People trust their health and safety to the makers of drugs and medical devices. They expect—and rightly so—that products are properly tested and have passed all types of screenings to make sure they are safe before they are placed on the market and sold to the public. Unfortunately, all too often, these expectations are wrong. Big Pharma is in the business of selling drugs and devices, and making money. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), like so many government agencies, simply doesn’t have the staff, the time or the money to adequately oversee these giants. That’s where consumer watchdog Public Citizen comes in.Public Citizen, which was founded in 1971, is a non-profit organization that champions citizen interests. There are five policy groups: Congress Watch, Energy Program, Global Trade Watch, Health Research Group and Litigation Group, with the key mis-sion of making sure all citizens are “represented in the halls of power.” Public Citizen provides a voice for those who often would not be able to be heard.
One of the key areas where Public Citizen works on behalf of consumers is as an advocate against unsafe drugs. Research indicates that every year more than 100,000 people die from adverse drug reactions, and another 2 million people are seriously injured.
Here is just one example. Many of our readers are familiar with the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak, which was discovered to have originated with a compounding pharmacy, New England Compounding Center (NECC). At least 751 people were sickened and 64 died after receiving contaminated steroid injections manufactured by NECC. About 18,000 tainted shots were distributed to medical facilities in 23 states and an estimated 14,000 people were exposed to fungus after receiving the shots, commonly used to treat back, neck and joint pain. As a result, hundreds of patients developed fungal infections including meningitis.
In the wake of this tragic—and entirely preventable—situation, Public Citizen has been in active communication with the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, the FDA and Congress, calling for an independent investigation of the compounding pharmacy industry. In 2014, Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, was appointed to serve on the FDA’s newly established Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committee. The Committee will provide advice on scientific, technical and medical issues surrounding drug compounding. Dr. Carome will aggressively advocate for rigorous FDA safety standards for all compounded medications in order to safeguard the public.
Other ways Public Citizen advocates on behalf of consumers against Big Pharma include:
• Formally petitioning the FDA for stronger drug-safety standards;
• Formally petitioning the FDA to remove unsafe drugs from the market or issue black-box warnings;
• Carefully scrutinizing FDA proposals regarding the drug industry’s promotion of its products;
• Testifying regularly as medical experts at FDA advisory committee meetings about the safety of drugs; and
• Taking an active role in stopping Congress from destroying Medicare.
As a nonprofit organization, Public Citizen does not participate in partisan political activities or endorse any candidates for elected office. It accepts no government or corporate money but relies solely on foundation grants, publication sales and support from its 300,000 members.
Public Citizen provides information and warnings about developing situations involving dangerous drugs and medical devices in its Worst Pills, Best Pills newsletter, edited by Sidney M. Wolfe, M.D. The newsletter contains vital information about drug safety and effectiveness, and supplies information about the industries surrounding the drug industry, dangerous dietary supplements, and other drug-related news. The newsletter is available in printed form and also online.
I hope our readers will see fit to help Public Citizen continue its critical, life-saving work by subscribing to Worst Pills, Best Pills or making a financial donation. Public Citizen does not accept money or advertisements from drug companies, the government or corporations, allowing it to remain independent. Become an advocate for your health by supporting Public Citizen’s work to keep dangerous drugs off the market. Contributions or subscription requests may be sent to Public Citizen at 1600 20th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20009, or online at www.citizen.org.
Sources: Public Citizen and FDA
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.