Health Research Group Publications
Founded in 1971 by Sidney Wolfe, M.D. and Ralph Nader, Public Citizen’s Health Research Group promotes research-based, system-wide changes in health-care policy and drug safety. The work that we have done since 1995 is listed on this page in chronological order.
The FDA’s action today to protect infants and children from exposure to over-the-counter oral health products containing benzocaine, which can cause methemoglobinemia, a life-threatening blood disorder that impairs the body’s ability to use oxygen, comes too late for some infants and children.
The House of Representatives’ passage of S. 204, the Senate’s seriously flawed False Hope legislation, opens the gate to a dangerous, uncharted pathway for accessing experimental medications that have not been shown to be safe or effective. The bill passed today will expose vulnerable patients to risks of serious harm, including dying earlier and more painfully than they otherwise would have, without appropriate safeguards.
In testimony before a meeting of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, Public Citizen urged the committee to recommend that the FDA reject INSYS Development Company’s new drug application for buprenorphine sublingual spray for the treatment of moderate-to-severe acute pain where the use of an opioid analgesic is appropriate because the risks of the drug outweigh the benefits.
Public Citizen urged members of the U.S. House of Representatives to oppose S. 204, the version of “False Hope” legislation that was passed by the Senate in August 2017. Importantly, although H.R. 5247 — the House of Representatives-passed version of this legislation — has significant flaws that would endanger patients, it nevertheless would provide substantially stronger safeguards for patients who would receive investigational drugs under the Right-to-Try pathway than those provided by S. 204.
At a press conference unveiling a comprehensive proposal to ensure universal access to safe, innovative, and affordable medications that was published in the British Medical Journal, Dr. Sidney Wolfe highlighted three situations related to the pharmaceutical system that undermine public health.
Public Citizen applauds the decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General to look into the serious allegations that National Institutes of Health officials orchestrated a campaign to obtain funding from alcoholic beverage manufacturers to fund a $100 million National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism study that is intended to assess the cardiovascular health effects of moderate alcohol consumption.
U.S. hospitals, most of which are nonprofit, are mired in a toxic cycle that rewards bad behavior from their leaders, neglects patient needs and promotes an obsession with increasing profits, according to an editorial by Public Citizen Health Research Group founder and senior adviser, Dr. Sidney Wolfe, and colleagues Drs. Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein at the City University of New York at Hunter College, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The editorial is in response to an article by researchers Dan Ly and David Cutler, who examined how successful hospitals improved operating margins and patient care.
Public Citizen called on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to launch a formal investigation into the conduct of Dr. Ronny Lynn Jackson who, according to recent media reports, has a history of “casually dispensing Ambien for sleep and Provigil for arousal, both of which are dangerous controlled substances with a potential for addiction.” If true, such conduct would be “illegal” according to a spokesperson for the DEA and would warrant immediate revocation of Dr. Jackson’s DEA registration.
Public Citizen called on the Virginia Board of Medicine to launch a formal investigation into the medical practice of Dr. Ronny Lynn Jackson who, according to recent media reports, has a history of "casually dispensing Ambien for sleep and Provigil for arousal, both of which are dangerous controlled substances with a potential for addiction." If true, such conduct would represent unethical and dangerous medical practice and warrant immediate revocation of Dr. Jackson’s Virginia medical license.
In testimony before a meeting of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Arthritis Advisory Committee and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, Public Citizen argued that because of the major limitations of the PRECISION trial, no meaningful conclusions can be drawn from the trial regarding the cardiovascular safety of celecoxib relative to ibuprofen and naproxen.