIH-funded trials involving the most vulnerable of human beings is deeply troubling,” Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, said in a statement. “These ethical lapses may represent the tip of the iceberg.”  

DHS cops roust doctors, parents holding news conference at HHS

8/29/2013
DHS cops roust doctors, parents holding news conference at HHS - HHS convened an unusual public forum on the topic yesterday and Public Citizen says it fears the agency is trying to drum up support for weakening existing standards. “The fact that HHS is having a public discussion about this indicates that an enormous amount of pressure is being brought to bear by people who are trying to weaken the current standards of research with human subjects,” said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

Premature baby study: Families speak out, criticize consent forms

8/29/2013
Premature baby study: Families speak out, criticize consent forms - One criticism of the SUPPORT study was that it did not make clear that the risk of side effects — which included blindness and death — might differ depending on which group the babies are assigned to, according to Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group.  

What does “informed consent” mean?

8/29/2013
What does “informed consent” mean? - In addition to the initial critique by the OHRP, the SUPPORT study was criticized by advocacy group Public Citizen. The advocacy group stated, "Because this study was funded by the NIH, the Department of Health and Human Services now has a moral obligation to formally apologize to the parents of all subjects enrolled in the study." Additionally, Public Citizen called on HHS to hold hearings into the informed consent process in federally-funded trials -- the hearings which were held on August 28.

Public Citizen warns about risks in infant clinical trials

8/29/2013
Public Citizen warns about risks in infant clinical trials - “The debate goes to the heart of how research is conducted in the United States and could have far-reaching, negative implications if changes are made to weaken the ethical and regulatory standards by which trials are run,” said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

Advocates questioning consent in infant studies

8/29/2013
Advocates questioning consent in infant studies - Dr. Michael Carome of Public Citizen said the studies that have been called into question “may represent the tip of the iceberg in which consent for risky research is inadequate.”

Experts debate ethics of studies on preemies

8/28/2013
Experts debate ethics of studies on preemies - "Some babies, the interventions they receive in research don’t match what they would otherwise get in clinical care," said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group.

HHS urged to take bigger role in trial consent process

8/28/2013
HHS urged to take bigger role in trial consent process - Sidney Wolfe, MD, founder of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, called for greater oversight of the informed consent process by OHRP, although others asked the agency to withdraw its criticism of the SUPPORT trial. "We think that rather than lessening the standard, weakening the standard, there should be an increased surveillance based on what has happened in the SUPPORT study," Wolfe said. "To weaken the standards would be to sacrifice critical informed consent of patients."

Prescription for galloping corporatism

8/28/2013
Prescription for galloping corporatism - Public Citizen notes that there are currently over $13 billion in pending corporate "investor-state" trade pact attacks on domestic environmental, public health and transportation policy. "....mere threats of such cases have resulted in countries dropping important public interest initiatives, exposing their populations to harm that could have been avoided...Over $719 million has been paid out under U.S.

Manhattan Lasik threatens Yelp reviewer for calling them scumbags who used Groupon as bait-and-switch

8/28/2013
Manhattan Lasik threatens Yelp reviewer for calling them scumbags who used Groupon as bait-and-switch - Paul Levy from Public Citizen has the full story of Manhattan Lasik hiring Frederic Abramson to send a legal threat to Michael Linden. Levy notes that it appears some lawyers have been lined up to support Linden should this progress -- with one of them raising the question of whether or not Manhattan Lasik is guilty of false advertising with its Groupon promotions. Levy and that lawyer sent the NY Attorney General's office some info for them to investigate.

Anatomy of a Tragedy

8/28/2013
Anatomy of a Tragedy - In 2012, the public interest research group Public Citizen commissioned a research project to cross-reference doctors sanctioned by the Texas Medical Board with those listed in the National Practitioner Databank, managed by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Every time a doctor loses clinical privileges at a hospital, or has them suspended, hospitals are required by law to notify the National Practitioner Databank. Public Citizen found that 793 Texas doctors had lost clinical privileges between 1990 and 2011.

Consumer group protests controversial studies involving premature infants

8/28/2013
Consumer group protests controversial studies involving premature infants - Public Citizen called attention Wednesday to two federally funded studies in which they charge that researchers downplayed the possible consequences for babies' health.

Heat Kills: As temperatures climb, workers succumb to heat

8/28/2013
Heat Kills: As temperatures climb, workers succumb to heat - In 2011, Public Citizen, Farmworker Justice, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America filed a petition asking that OSHA enact an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from excessive heat. Responding in June 2012, the Department of Labor denied the petition, saying that it was already taking action to address the problem. OSHA wrote that while it agreed “exposure to extreme heat can lead to death,” most workers with adverse health effects resulting from heat exposure “are able to recover fairly quickly when appropriate measures are taken.”  

Public Citizen wants HHS to stop trials over consent issue

8/28/2013
Public Citizen wants HHS to stop trials over consent issue - Consumer group Public Citizen on Wednesday called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to suspend clinical trials involving premature infants, in the wake of revelations that a government-funded study allegedly failed to disclose that participants were at risk of blindness or death.

Will improvements to medical examining board be enough?

8/28/2013
Will improvements to medical examining board be enough? - In 2012, Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, ranked Connecticut fifth-lowest among states in taking serious disciplinary actions against physicians between 2009 and 2011.

Groups call on government to halt infant study

8/28/2013
Groups call on government to halt infant study - Groups including Public Citizen say that parents were not adequately informed of risks to their infants in study involving oxygen supply for preemies and a new study looking at blood transfusions. The study has since ended.

Differences on display on US informed consent rules

8/28/2013
Differences on display on US informed consent rules - After OHRP criticized the study’s consent forms in March, a string of reaction followed from the highest research echelons. They included this commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine by NIH director Francis Collins and his policy deputy, Kathy Hudson. Most of the responses defended the trial and the forms, arguing that the babies were put at no additional risk. But a vocal minority of physicians and bioethicists and the advocacy group Public Citizen have loudly disagreed. So did this Nature editorial, published last week.

Do recent diet drug approvals ‘put the FDA to shame?’

8/28/2013
Do recent diet drug approvals ‘put the FDA to shame?’ - Drug industry's longtime critic, Dr Sidney Wolfe, founder and senior adviser to the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, questions the US FDA's decision to approve two diet drugs that were rejected as too dangerous by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

UNM criticized over its study of infants

8/28/2013
UNM criticized over its study of infants - The group, Public Citizen, has asked U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to halt recruitment for the new study, which aims to find better ways to treat anemia in premature infants.

Study of premature babies with Children’s Mercy input sparks debate

8/27/2013
Study of premature babies with Children’s Mercy input sparks debate - “We believe that is simply misleading,” said Michael Carome, a physician and director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “The researchers should be fully transparent.”  

Appeals Court takes up case with significant implications for class action suits

8/27/2013
Appeals Court takes up case with significant implications for class action suits - Scott Michelman blogs about the Applebee’s case, Roach v. T.L. Cannon, which he will be arguing before the Second Circuit  

Malpractice payments not responsible for increasing medical costs

8/27/2013
Malpractice payments not responsible for increasing medical costs - A recent report by the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen exposes the falsity of the oft cited myth that medical malpractice payments and defensive medicine are principal factors behind out of control healthcare costs. The report is based on data released by the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), a federal “confidential information clearinghouse” that maintains and tracks adverse actions against healthcare providers, including medical malpractice indemnity payments, licensure actions, loss of clinical privileges and other administrative discipline.

Doctors, environmental groups want tighter emissions limits on Energy Future Holdings’ coal plants

8/27/2013
Doctors, environmental groups want tighter emissions limits on Energy Future Holdings’ coal plants - Tom “Smitty” Smith of Public Citizen, one of the groups joining the Dallas County Medical Society in the petition, said the five-year deadline is meant to provide plenty of time to find cleaner power options. “That allows the market to plan rationally,” he said. “None of us wants the lights to go out.”

Public Citizen Op-Ed: Obama’s Trade Policy

8/27/2013
Public Citizen Op-Ed: Obama’s Trade Policy - Letter to the editor by Peter on the TPP and how it could keep medicine prices higher and lead to preventable death and suffering.  

Diet pill dilemma: Why is FDA approving drugs when Europe isn’t?

8/27/2013
Diet pill dilemma: Why is FDA approving drugs when Europe isn’t? - In the current issue of the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal), Sidney Wolfe, founder of the advocacy group Public Citizen, slams the FDA for approving the drugs – lorcaserin (US brand name Belviq) and topiramate (called Qsymia). The FDA’s European counterpart rejected both of them because of heart risks that turned up during preliminary trials.  

Cardio Notes: Flu vaccine may ward off MI

8/26/2013
Cardio Notes: Flu vaccine may ward off MI - Public Citizen, a watchdog group, has called on the FDA to warn patients against using clopidogrel (Plavix) beyond 1 year after drug-eluting stent implantation because of the risk of major bleeding and a lack of evidence supporting the effectiveness of prolonged use. Sidney Wolfe, MD, founder of and senior adviser to Public Citizen's Health Research Group, said in a statement,"The FDA should promptly warn against prolonged use on the product's labeling, require a warning in patient medication guides, and ask the manufacturers to send a letter warning physicians."  

Protect the Helpless: NeOProM suffocation protocol for preemies

8/26/2013
Protect the Helpless: NeOProM suffocation protocol for preemies - July 2013 Dr Sidney Wolfe queries why consent forms used in BOOST II have not been investigated by government authorities  

Judge approves $20 million Facebook fund to settle advertising suit

8/26/2013
Judge approves $20 million Facebook fund to settle advertising suit - Public Citizen said it was disappointed by Monday's decision. The ruling "gave short shrift to kids' online privacy rights and will enable Facebook to continue exploiting minors' images for profit in violation of the laws of seven states," said Scott Michelman, a staff attorney with the Washington, D.C.-based group.

ObamaCare’s architects reap windfall as Washington lobbyists

8/25/2013
ObamaCare’s architects reap windfall as Washington lobbyists - “After passage of major legislation, those who have networks on Capitol Hill take exceedingly lucrative jobs with the same industries subject to the legislation,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen. “It raises questions about the [bill's] integrity.”

Diet drug controversy as US approves meds rejected by Europe

8/25/2013
Diet drug controversy as US approves meds rejected by Europe - Dr. Sidney Wolfe, founder of the health research group at Public Citizen, says that the fact these drugs have been banned by the European regulator "puts the FDA to shame."

Bad doctors

8/25/2013
Bad doctors - After a USA Today investigation showed that thousands of doctors who have been banned by hospitals over errors haven't been punished by the state medical boards that license them, I invited Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the Public Citizen Health Research Group to explain why they're allowed to continue practicing. I asked him why there isn't a national database that patients can check to see if a doctor has a bad record, so we can make informed consumer choices about our health care -- and why other physicians aren't even allowed that information before making a referral!

What is wrong with the Keystone XL Pipeline?

8/25/2013
What is wrong with the Keystone XL Pipeline? - Ironically, the XL pipeline may increase gasoline prices for Americans and reduce national energy security – not bolster it, as promoters claim (Public Citizen).  

High rate of health care worker injuries worries employers and insurers

8/25/2013
High rate of health care worker injuries worries employers and insurers - Last month, for example, a nonprofit consumer organization named Public Citizen issued a report questioning the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's ability to protect health care workers.

Public Advocacy Group Claims Federally Funded Study Puts Premature Infants At Risk, Parents Not Properly Informed

8/24/2013
Public Advocacy Group Claims Federally Funded Study Puts Premature Infants At Risk, Parents Not Properly Informed - In an average week in the U.S., 10,056 babies are born preterm. Public Citizen, in a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS), states that a federally funded clinical trial currently underway poses known risks to premature babies without fully informing the parents of potential dangers. A non-profit organization that champions citizens’ interests, Public Citizen has requested that HHS halt the trial and notify parents of babies already enrolled about the risks to their children.

Another study of preemies blasted over ethical concerns

8/23/2013
Another study of preemies blasted over ethical concerns - For the second time in four months, the consumer group Public Citizen is alleging that a large, federally funded study of premature infants is ethically flawed.

Should FDA have approved weight loss drugs?

8/23/2013
Should FDA have approved weight loss drugs? - “It is not the resistance of Americans to the risks of these drugs but the intermittently dangerous malleability of the FDA that is the problem in the cases discussed here.” – Sidney Wolfe  

State makes worker safety gains

8/23/2013
State makes worker safety gains - Washington, D.C.-based Public Citizen cautioned that Indiana’s figures are preliminary and are likely based on fewer Hoosiers working various high-risk occupations. “The numbers are guaranteed to change,” said Keith Wrightson, a worker safety and health specialist with Public Citizen.

U.S. defends study of blood transfusions for premature babies

8/23/2013
U.S. defends study of blood transfusions for premature babies - A government-supported study of blood transfusion levels in premature infants adheres to the highest ethical and clinical standards, the National Institutes of Health said this week in response to advocacy group Public Citizen, which has called for the study to be stopped.

Another compounding pharmacy debacle in Texas

8/23/2013
Another compounding pharmacy debacle in Texas - “The FDA knew there was a serious problem here but didn’t use its existing legal authority to take prompt, aggressive enforcement action against the company. That exposed patients to unnecessary risk and might have contributed to 15 people being infected,” Michael Carome, MD, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, said in a press release. “What’s the purpose of inspecting a facility if you’re not going to take appropriate action when you find conditions that pose a safety threat to patients?” (MedPage Today, 8/14/13)

Study of preemies ‘like flipping a coin’? Group says trial fails some ethical tests

8/23/2013
Study of preemies ‘like flipping a coin’? Group says trial fails some ethical tests - What Public Citizen is concerned about is that one of the study groups will not receive the treatment until their anemia has become severe. The other group will receive the transfusion when the condition is still mild.

Why did FDA approve two diet drugs banned in Europe?

8/23/2013
Why did FDA approve two diet drugs banned in Europe? - Writing in the journal BMJ this week, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, a leading and outspoken consumer health advocate, asks why two prescription diet drugs that European regulators rejected were subsequently approved for use in the United States. “Are Americans more resistant to the risks and more likely to benefit from certain drugs than Europeans,” asks Wolfe, “or, on the contrary, is the European Medicines Agency (EMA) more resistant than the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the drug industry’s desire to get approval for drugs with unique risks but without compensating benefits?”

Two new weight-loss drugs create controversy

8/23/2013
Two new weight-loss drugs create controversy - “Are Americans more resistant to the risks and more likely to benefit from certain drugs than Europeans?” Dr. Wolfe asks in the paper. “Or, on the contrary, is the European Medicines Agency more resistant than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to the drug industry’s desire to get approval for drugs with unique risks but without compensating benefits?”

Citizen watchdog warns of ‘safe diet drug delusion’ in the U.S.

8/23/2013
Citizen watchdog warns of ‘safe diet drug delusion’ in the U.S. - The founder of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, which petitioned the FDA to reject both drugs, says there is a "safe diet drug delusion." The author concludes: "This is not to say that the EMA is perfect but rather that its recent record on drugs such as these puts the FDA to shame. It is ... the intermittently dangerous malleability of the FDA that is the problem in the cases discussed here."

Keeping a massive trade deal out of the fast lane

8/22/2013
Keeping a massive trade deal out of the fast lane - Significant as its economic impact could be, the TPP is only marginally about trade. Just five of the twenty-nine draft chapters cover traditional trade matters, according to Ben Beachy, the research director for Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Watch out, Karl Rove: New lawsuit targets dark-money politics

8/22/2013
Watch out, Karl Rove: New lawsuit targets dark-money politics - The campaign-finance watchdogs joining Van Hollen as plaintiffs — Democracy 21, Public Citizen and the Campaign Legal Center — saw the train wreck coming.  

Campaign reformers target IRS treatment of nonprofits

8/22/2013
Campaign reformers target IRS treatment of nonprofits - Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen asked a federal judge in the District of Columbia on Wednesday to force the tax agency to amend its rules on "social welfare" organizations.  

Think twice about pipeline safety

8/22/2013
Think twice about pipeline safety - In Canada, as reported recently in Public Citizen, a Keystone whistle-blower testified to Canada’s senate that Keystone scornfully “ignore[s] legally required regulations.”

New U.S. clinical trial poses risks to premature babies: watchdog

8/22/2013
New U.S. clinical trial poses risks to premature babies: watchdog - "This continued pattern of egregious informed consent deficiencies in NIH-funded trials involving the most vulnerable of human beings is deeply troubling," said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group. "These ethical lapses may represent the tip of the iceberg."  

Jesus voted against your sins

8/22/2013
Jesus voted against your sins - “We want to allow pastors to talk about political issues because they’re relevant to their churches,” says Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen. “They should be able to express their own personal viewpoints. But they shouldn’t be able to cross the line and say, ‘Therefore you should vote for these candidates.’"

Issa and Jordan question Paz testimony – Paz attorney: Issa letter is ‘crazy

8/22/2013
Issa and Jordan question Paz testimony – Paz attorney: Issa letter is ‘crazy - Lew to California - Rep. Chris Van Hollen filed a lawsuit to stop the IRS from allowing political groups to file as 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations. The Maryland Democrat filed the suit in conjunction with the nonprofit organizations Democracy21 and Public Citizen.  

Anti-obesity drugs should not have been approved, expert says

8/22/2013
Anti-obesity drugs should not have been approved, expert says - “Are Americans more resistant to the risks and more likely to benefit from certain drugs than Europeans?” Dr. Wolfe asks in the paper, “Or, on the contrary, is the European Medicines Agency more resistant than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to the drug industry’s desire to get approval for drugs with unique risks but without compensating benefits?”  

Elizabeth Warren’s secret: The Salon interview

8/22/2013
Elizabeth Warren’s secret: The Salon interview - “She has elevated ‘the game’ of other senators,” said Bartlett Naylor of Public Citizen. “No longer can her peers survive a committee hearing on a one-minute staff briefing before asking a question written for them, if it might be at odds with one of her positions.”  

Consumer advocate calls for Plavix boxed warning

8/21/2013
Consumer advocate calls for Plavix boxed warning - "The research shows that using this drug for more than 12 months puts people at risk of potentially life-threatening bleeding, without any evidence that it's doing any good at that point," said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, of Public Citizen's Health Research Group.  

Healthcare workplaces deemed most dangerous for employees

8/21/2013
Healthcare workplaces deemed most dangerous for employees - Just recently, a Public Citizen report was released that listed healthcare workplaces as among the most dangerous work environments in the United States. The report revealed several shocking statistics...  

Rep. Van Hollen announces IRS suit – says tax collection agency is notorious for ‘wrong reasons’

8/21/2013
Rep. Van Hollen announces IRS suit – says tax collection agency is notorious for ‘wrong reasons’ - Van Hollen has joined Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen in filing the lawsuit against the IRS.  

Top Dem sues IRS over tax exemptions

8/21/2013
Top Dem sues IRS over tax exemptions - The Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21 and Public Citizen are also on the suit, which was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington. Public Citizen’s Scott Nelson will be the lead counsel for the plaintiffs.  

Liberal groups sue IRS to stop campaign spending by tax-exempts

8/21/2013
Liberal groups sue IRS to stop campaign spending by tax-exempts - "The public has a right to know who's bank rolling these election campaigns," said Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat suing the IRS with Democracy 21, Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen Inc, liberal-leaning groups that advocate for more campaign finance transparency.  

Tech, taxes and California sun – Beer, commodities and taxes

8/21/2013
Tech, taxes and California sun – Beer, commodities and taxes - Rep. Chris Van Hollen is scheduled to brief reporters tomorrow on a new lawsuit challenging the IRS rules for the tax exempt status of social welfare groups. Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen will be the plaintiffs on the case under the legal guidance of Public Citizen.  

Van Hollen, watchdog groups sue IRS

8/21/2013
Van Hollen, watchdog groups sue IRS - Scott Nelson of Public Citizen, lead plaintiff attorney in the case, said the complaint seeks to stop future undisclosed political spending by the organizations, but it would not punish any groups retroactively. As a congressman, Van Hollen has the standing necessary to bring the case to federal court, Nelson said.  

IRS sued over rule that lets dark money flood elections

8/21/2013
IRS sued over rule that lets dark money flood elections - "The IRS for some 54 years has had a regulation that contradicts the plain language of the Internal Revenue Service code," added Scott Nelson of Public Citizen, who is the lead lawyer on the suit.  

Van Hollen denies Organizing for Action engages in campaign activities

8/21/2013
Van Hollen denies Organizing for Action engages in campaign activities - A representative from Public Citizen, which has joined Van Hollen’s lawsuit, told Politico that the group “should be careful.” “What you can’t do is cross the line into advocating for or against candidates,” said Public Citizen’s Lisa Gilbert. “They are straddling the line with the way they are organized, and they need to be careful that they stick to issue work.”  

Democratic congressman sues IRS over political rules

8/21/2013
Democratic congressman sues IRS over political rules - Van Hollen, the former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, filed the suit in his official capacity. He was joined by three groups that seek to limit money in politics: Democracy 21, Public Citizen and the Campaign Legal Center.  

10 News Investigators and USA Today find bad docs not disciplined

8/21/2013
10 News Investigators and USA Today find bad docs not disciplined - In fact, a study by the watchdog group Public Citizen ranks Florida 42nd in taking serious disciplinary action against physicians. But the chairman of the Florida Board of Medicine, Dr. Zachariah Zachariah, says don't blame the board.  

Senior House Democrat sues IRS over tax exemptions

8/21/2013
Senior House Democrat sues IRS over tax exemptions - The suit, joined by the campaign watchdog groups Democracy 21, Public Citizen and the Campaign Legal Center, signaled that forces for increased campaign finance regulation may be regaining their footing after the controversy over the I.R.S.’s targeting of political groups had put them on the defensive for months.  

Lawmaker seeks to end IRS’ role as political arbiter

8/21/2013
Lawmaker seeks to end IRS’ role as political arbiter - Public Citizen Attorney Scott Nelson said the suit relies on “the Administrative Procedure Act, which allows citizens to come in and get relief against an agency when it takes action that is unlawful or fails or delays to act.”  

Rep. Chris Van Hollen to file lawsuit against IRS over tax-exemption rules

8/20/2013
Rep. Chris Van Hollen to file lawsuit against IRS over tax-exemption rules - Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee whose office announced the action, will serve as lead plaintiff in the case, joining campaign-finance watchdogs Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen.  

Thousands of doctors practicing despite errors, misconduct

8/20/2013
Thousands of doctors practicing despite errors, misconduct - "The states vary all over the lot in terms of the resources the boards have, whether they have good leadership, and whether they are regularly querying the (Data Bank)," says Sidney Wolfe, a physician and founder of Public Citizen's Health Research Group. "Some states do a pretty good job; a lot of them don't."  

The ‘real IRS scandal’: Now, a lawsuit

8/20/2013
The ‘real IRS scandal’: Now, a lawsuit - The lawsuit, also filed by three campaign-finance watchdog groups—Democracy 21, the Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen—challenges IRS regulations adopted in 1959 that govern eligibility for tax-exempt status under 501(c)(4).  

Lack of oversight promotes dangerous conditions for health care workers

8/19/2013
Lack of oversight promotes dangerous conditions for health care workers - According to a recent report by Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization, nurses, nurses’ aides, orderlies and hospital/continuing care attendants suffer more musculoskeletal injuries than people working in any other profession. The reason, the report suggests, isn’t just because much of what these workers do is physical, but because of insufficient safety inspections at their work sites.  

Public opposition to Plaquemines Parish coal terminal grows

8/19/2013
Public opposition to Plaquemines Parish coal terminal grows - Members of the Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition or CGCC fear the RAM terminal will impact the river diversion, and they hope the state denies the company its remaining permits. CGCC includes the Sierra Club, the Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Plaquemines Residents for Environmental Integrity and Public Citizen Texas.  

Diabetics may face blood sugar problems from Levaquin, other anitbiotics

8/19/2013
Diabetics may face blood sugar problems from Levaquin, other anitbiotics - In July 2008, the FDA required that a “black box” warning be added about the tendon rupture risk with Levaquin and other fluoroquinolone antibiotics, which is the strongest warning that can be placed on a prescription medication. However, consumer advocates called for stronger tendon rupture warnings to be added at least two years earlier, with Public Citizen filing a petition with the FDA in 2006, insisting that consumers and the medical community be provided with clearer warnings about the risk of tendon damage.  

Arinc sold to Rockwell Collins

8/19/2013
Arinc sold to Rockwell Collins - However, Michael T. Kirkpatrick, an attorney in the litigation group of nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen, said a bill of costs is standard court procedure. “There’s nothing unusual at all about it,” he said, noting that a bill of costs covers only limited expenses, not the entire cost incurred.  

SCOTUSblog Monday Round-Up

8/19/2013
SCOTUSblog Monday Round-Up - In the wake of last Term’s decision in Comcast v. Behrend, holding that the Third Circuit had improperly certified a class of cable-television subscribers who sought damages for alleged antitrust violations, the Second Circuit has now agreed to hear a challenge – based on the Comcast decision — to a district court’s denial of class certification to a group of Applebee’s workers seeking unpaid wages. Public Citizen, which represents the employees, reports on the story.  

Clinical Notes: Pharmacy recall expanded

8/19/2013
Clinical Notes: Pharmacy recall expanded - Following the initial recall, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen attacked the FDA for failing to act more forcefully against the firm. FDA inspectors had found numerous deficiencies at the company's compounding facility in March, but the agency neither ordered a recall nor alerted the public, the group noted.  

Sperlein argues HIV denialist’s lawsuit should be dismissed

8/19/2013
Sperlein argues HIV denialist’s lawsuit should be dismissed - DeShong’s pro bono defense team also includes another industry attorney, Gary Krupkin, who serves as local counsel, Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen, and Neal A. Hoffman of the Houston firm Bush & Ramirez.  

Regulation Nation: Obama oversees expansion of the regulatory state

8/19/2013
Regulation Nation: Obama oversees expansion of the regulatory state - “I think that’s a function of the fact that there are more threats to the public health and safety emerging on a regular basis, being identified on a regular basis,” said Amit Narang, a regulatory policy advocate at Public Citizen.  

Environmentalist offers a third answer to power shortages

8/19/2013
Environmentalist offers a third answer to power shortages - Marston, a vice president with the Environmental Defense Fund, is advocating a third way -- a "capabilities" market, an idea he borrowed from a group of former regulators. Other environmentalists, such as Tom "Smitty" Smith with Public Citizen, have signed on as well.  

Central Florida unions say no to the TPP

8/19/2013
Central Florida unions say no to the TPP - He also is active in Floridians Against the TPP and works closely with Public Citizen and the Citizens Trade Campaign.  

U.S. lawmakers travel the world on lobbyists’ tab

8/19/2013
U.S. lawmakers travel the world on lobbyists’ tab - "It's money well spent by lobbying groups, but for the American public, there is no benefit," said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the consumer group Public Citizen.  

FDA spars with a recalcitrant compounding pharmacy over a recall

8/19/2013
FDA spars with a recalcitrant compounding pharmacy over a recall - Prior to the summer recess, the Senate introduced the Pharmaceutical Compounding Quality and Accounting Act (read here), which would create this additional class. However, Public Citizen argues the legislation is deficient because it would not require compounding pharmacies that mass-produce standardized drugs to seek pre-market approval from the FDA or meet important federal labeling requirements.  

Medical board rankings could vanish

8/19/2013
Medical board rankings could vanish - Public Citizen, a consumer watchdog group, has used the state-by-state data to rank states by serious actions taken, such as license suspensions or revocations. Each state has roughly the same proportion of doctors deserving such discipline, the group says. Lesser actions — such as reprimands, fines and remedial education — are “slaps on the wrist,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen.  

Texas Legislature- Week in review

8/19/2013
Texas Legislature- Week in review - A coalition of environmental groups gives U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republican politicians an award for denying climate change. Texas chapters of the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Public Citizen and Environment Texas made the announcement in front of a federal building in Austin.  

NAFTA on steroids: The TransPacific Partnership and global neoliberalism

8/19/2013
NAFTA on steroids: The TransPacific Partnership and global neoliberalism - Some sections have been leaked. And what they reveal is "an agreement that actually formalizes the priority of corporate power over government," according to Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. Only 5 of the 29 chapters have to do with trade. Wallach says the rest of the draft...  

DC Week: Groups back Stark exemptions

8/17/2013
DC Week: Groups back Stark exemptions - In fact, Speciality Compounding in Cedar Park, Texas, is one of 50 compounding pharmacies the FDA has identified as having "significant objectionable conditions" despite only 16 such entities initiating a recall or being the subject of the agency enforcement action, consumer watchdog Public Citizen said.  

Ted Cruz labeled a ‘climate change denier’

8/16/2013
Ted Cruz labeled a ‘climate change denier’ - According to an August 14, 2013 Associated Press story, a coalition of environmental groups, including Texas chapters of the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Public Citizen and Environment Texas gathered outside the federal building in Austin and awarded a number of politicians, including Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, an award for being “climate change deniers.”  

DC Circuit upholds most new hours of service rules for truck drivers

8/16/2013
DC Circuit upholds most new hours of service rules for truck drivers - The FMCSA says its rules are intended to reduce fatigue among truck drivers and therefore prevent crashes, which I know, as a Missouri tractor-trailer accident attorney, are often fatal for the people in smaller cars and trucks around the semi trucks. But the ATA argues that these rules go too far and don’t make anyone safer, while watchdog group Public Citizen argues that they don’t go far enough.  

Medical malpractice costs drop to new low, as medical care costs soar

8/16/2013
Medical malpractice costs drop to new low, as medical care costs soar - Public Citizen has repeatedly called on lawmakers to focus their efforts on actually reducing medical errors that hurt patients, instead of creating a litigation boogeyman that allows them to protect the medical industry from injured consumers, by imposing arbitrary damage caps that override jury decisions and other actions that do not make patients safer. “We now have a decade’s worth of data debunking the litigation canard,” Taylor Lincoln, research director for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch and the report’s author said in a press release.

A Chinese checkered history for Big Pharma

8/15/2013
A Chinese checkered history for Big Pharma - A Chinese checkered history for Big Pharma - According to nonprofit organization Public Citizen, as of September 2012, the pharmaceutical industry had paid over $30 billion in settlements with the U.S. federal government and states for various types of alleged misconduct. Big Pharma prospered tremendously during this period, even with those issues.  

MBAs without borders

8/15/2013
MBAs without borders - Since those countries are part of the TPP negotiations, it is likely that some of the other TPP countries will want to negotiate for similar preferential U.S. visa deals, says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “New Zealand, Vietnam and Peru [may say], ‘Let me get this straight, those guys get to keep their special quotas, and everyone’s part of the same trade agreement, but somehow we don’t get them? We don’t understand how that can be. That’s not acceptable.

At the Bipartisan Policy Center, is cash the real divide?

8/15/2013
At the Bipartisan Policy Center, is cash the real divide? - Public Citizen says that it’s impossible to separate policy work from the people who pay the bills. But lots of think tanks receive corporate contributions, or at least help from institutions that have discrete policy interests. Bart Naylor, who wrote the report, says that’s fine as long as you’re up front about it.  

Dems defy Obama on mortgage protections

8/15/2013
Dems defy Obama on mortgage protections - "Risky and often predatory, high-cost mortgages were a central cause of the financial crisis," says Micah Hauptman, a financial policy counsel at the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. "It's shocking that lawmakers are so willing to return to an era in which those types of products thrive."  

Bethesda community meeting discusses fracking and TPP trade deal

8/15/2013
Bethesda community meeting discusses fracking and TPP trade deal - On the 14th of August, the Sierra Club, CCAN, Public Citizen, and other groups held another community forum on the ugly coming together ot the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fracking, and planned export of fracked gas.  

Correction officers union chief blasts proposed $3-million settlement of women’s lawsuit over fitness test

8/15/2013
Correction officers union chief blasts proposed $3-million settlement of women’s lawsuit over fitness test - The plaintiffs were represented by the New York law firm of Outten & Golden, and Public Citizen Litigation Group of Washington, D.C.  

Don’t use Dallas compounding pharmacy products, FDA warns

8/15/2013
Don’t use Dallas compounding pharmacy products, FDA warns - “The FDA knew there was a serious problem here but didn’t use its existing legal authority to take prompt, aggressive enforcement action against the company. That exposed patients to unnecessary risk and might have contributed to 15 people being infected,” said Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “What’s the purpose of inspecting a facility if you’re not going to take appropriate action when you find conditions that pose a safety threat to patients?”  

Utah compounding pharmacy cited for safety lapses

8/14/2013
Utah compounding pharmacy cited for safety lapses - But the agency isn’t following up to see that problems identified are fixed, says the D.C.-based consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, which is pressing for tighter enforcement. The FDA publishes inspection reports only after identifying "significant objectionable conditions," said Michael Carome, a doctor and director of Public Citizen’s health research group.  

IRS shouldn’t ban clergy endorsements, panel says

8/14/2013
IRS shouldn’t ban clergy endorsements, panel says - Holman said clergy should be able to express their own views about candidates. But they have to be careful not to turn the sermon into a "get out the vote" rally, paid for with church donations. "As long as they don't say, 'Vote for this person,' that should be allowed," he said. "That seems to cross a line."  

FDA too slow to act on pharmacy, Public Citizen charges

8/14/2013
FDA too slow to act on pharmacy, Public Citizen charges - "The FDA knew there was a serious problem here but didn't use its existing legal authority to take prompt, aggressive enforcement action against the company. That exposed patients to unnecessary risk and might have contributed to 15 people being infected," Michael Carome, MD, director of Public Citizen's Health Research Group, said in a press release. "What's the purpose of inspecting a facility if you're not going to take appropriate action when you find conditions that pose a safety threat to patients?"  

Could the FDA have prevented bacterial infections traced to a compounder?

8/14/2013
Could the FDA have prevented bacterial infections traced to a compounder? - “The FDA knew there was a serious problem here but didn’t use its existing legal authority to take prompt, aggressive enforcement action against the company. That exposed patients to unnecessary risk and might have contributed to 15 people being infected,” says Michael Carome, who heads Public Citizen Health Research Group, in a statement. “What’s the purpose of inspecting a facility if you’re not going to take appropriate action when you find conditions that pose a safety threat to patients?”  

More money, more problems for Cory Booker

8/13/2013
More money, more problems for Cory Booker - “Essentially, they’ve turned him into a millionaire,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, a government ethics watchdog group. “What kind of influence is that going to have over Cory Booker’s decisions when it affects those particular clients?”  

Green groups give climate denier-award to Sen. Cruz

8/13/2013
Green groups give climate denier-award to Sen. Cruz - Texas chapters of the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Public Citizen and Environment Texas made the announcement Tuesday in front of federal building in Austin.  

Lobbyist secretly wrote House Dems’ letter urging weaker investor protections

8/13/2013
Lobbyist secretly wrote House Dems’ letter urging weaker investor protections - In just the last election cycle, lawmakers who signed the June 14 letter raked in over $88,000 in donations from the securities and investment industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In this case, says Bart Naylor, a financial policy advocate at Public Citizen, "serving ones' own self interest is manifest abidingly, conspicuously, and outrageously."  

Capping medical malpractice awards isn’t way for hospitals to go

8/12/2013
Capping medical malpractice awards isn’t way for hospitals to go - Conservatives and even some moderates like to blame defensive medicine for ever-rising healthcare costs, even though a new report just issued by Public Citizen claims awards from such lawsuits represent little more than a tenth of 1 percent of all healthcare costs in the U.S.  

An Otsuka kidney drug and a researcher’s ironic findings

8/12/2013
An Otsuka kidney drug and a researcher’s ironic findings - But as Public Citizen’s noted: “Here’s a disease for which water should be, and is effective, but no company is going to pay for a trial. It’s a shame. It’s not clear the drug works that well and it causes liver toxicity. And of course, we know that water doesn’t cause liver toxicity.”  

Death by Corporation: America’s corporate deathstar

8/12/2013
Death by Corporation: America’s corporate deathstar - But last year a document was leaked to the watchdog group, Public Citizen, revealing the current US position and the reason for the secrecy. The contents are surreal and shocking, and prima facie evidence for how corporations have become the master puppeteers of government.  

Is Twitter superhero Cory Booker in Silicon Valley’s pocket?

8/12/2013
Is Twitter superhero Cory Booker in Silicon Valley’s pocket? - He's used appearances around the country made in the name of attracting investment to his troubled city (including a speech at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas) to plug the start-up. That won't help Newark much but it will likely help Booker's personal bank account. “This is something that would be flat-out prohibited if Booker were a member of Congress, and for good reason,“ said Craig Holman, a lobbyist at Public Citizen, a government watchdog group. “It raises serious questions and conflicts of interest.

Proposed FDA ruling may be good news for consumers of generic drugs

8/12/2013
Proposed FDA ruling may be good news for consumers of generic drugs - If the new ruling is approved consumers will have a means of redress when generic drug makers fail to warn the public of potential harm. “It’s common sense,” said Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, a senior adviser to the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, which in 2011 petitioned the F.D.A.to pass just such a rule. “It will obviously end this situation where people are being harmed physically and yet, although they are harmed, they have no right to go into court and get redress for serious damages.”

CACI seeking payment from former Abu Ghraib prisoners

8/12/2013
CACI seeking payment from former Abu Ghraib prisoners - However, Michael T. Kirkpatrick, an attorney in the litigation group of nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen, said a bill of costs is standard court procedure.  

Shouldn’t national security, sustainability and citizenship be highly relevant to our trade policy?

8/12/2013
Shouldn’t national security, sustainability and citizenship be highly relevant to our trade policy? - A great first step toward transforming this economic malaise to economic sustainability is to sign Public Citizen’s petition to stop Congress from renewing Fast Track authority. Without Fast Track empowerment, greater transparency will become an imperative for Trade Partnership negotiations to proceed.  

Attorney General Conway announces sentencing of Grayson County doctor for use of non-FDA approved birth control device

8/12/2013
: Attorney General Conway announces sentencing of Grayson County doctor for use of non-FDA approved birth control device - In 2012, General Conway's Medicaid Fraud Unit was named one of the most aggressive in the country by the nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen.  

Take action: Call on Congress to halt the Trans-Pacific Partnership

8/12/2013
Take action: Call on Congress to halt the Trans-Pacific Partnership - That's why we're joining with allies around the world like Public Citizen to organize a grassroots campaign to defeat the passage of the TPP.  

Water and energy a constant mix

8/12/2013
Water and energy a constant mix - The issues are further complicated by climate, said Tom "Smitty" Smith, state director of consumer and environmental group Public Citizen. "The water consumed in energy production assumes we'll have water at historic levels as opposed to less water."  

Report: Healthcare costs not driven by malpractice awards

8/12/2013
Report: Healthcare costs not driven by malpractice awards - According to Taylor Lincoln, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, the report disproves claims by some Congressional leaders made during the debate preceding passage of the Affordable Care Act that malpractice litigation and defensive medicine practices were the biggest cost drivers in the nation’s medical bill.  

Novo Nordisk sales remain strong, even amid Victoza cancer concerns

8/12/2013
Novo Nordisk sales remain strong, even amid Victoza cancer concerns - In April 2012, the prominent consumer advocacy group Public Citizen filed a petition for the FDA to issue a Victoza recall, suggesting that the medication provides no benefits over other available diabetes treatments and should be removed from the market due to the health concerns.  

A different kind of Obamacare: White House’s daily emails use tax dollars to boost Obama’s image

8/12/2013
A different kind of Obamacare: White House’s daily emails use tax dollars to boost Obama’s image - “They do excessively refer to the president, so as to cross a reasonable content standard for franked mail,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist of Public Citizen. “When government-paid emails and franked mail are allowed, such as during a non-election season, the content of the messages should still be made nonpartisan and avoid excessive references to the government official.”  

Presidential Medal of Freedom hypocrisy redux

8/10/2013
Presidential Medal of Freedom hypocrisy redux - Telecom deregulation became law on Clinton's watch. So did NAFTA and WTO's establishment. Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch director Lori Wallach calls it a "slow motion coup against democracy."  

Texas Sen. Wendy Davis blasts Republicans, says decision on governor run in a ‘few weeks’

8/10/2013
Texas Sen. Wendy Davis blasts Republicans, says decision on governor run in a ‘few weeks’ - Earlier in the day, the Freedom of Information Foundation conducted panel discussions into whether the legislative session furthered open government in Texas. Tom "Smitty" Smith of the advocacy group Public Citizen said the session didn't produce much partly because "there was nowhere near the public outpouring" of news coverage of transparency issues. ">Texas Sen.

2012 malpractice awards tumbled to lowest level in 10 year

8/9/2013
2012 malpractice awards tumbled to lowest level in 10 year - "We now have a decade's worth of data debunking the litigation canard," report author Taylor Lincoln, research director for Public Citizen's Congress Watch division, said in an announcement. "Policymakers need to focus on reducing medical errors, not reducing accountability for medical errors." Public Citizen says state laws reducing patients' legal rights are probably responsible for the falling litigation awards.  

Animal meats and inflammatory bowel disease

8/9/2013
Animal meats and inflammatory bowel disease - As if that isn’t enough, in a recent article entitled “Meat Your Death?” by Lawrence J. Jacobs, M.D. and Caroline Kweller, they report that a survey by Public Citizen, the Government Accountability Project, and the American Federation of Government Employees, found that 46% of federal inspectors had been unable to recall meat laden with animal feces, vomit, metal shards, and other contamination.  

Citizens United ‘dark money’ could be revealed by states, NYC public advocate report finds

8/9/2013
Citizens United ‘dark money’ could be revealed by states, NYC public advocate report finds - “In most states, and at the federal level, transparency of corporate spending in elections can simply be required by the appropriate regulatory agencies -- if they have the resolve to exercise their authority," said Craig Holman of the nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen. Holman, an expert in campaign finance law and governmental ethics, pointed to recent efforts by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to do just that.  

New report: No connection between Med Mal and medical costs

8/9/2013
New report: No connection between Med Mal and medical costs - Recently, the national non-profit group Public Citizen released a new report clearly outlining the falsity of the argument that litigation is to blame for the steep rise in medical costs in recent decades. A copy of the full report can be viewed online at no cost.  

An update to a 2011 post about doctors using copyright to stifle web criticism

8/9/2013
An update to a 2011 post about doctors using copyright to stifle web criticism - He got in touch with Public Citizen and, with the help of Paul Levy there, in November 2011 he sued both Medical Justice and Dr. Makhnevich. Medical Justice folded one day after the suit was filed, saying they were “withdrawing” that form.  

Congress to Pentagon: Save the troops from predatory lenders

8/9/2013
Congress to Pentagon: Save the troops from predatory lenders - "Bankers scamming average citizens on US soil hardly can be defended, but ripping off soldiers...deserves special calumny," says Bart Naylor, a financial policy advocate at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group. "These brave men and women deserve every protection our Congress and regulators can provide."  

Medical malpractice lawsuits: data shows a decline; Pennsylvania hospitals argue they remain a problem

8/9/2013
Medical malpractice lawsuits: data shows a decline; Pennsylvania hospitals argue they remain a problem - “Medical malpractice payments continue to fall and health care costs continue to rise. It doesn't take a math whiz to determine they are not correlated,” Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen said in a news release. Still, in an interview, Public Citizen spokesman Taylor Lincoln acknowledged the payout figures only include payouts on behalf of doctors, not hospitals, which are often the subject of medical malpractice lawsuits.  

Medical malpractice accountability plummets, while malpractice epidemic continues unabated

8/9/2013
Medical malpractice accountability plummets, while malpractice epidemic continues unabated - Public Citizen released a report, covered by outlets like MedPageToday, noting that medical malpractice payments are at their lowest level ever, $3.14 billion, one-tenth of 1 percent (0.11 percent) of national health care costs. (Bear in mind, that number reflects the total of all money paid to patients and all money paid to plaintiff’s lawyers, because they’re paid out of the patient payments.) Is that because malpractice has been declining so rapidly? Maybe we should ask Capt. Sully.  

Beware of over-the-counter bladder medication, consumer group advises

8/8/2013
Beware of over-the-counter bladder medication, consumer group advises - While the drug can be effective, the side effects can be serious, said Sidney M. Wolfe, M.D., founder and senior adviser of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group and editor of Worst Pills, Best Pills News. “Be very careful with this drug,” he said. “It should not be your first option, and if you want to use it at all, make sure to talk with your doctor beforehand. Stop after two weeks, or if side effects start to appear. Once again, FDA approval does not a safe drug make.”  

Report says litigation not to blame for high healthcare costs

8/8/2013
Report says litigation not to blame for high healthcare costs - Medical malpractice payments made on behalf of doctors fell to a historic low in 2012, according to a newly released report from advocacy group Public Citizen.  

Public Citizen: Malpractice payouts hit record lows

8/8/2013
Public Citizen: Malpractice payouts hit record lows - "We now have a decade’s worth of data debunking the litigation canard," said Taylor Lincoln, research director for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and the report’s author. "Policy makers need to focus on reducing medical errors, not reducing accountability for medical errors."    

Malpractice claim payouts hit all-time low

8/7/2013
Malpractice claim payouts hit all-time low - "If medical malpractice litigation were truly the 'biggest cost driver' in medicine" -- as stated by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in 2010 -- "then declining payments should have pulled overall healthcare costs down. But the nation's healthcare bill has risen 58.3% since 2003," wrote the report's author, Taylor Lincoln, of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division.  

Is another osteoporosis drug causing femur fractures?

8/7/2013
Is another osteoporosis drug causing femur fractures? - Prolia, an osteoporosis drug, may be causing patients more harm than good. In a “Worst Pills Best Pills” newsletter this past June, the drug was linked to atypical fractures of the femur, causing safety concerns throughout the industry.  

Members of Congress recess for an undeserved five-week vacation

8/7/2013
Members of Congress recess for an undeserved five-week vacation - Last Wednesday, Public Citizen and PNHP sponsored a congressional briefing and press conference on the Hill celebrating the 48th Anniversary for Medicare, one of our most successful federal programs.      

Court Upholds Most Provisions of HOS Rule

8/6/2013
Court Upholds Most Provisions of HOS Rule - A federal appeals court Friday upheld the majority of the government’s hours-of-service rule for truck drivers, rejecting most arguments presented by American Trucking Associations and Public Citizen

S.C. ranks last for disciplinary actions in medical profession

8/6/2013
S.C. ranks last for disciplinary actions in medical profession - The rankings are part of a yearly report put together by Public Citizen, a watchdog group that analyzes the number of medical professionals per 1,000 who have their licenses revoked, suspended or surrendered, among other penalties, and ranks them based on the number of serious actions taken by the medical boards. “The assumption is most doctors in all states are practicing good medicine, and there’s no evidence that varies from state to state,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, founder and senior adviser of Public Citizen, which monitors state medical boards across the country.

U.S. Court Rejects 30-Minute Break for Short-Haul Drivers, Keeps 34-Hour Restart

8/5/2013
U.S. Court Rejects 30-Minute Break for Short-Haul Drivers, Keeps 34-Hour Restart - Public Citizen had challenged the restart rule generally, but the court decided that the group did not justify its standing to make the challenge.

FDA abandons science with new 'breakthrough therapy' designation for drugs that receive almost no testing

8/5/2013
FDA abandons science with new 'breakthrough therapy' designation for drugs that receive almost no testing - "A discussion on this topic is reckless if it doesn't discuss the next stage after the drug reaches the market," says Sidney Wolfe, co-founder and senior adviser of the consumer watchdog organization Public Citizen's Health Research Group (PCHRG).

Focus shifts to other safety issues following HOS decision

8/5/2013
Focus shifts to other safety issues following HOS decision - ATA’s Osiecki stressed, though, that the court also found “no merit” in the challenge to current HOS rules by a coalition of interest groups – led by petitioner Public Citizen – in an effort to reduce the driving day from 11 to 10 hours while eliminating the 34-hour restart provision altogether.

Drilling Deeper: The Wealth of Business Connections for Obama’s Energy Pick

8/5/2013
Drilling Deeper: The Wealth of Business Connections for Obama’s Energy Pick - “His connections to the fossil fuel and nuclear power industries threaten to undermine the focus we need to see on renewables and energy efficiency,” said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

Green Mountain, CME, Apple, P&G, Trucking: Compliance

8/5/2013
Green Mountain, CME, Apple, P&G, Trucking: Compliance - The ruling caps 14 years of wrangling among the trucking industry, safety advocates and regulators over drive-time restrictions that led to two previous challenges before the appellate court. The court also ruled against groups including Public Citizen and the Truck Safety Coalition that said the rules didn’t go far enough.

Pacific trade pact shifts power to corporations

8/5/2013
Pacific trade pact shifts power to corporations - Public Citizen describes these investor provisions as protecting corporations’ right to make a profit, and providing legal power to sue to protect even the potential to make a profit. A country, a state such as Oregon or even a municipality such as Eugene can be sued.

Health care workers have most workplace injuries, illnesses

8/4/2013
Health care workers have most workplace injuries, illnesses - Despite these injury rates, a Public Citizen report found that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts almost 20 times more inspections in construction workplaces than in health care facilities.

Bill would close loophole in N.J. pay-to-play law

8/4/2013
Bill would close loophole in N.J. pay-to-play law - "It makes it quite easy for local officials to avoid pay-to-play," said Craig Holman, a campaign-finance and governmental ethics lobbyist for the Washington-based nonprofit Public Citizen, referring to the "fair and open" loophole.

ObamaCare’s Architects Reap Windfall as Washington Lobbyists

8/4/2013
ObamaCare’s Architects Reap Windfall as Washington Lobbyists - “After passage of major legislation, those who have networks on Capitol Hill take exceedingly lucrative jobs with the same industries subject to the legislation,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen. “It raises questions about the [bill's] integrity.”

Medical-Ethics Dilemmas Pondered In Week’s News

8/4/2013
Medical-Ethics Dilemmas Pondered In Week’s News - The consumer group Public Citizen is alleging that a major study funded by the U.S. government is ethically flawed, according to a report from National Public Radio. The study randomly assigned premature infants to a group that receives transfusions when their anemia is mild and to another group that will receive treatment after the condition becomes severe. It is not known at present which approach is more effective in reducing deaths and brain damage.

Schwab case casts spotlight on securities arbitration and its flaws

8/4/2013
Schwab case casts spotlight on securities arbitration and its flaws - The nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen started an online petition entitled “Stand Up to Chuck: Demand That Charles Schwab Corporation Stop Denying Its Customers’ Rights,” collecting 17,000 signatures.

NIH trial weathers censure: Organization calls trial’s consent forms inadequate

8/4/2013
NIH trial weathers censure: Organization calls trial’s consent forms inadequate - Michael Carome, the director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, said the group does not believe TOP informs parents of the full risks involved should their children be assigned to the low-hemoglobin group. “We believe that the consent forms are not adequately informing the parents of the premature babies being enrolled in the research about many important facets of the research,” he said. “In order for human research to be ethical, one of the fundamental things it has to include is adequate informed — and I put emphasis on the informed — consent.”  

Petition Seeks Boxed Plavix Warning

8/4/2013
Petition Seeks Boxed Plavix Warning - The group Public Citizen says regulators should warn doctors and patients that taking the widely-prescribed drug for more than a year after receiving a drug-coated stent can lead to fatal bleeding.

Good medicine or TMI? What happens if you screen all of a baby’s genes?

8/4/2013
Good medicine or TMI? What happens if you screen all of a baby’s genes? - At least one consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen, expressed some concerns. “It’s actually proceeding to do genomic sequencing in newborns while at the same time trying to determine what are the ethical implications of that. Maybe they are getting ahead of themselves,” said the group’s Dr. Michael Carome.

Recalls Continue, but Compounding Legislation Stalls

8/4/2013
Recalls Continue, but Compounding Legislation Stalls - As the compounding legislation awaited further developments, Public Citizen, the Washington, D.C.-based public health advocacy group, sought to keep safety and regulatory oversight top-of-mind by issuing a critique of how the FDA handled the Specialty Compounding recall. At press time, the group charged that the FDA knew of potentially unsafe drug production practices at the Texas compounder as early as March 2013, when the agency found manufacturing issues during an inspection of the facility. And yet Specialty Compounding didn’t issue its voluntary product recall until Aug.

Finding common ground on SUPPORT: Reflections from DHHS public meeting

8/4/2013
Finding common ground on SUPPORT: Reflections from DHHS public meeting - While some, including representatives of Public Citizen and the Alliance for Human Research Protection, continue to argue that SUPPORT was an unethical study to conduct, the majority of presenters agreed that SUPPORT, and studies like it, are worth doing and, more generally, that we collectively should be committed to addressing the alarming fact that much of what is done as a matter of routine clinical care is not supported by good evidence.  

More evidence why we need ‘Medicare for all’

8/4/2013
More evidence why we need ‘Medicare for all’ - His findings were released this morning [Wednesday, July 31, 11 a.m. EDT] at a congressional briefing in the Cannon House Office Building hosted by Public Citizen and Physicians for a National Health Program, followed by a 1 p.m. news conference with Rep. Conyers and others in observance of Medicare’s 48th anniversary at the House Triangle near the Capitol steps.

Tracking Doctor Discipline Just Got Harder

8/4/2013
Tracking Doctor Discipline Just Got Harder - It was the resource Public Citizen used to spread the word, ranking state medical boards by how many disciplinary actions per capita they imposed on physicians.

Oligarchy, USA: Four political reforms to die for

8/4/2013
Oligarchy, USA: Four political reforms to die for - Join a national organization working on taking back our democracy. Check out DemocracyIsForPeople.org, Public Citizen, Free Speech for People, People for the American Way and movetoamend.org.

Report: Needy children not getting timely mental-health care

8/3/2013
Report: Needy children not getting timely mental-health care - Philadelphia children on Medical Assistance are waiting twice as long as they are supposed to for behavioral-health appointments, according to a report released Thursday by Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY).

Study: Medicare For All Would Save Half-Trillion In First Years

8/3/2013
Study: Medicare For All Would Save Half-Trillion In First Years - His findings were released Wednesday at a congressional briefing in the Cannon House Office Building hosted by Public Citizen and Physicians for a National Health Program, followed by a news conference with Rep. Conyers and others in observance of Medicare’s 48th anniversary.

Media, PA Workers' Compensation Lawyers Report Healthcare Workers Suffer Most Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Each Year

8/3/2013
Media, PA Workers' Compensation Lawyers Report Healthcare Workers Suffer Most Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Each Year - In 2010, 653,900 workplace injuries and illnesses were reported; healthcare employees suffered 152,000 more injuries and illnesses than workers in the next highest category, manufacturing. Given what we know about the dangers faced by healthcare workers, the results of a recent study by Public Citizen highlighting poor safety standards in healthcare facilities is surprising.

In health care industry, who will keep workers safe?

8/3/2013
In health care industry, who will keep workers safe? - "The record is clear that the government has broken its promise to health care workers," said Keith Wrightson, worker safety and health advocate for Public Citizen and co-author of the report.

U.S. Court of Appeals upholds nearly all of new HOS regulations

8/2/2013
U.S. Court of Appeals upholds nearly all of new HOS regulations - Since the revised HOS regulations were initially issued by the FMSCA in December 2010, various industry organizations, including the ATA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Public Citizen, the Truck Safety Coalition, have maintained in lawsuits that the final HOS rule still fails to make needed improvements to protect the public from tired truckers and should be subjected to judicial review.

Appeals court upholds virtually all of government's driver hours of service rules

8/2/2013
Appeals court upholds virtually all of government's driver hours of service rules - In its revisions, the agency left unchanged a key provision allowing 11 hours of continuous drive time after a driver has spent 10 consecutive hours off duty, instead of reducing the number of continuous driving hours to 10. That sparked opposition from safety advocacy groups, notably Public Citizen, which said the language would continue to jeopardize the public on the roads.

JPMorgan settles energy market manipulation case

8/2/2013
JPMorgan settles energy market manipulation case - "The fact is, JPMorgan executed manipulation strategies that were very similar to what Enron and their ilk were doing a decade ago, and they did it for over a year," said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at the Public Citizen watchdog group. "That is not a sign of a market working well. We don't know what other types of manipulation strategies are going on."

‘Medicare for All’ would cover everyone, save billions in first year

8/2/2013
‘Medicare for All’ would cover everyone, save billions in first year - His findings were released this morning [Wednesday, July 31] at a congressional briefing in the Cannon House Office Building hosted by Public Citizen and Physicians for a National Health Program, followed by a 1 p.m. news conference with Rep. Conyers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others in observance of Medicare’s 48th anniversary at the House Triangle near the Capitol steps.

House Backs Bill to Rein in Regulations

8/2/2013
House Backs Bill to Rein in Regulations - Pro-regulation progressives called the bill a “bad summer rerun.” It is part of a “strategy by big industries to make other anti-regulatory bills appear moderate,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen and chair of the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards, in a statement.

Do You Mind Big CEO Paychecks? Because You’re Helping Pay Them

8/2/2013
Do You Mind Big CEO Paychecks? Because You’re Helping Pay Them - The federal tax code allows corporations to deduct up to $1 million for executive pay and as much as they want for performance pay and CEO bonuses, nonprofit Public Citizen says. “Partly due to this, bonus pay has become a significant driver of excessive corporate executive pay,” it says.

Hours-of-service rule upheld in court, save for breaks for short-haulers

8/2/2013
Hours-of-service rule upheld in court, save for breaks for short-haulers - The ruling included a decision regarding Public Citizen’s case against the rule, which the court consolidated with ATA’s lawsuit. The judges rejected Public Citizen’s entire argument that the rule was not restrictive enough.

Obama Safety Measures Order Defies Chemical Industry After Blast

8/2/2013
Obama Safety Measures Order Defies Chemical Industry After Blast - “I read this as saying we are still very much in the game,” said Scott Nelson, a lawyer for Public Citizen, who wrote a petition signed by safety groups calling for a mandate on industry to use less-hazardous materials. “They are focused on their regulatory authority.”

Trucking Industry Loses Challenge to U.S. Drive-Time Rule

8/2/2013
Trucking Industry Loses Challenge to U.S. Drive-Time Rule - The ruling caps 14 years of wrangling among the trucking industry, safety advocates and regulators over drive-time restrictions that led to two previous challenges before the appellate court. The court also ruled against groups including Public Citizen and the Truck Safety Coalition that said the rules didn’t go far enough.

Court upholds all of hours rule for long-haul drivers

8/2/2013
Court upholds all of hours rule for long-haul drivers - Also grouped into the case was a lawsuit from Public Citizen, which argued that the current hours rule was not restrictive enough. The court rejected the group’s entire argument.

SPECIAL REPORT: 'Third time's a charm' for HOS; Court upholds all but one provision

8/2/2013
SPECIAL REPORT: 'Third time's a charm' for HOS; Court upholds all but one provision - The decision responds to a pair of challenges brought against the regulation. The first challenge was filed by the American Trucking Associations and the second was filed by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Public Citizen, and the Truck Safety Coalition.

Appeals Court Upholds Most of HOS Rules

8/2/2013
Appeals Court Upholds Most of HOS Rules - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision responds to two challenges. The ATA challenged the rules in federal court, arguing a change in truck driver hours of service was unwarranted based on recent improvements in truck safety and wasn't supported by scientific data. The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Public Citizen, and the Truck Safety Coalition also challenged the rules, arguing they didn't go far enough to ensure truck safety.

A Viral Movement to #GetMoneyOut of Politics

8/1/2013
A Viral Movement to #GetMoneyOut of Politics - While winning a constitutional amendment is no easy task, it's precisely this type of creative thinking in conjuncture with grassroots organizing led by groups like Move to Amend, Free Speech for People, Common Cause, Public Citizen and People for the American Way that we need if we're going to transform the broken system of campaign finance.

Senate Introduces Bill to Expose Hidden Corporate Owners

8/1/2013
Senate Introduces Bill to Expose Hidden Corporate Owners - In addition, the legislation has been endorsed by business and public interest groups, including the Main Street Alliance, American Sustainable Business Council, National Money Transmitters Association, AFL-CIO, SEIU, Global Financial Integrity, Global Witness, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Transparency International, Public Citizen, Project on Government Oversight, Jubilee USA Network, Tax Justice Network USA, Human Rights Watch, Friends of the Earth, Open Society Policy Center, Revenue Watch Institute, the FACT Coalition and more.

JPMorgan settles Enron-like case

8/1/2013
JPMorgan settles Enron-like case - "The fact is, JPMorgan executed manipulation strategies that were very similar to what Enron and their ilk were doing a decade ago, and they did it for over a year," said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at the Public Citizen watchdog group. "That is not a sign of a market working well. We don't know what other types of manipulation strategies are going on."

FDA Finds No Pancreatic Cancer Risk in Byetta, Januvia

8/1/2013
FDA Finds No Pancreatic Cancer Risk in Byetta, Januvia - In the August 2013 issue of Public Citizen’s Worst Pills, Best Pills Newsletter (subscription required), the prominent consumer group notes that the risk of pancreatitis associated with Januvia, Byetta, Victoza and other incretin mimetics has been acknowledged by the manufacturers, resulting in new label warnings.

Medicare For All Could Save Billions In Wasteful Spending

8/1/2013
Risk Managers: Medicare For All Could Save Billions In Wasteful Spending - “Nearly five decades after its enactment, here’s what we know: Medicare saves money by eliminating all the waste associated with the for-profit insurance industry,” Conyers and Public Citizen President Robert Weissman wrote in a Huffington Post blog post.

Conservatives ID next confirmation fight: FERC

8/1/2013
Conservatives ID next confirmation fight: FERC - On the other hand, Binz has drawn support from consumer and labor organizations such as Public Citizen, Utility Workers Union of America and Consumers Union, which have praised his “background in serving as a consumer advocate for nearly a decade.”