Archive for the ‘Consumer Protection’ Category

This week hasn’t been only about celebrating Joan Claybrook’s incredible legacy. There’s been plenty of work calling out the pharmaceutical industry, advocating against forced arbitration and acting as a government watchdog. Check out these highlights of Public Citizen’s recent news coverage.

An AP story picked up by the New York Times advises consumers to look out for the snake oil salesmen looking to take advantage of your swine flu fears. Public Citizen’s acting director Dr. Sidney Wolfe, weighs in. Dr. Wolfe also had a thing or two to say in a Bloombern News story about Eli Lilli and Co. selling a drug (Zyprexa) for seniors with dementia even though it had no evidence it would help.

National Public Radio produced an excellent piece on forced arbitration. The piece highlights the harrowing story of Jamie Leigh Jones (video here) who was brutally raped while working as a Halliburton contractor in Iraq but remains unable to hold the company accountable. David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, discusses the issue.

Craig Holman, legislative representative for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, discusses the need for more rigorous government ethics reform in a Washington Independent piece about conflicts of interest in military funding, noting “that the difference between the limits on congressional travel and those affecting executive branch officials represents ‘a gaping chasm.'”

We tried, and we’ll keep trying, because that’s what we do. But right now, we are 0-1 in our effort to object to anti-consumer terms in the Chrysler bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy judge, Arthur J. Gonzalez, has granted Chrysler’s request to let the company off the hook for future legal claims by people who own defective vehicles. That means that if you have a dangerously defective Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep, you are likely out of luck. Read Chris Jensen’s well-written New York Times piece.

 But since we’re Public Citizen, we don’t give up. We’ll be filing an appeal shortly.

gummy teethHere in Public Citizen’s press office, we’re always keeping an eye out for Public Citizen’s appearance in the media. Here are some recent highlights:

In “K Street, watchdogs praise new lobbying rules” in TheHill.com, David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, weighs in on a new White House policy on lobbying and economic stimulus spending.

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In 1986, lawmakers figured they had come up with a way to keep track of bad doctors. That is, making sure a doctor who gets fired from one hospital for wrongdoing or incompetence doesn’t just pop up on the staff of another hospital. What they proposed was a national database. Hospitals would be required to submit the names of any doctors who had their admitting privileges revoked or suspended for 31 days or more. This way, a hospital could easily check a doctor’s background before hiring him or her.

Back then, government and industry officials estimated that U.S. hospitals would report anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 doctors a year.

Since 1990, when the National Practitioner Data Bank went online, hospitals have reported, on average, 650 doctors a year. Nearly 50 percent of all hospitals did not submit a single name to the database in its first 17 years. What does it mean? Are the doctors at these hospitals so skilled as to go almost 20 years without ever making a serious mistake, as well as being morally and ethically beyond reproach?

Not likely. What’s more likely, as Public Citizen outlines in a report released today, is that the there is a serious lack of discipline in this nation’s hospitals and a large number of hospitals that are finding ways not to report their doctors to the national database.

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