Public Citizen’s Health Letter

Published monthly since 1985, Public Citizen’s Health Letter brings you critical information about health issues — arming you with up-to-date information so you can make better health care decisions. Topics include quality of care, insurance, questionable doctors and hospitals, managed care and the recalls of drugs, devices and consumer products. Previously a print-only publication, in 2013 Health Letter became available for the first time to all readers for free online. Click the links provided to read individual articles dating back to January 2013. Content prior to January 2013 can be accessed in PDF format by clicking the “View as PDF” button next to each issue listing.

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October 2013; Vol. 29, No. 10

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September 2013; Vol. 29, No. 9

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August 2013; Vol. 29, No. 8

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July 2013; Vol. 29, No. 7

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June 2013; Vol. 29, No. 6

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May 2013; Vol. 29, No. 5

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April 2013; Vol. 29, No. 4

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March 2013; Vol. 29, No. 3

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February 2013; Vol. 29, No. 2

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January 2013; Vol. 29, No. 1

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December 2012; Vol. 28, No. 12

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  • Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Highlights the Dangers of Compounding Pharmacies
  • As Online Drug Promotion Proliferates, Regulations Lag Behind
  • A Single-Payer System, Not the ACA, Is the Remedy for the National Health Crisis

November 2012; Vol. 28, No. 11

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  • The American Medical Association and Its Dubious Revenue Streams
  • Angioplasty Offers Little Benefit for Low-Risk Patients
  • What You Should Know About Radon in Your Home

October 2012; Vol. 28, No. 10

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  • To Nap or Not to Nap
  • Dangerous Lack of Evidence Characterizes Prescription Drug Use in Children
  • Outrage: Deficiencies of the Texas Medical Board

September 2012; Vol. 28, No. 9

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  • Choosing Wisely Project
  • Biased Data Can Lead to Substandard Drug Treatment
  • Bereavement: A Look at the Grieving Process and How to Cope With Loss
  • Outrage: Substandard Doctors Should Not Treat Louisiana Prisoners

August 2012; Vol. 28, No. 8

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  • Financial Disclosure Requirements Delayed by Obama Administration
  • Public Citizen Fights for an End to Double Standard on Drug-Label Warnings
  • Outrage: Profiting from Obamacare

July 2012; Vol. 28, No. 7

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  • Underrepresentation of the Elderly in Randomized Controlled Trials
  • Measuring Blood Pressure in Both Arms Could Help Predict Risks
  • FDA’s About-Face on Financial Conflicts of Interest
  • Obama Administration Sacrifices Children to Keep Agribusiness Happy
  • Preventing Heat-Induced Death and Illness
  • Outrage: Medical Center Shares Patient Information With Fundraiser

June 2012; Vol. 28, No. 6

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  • Ranking of State Medical Board Serious Disciplinary Actions, 2009-2011
  • Outrage: The Personal Face of Inadequate Doctor Discipline

May 2012; Vol. 28, No. 5

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  • States in the Spotlight as Single-Payer Resurfaces in Mainstream Discourse
  • Wide Variation in Rates of Second Breast Cancer Surgery
  • Nondrug Treatments for Neck Pain Better Than Medications
  • Outrage: FDA Helps Companies Exploit Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease

April 2012; Vol. 28, No. 4

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  • Industry Lobbies to Weaken Medical Device Oversight
  • Scientific Fraud on the Rise: Its Impact on Patients and Research
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Mystery Disease
  • Outrage: Treating Sick Rich Folks

March 2012; Vol. 28, No. 3

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  • Osteoporosis Screening Needed Only Every 5 to 15 Years for Most Older Women
  • The Jungle: Meatpacking Workers, 100 Years Later
  • Being the Ghost in the Machine: A Medical Ghostwriter’s Personal View
  • Outrage: Dangers of Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment

February 2012; Vol. 28, No. 2

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  • Florida Sanctions Top Medicaid Prescribers — But Only After a Shove
  • Outrage: American Red Cross Violations

January 2012; Vol. 28, No. 1

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  • Child Labor: Alive and Well on American ‘Farms’
  • A More Perfect Union
  • Outrage: 50 Million Uninsured in the U.S. Equals 50,000+ Avoidable Deaths a Year


December 2011; Vol. 27, No. 12

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  • Doctor Experience Linked With Risk of Death From Carotid Artery Stenting Procedures
  • Medical-Device Approval Process Flawed, Dangerous for Patients
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: More Despicable Drug-Industry Behavior

November 2011; Vol. 27, No. 11

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  • Obama Administration Refuses to Protect Doctors-in-Training From Dangerous Work Shifts
  • The Origins and Progress of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group: The First 40 Years
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: For Big Pharma, Crime Pays

October 2011; Vol. 27, No. 10

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  • Workers Die From Extreme Heat, With Little Government Action
  • Second Opinions for Surgery: Avoiding Unnecessary Operations, Deaths and Expenses
  • Doctors Avoid Penalties in Suits Against Medical Firms
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: Having 50 Million Uninsured Americans Is Bad Enough, But…

September 2011; Vol. 27, No. 9

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  • Proton Pump Inhibitors: Dangerous and Habit-Forming Heartburn Drugs
  • Preventing Diabetes on a Budget
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: Profiting from Disasters

August 2011; Vol. 27, No. 8

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  • Governor Brown, Address the Poor Performance of California’s State Medical Board
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: Further Arguments for Eliminating the Private U.S. Health Insurance Industry

July 2011; Vol. 27, No. 7

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  • Criminalizing the Seriously Mentally Ill: Two Decades Later
  • Criminalizing the Seriously Mentally Ill: The Abuse of Jails as Mental Hospitals
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: Hope for Delaware Emerges After Disaster for Its Children

June 2011; Vol. 27, No. 6

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  • Ranking of State Medical Board Serious Disciplinary Actions, 2008-2010
  • How Does the Medical Industry Influence Patient Care?
  • Emails Show Drug Company Used Third-Party Medical Groups to Influence Regulators, Undercut Rivals
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: Remove Dangerous Alzheimer’s Drug — Aricept 23 — from the Market Immediately

May 2011; Vol. 27, No. 5

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  • Losing Weight Safely and Effectively
  • Fourteen Years of Deceptive Television Drug Advertising
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: Unreliable Alzheimer’s Diagnoses

April 2011; Vol. 27, No. 4

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  • Experts Who Write Highly Influential Clinical Practice Guidelines Have Significant Conflicts of Interest
  • Many Patients Undergo Unnecessary Invasive Cardiac Procedures
  • 10 Best Funded and 10 Worst Funded States in Providing Government Health Insurance Assistance
  • The Few, The Proud, The Thin
  • Inadequate NJBME Action Against Physicians Disciplined by Hospitals
  • Product Recalls
  • National Cancer Institute’s Helpline: A Valuable, Underused Resource
  • Outrage: Patient Advocacy Groups and Drug Company Funding

March 2011; Vol. 27, No. 3

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  • Patients at Risk: Medical Boards Fail to Discipline Almost 6,000 Physicians With Hospital Sanctions
  • Beware of Fraudulent ‘Dietary Supplements’
  • Proud, Safe Gun Owners Want Their Right to Bear Arms Privately
  • Our Unsafe Health Care System Is the Issue, Not Caps on Tort Settlements
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: Atomic (Nuclear) Power

February 2011; Vol. 27, No. 2

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  • Breast Implants and Cancer Revisited: Plastic Surgeons Cover Up New Evidence of Human Cancer From Implants
  • National Cancer Institute’s Helpline: A Valuable, Underused Resource
  • Pharma’s War on Kids
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: War’s Adverse Impacts

January 2011; Vol. 27, No. 1

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  • Can Drugs Make Americans Lose Weight? Not Likely
  • Aspirin-Induced Reye’s Syndrome: A Preventable Cause of Death
  • Health Letter Volume Index, 2010
  • Product Recalls
  • If a Drug Is New, Does That Make It Better?
  • Cholera in Haiti: A Look From the Trenches
  • Outrage: Governor Scott of Florida


December 2010; Vol. 26, No. 12

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  • Treating the Common Cold (Without Making Yourself Sicker)
  • Skin Cancer Doesn’t Discriminate (Suggestions to Prevent Skin Cancer)
  • Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Teens Singled Out For Punishment: Study in Leading Pediatric Journal Finds Unfair Treatment Nationwide
  • Early Stage Breast Cancer: More or Fewer Psychological Problems after More or Less Surgery
  • Thirteen Dirty Big Pharma Tricks That Rip You Off and Risk Your Health for Profit
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: Pharmaceutical Industry Is Biggest Defrauder of the Federal Government under the False Claims Act, New Public Citizen Study Finds

November 2010; Vol. 26, No. 11

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  • Know When Antibiotics Work
  • HHS Report Is a Wake-Up Call to Fix National Patient Safety Crisis
  • The Risks of Tranquility
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: Holding Executives Accountable for Corporate Wrongdoing

October 2010; Vol. 26, No. 10

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  • In the Public Interest — Abuses From the ‘Merchant Class’
  • Television Leads to Obese Children
  • Nine Essential Steps for Regulating Your Blood Pressure
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: U.S. Troops: More Deaths Related to Prescription Drugs

September 2010; Vol. 26, No. 9

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  • OSHA Must Regulate Resident Physician Work Hours
  • Why Are Troops Killing Themselves?
  • Second Opinions for Surgery: Avoiding Unnecessary Operations, Deaths and Expenses
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: The Health Insurance Industry

August 2010; Vol. 26, No. 8

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  • JAMA Survey Finds Doctors Unwilling to Report Negligent Peers
  • Cracks in FDA’s Medical Device Approval Process Allow Unproven Devices to Slip Through
  • In the Public Interest
  • To Mitch McConnell: We’re Already Rationing Care
  • Guidelines for the Perplexed
  • Practical Diabetes Tips for the Budget-Conscious
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: Don’t Get Sick in July

July 2010; Vol. 26, No. 7

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  • Public Strongly Supports Substantially Reducing Work Hours for Resident Physicians, New Research Finds
  • Patient Safety Advocates Give Plan to Reform Medical Residency a Failing Grade
  • 10 Things You Need to Know About Healthcare Reform
  • A Doctor’s Word: Deciphering the New Mammography Guidelines
  • Product Recalls
  • Remembering the Flexner Report as a Drug Firm Pays $520 Million for Misleading Marketing
  • Outrage: They Said What?!

June 2010; Vol. 26, No. 6

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  • FDA-Sanctioned International Diabetes Drug Trial Is Unethical and Dangerous, Must Be Stopped
  • Severely Mentally Ill More Likely to Be in Jails Than Hospitals, Report Shows
  • Product Recalls
  • A Doctor’s Word: How to Keep Your Blood Pressure Down
  • Outrage: Crime in the Pharma Suites

May 2010; Vol. 26, No. 5

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  • Obama’s Reform: No Cure for What Ails Us
  • Guide to Avoiding Unnecessary Cesarean Sections in New York State
  • Health, Life Insurers Hold $1.88 Billion in Fast-Food Stocks
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: The Continuing Saga of Avandia: Paid Cheerleaders for the Drug

April 2010; Vol. 26, No. 4

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  • Misprescribing and Overprescribing of Drugs
  • Ten Rules for Safer Drug Use
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: FDA Cautious on Food Safety, Reckless on Drug Safety

March 2010; Vol. 26, No. 3

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  • Patient Safety Advocates Launch Campaign to Reduce Resident Physician Fatigue, Boost Patient Safety
  • Letter to the ACGME RE: Optimizing Medical Resident Schedules to Improve Patient Safety
  • The Global Research Neglect of Unassisted Smoking Cessation: Causes and Consequences
  • What You Should Know About Low Back Pain
  • What You Should Know About Migraine
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: “Botox Injections Helpful for Depression?”

February 2010; Vol. 26, No. 2

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  • Harvard Researchers: Health Information Technology Savings Will Only Occur With a Single-Payer Health System
  • Morton Mintz: Taking Aim at Insurance Execs’ Pay
  • Neonatal Circumcision for HIV Prevention: Cost, Culture and Behavioral Considerations
  • Health and Disease in People over 85: Despite Disease, Disability is Low
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: Everybody In, Nobody Out (That Means Immigrants Too!)

January 2010; Vol. 26, No. 1

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  • Mandatory Disclosure of Pharmaceutical Industry-Funded Events for Health Professionals
  • Health Letter Volume Index, 2009
  • Opposition to Prophylactic Removal of Third Molars (Wisdom Teeth)
  • Product Recalls
  • Outrage: Tamiflu? More Like Scamiflu!