Public Health

COVID-19 and the question of priorities

By | Douglas H. Phelps
Chairman, U.S. PIRG; President and Executive Director, The Public Interest Network

To keep the sickest people alive during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we need ventilators. We don’t have them — and that says something about our priorities.

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Price gouging on medical equipment risks lives, 100+ mayors call for action

A new investigation by ProPublica, along with reporting by numerous other outlets, has revealed that suppliers are using the COVID-19 public health emergency to drive up prices exorbitantly on medical equipment. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

President Trump takes crucial step of activating Defense Production Act to get more ventilators

In response to a critical shortage of ventilators needed to keep severe COVID-19 patients breathing, President Donald Trump ordered General Motors to produce the life-saving machines under the Defense Production Act. The Department of Health and Human Services will be responsible for implementation of and follow through on that order. 

News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Statement: Passing the “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act” is a crucial step to protect U.S. children

In an effort to protect young Americans from the temptations that can lead to a life-long struggle with tobacco addiction, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on Friday on a bill that would restrict tobacco sales and marketing.

News Release | OSPIRG Foundation | Consumer Tips, Public Health

New investigation: Supermarkets failing to warn public about food recalls

Americans are not hearing about food recalls, and that communication breakdown is having serious repercussions for public health. For example, less than two years ago, people kept getting sick for months after 12 million pounds of Salmonella-contaminated beef was recalled. The pattern has repeated for other recalls even when news outlets have publicized warnings from food safety agencies. 

Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Consumer Tips, Public Health

Food Recall Failure

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 48 million Americans contract a food borne illness yearly with 128,000 people hospitalized and 3,000 dead as a result of these illnesses. 

The food safety system uses two lines of defense to help prevent this threat. First a series of inspections and enforcement measures identify hazardous products before they make it to store shelves and Americans’ plates. Second, when a foodborne pathogen or other threats are still sold for consumption, the recall system attempts to remove the food from store shelves as quickly as possible and alerts consumers about the hazard. While not all illnesses are connected to a source, removing contaminated food from the market helps protect the public.

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