Statement on NCL v Flowers Bakeries, LLC – National Consumers League

Contact: Sally Greenberg, National Consumers League,, (202) 631-2301

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League (“NCL”) and Flowers Bakeries, LLC (“FB”) are pleased to announce that they have resolved consumer-related litigation pending in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, NCL v. Flowers BakeriesLLC, Case No. 2013 CA 006550 B. NCL and FB recognize the importance of a focus on nutritional content in bread product offerings and ensuring that customers have healthful options. FB has agreed to provide additional disclosures on the back of its packaging and on the Nature’s Own website.”


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

Cutting Costs for Contraceptives: Saving Money and Staying Healthy under the ACA – National Consumers League


A recent study shows that since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate for insurance plans to cover contraceptives, we’ve seen a large reduction in out-of-pocket spending. In 2013, women saved $1.4 billion! This is important for all American women because too many skip preventive care and other health services due to cost. It appears that free contraception is having a large effect on the rate of pregnancies and abortions in the U.S. But some women are still paying out-of-pocket.

The ACA has strengthened women’s access to many different types of preventive care—including mammograms and all prescribed FDA-approved contraceptive services and supplies—without cost-sharing. However, as a Kaiser Family Foundation study found, not all plans are covering the cost of contraceptive services for consumers, despite the federal mandate to do so. The president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dr. Mark S. DeFrancesco, stated, “Too often, medical management is used by some insurers as a barrier to access for patients.” The Department of Health and Human Services issued guidance for health insurers to clarify the ACA provision on contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing. With these clarifications, we can hope for full coverage of contraceptives without co-pays. 

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has introduced the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act to make birth control pills and other contraceptives available over-the-counter for people aged 18 and older. While the bill would make contraceptives easier to obtain, it may not keep these services free of cost-sharing. Insurance companies only cover contraceptive services that come with a doctor’s prescription. Dr. Mark S. DeFrancesco said, “Instead of improving access, this bill would actually make more women have to pay for their birth control, and for some women, the cost would be prohibitive…we cannot support a plan that creates one route to access at the expense of another, more helpful route.” The Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act also repeals parts of the ACA. Studies continually demonstrate improved health among the U.S. population due to the ACA. The Act is doing its job.

The age restriction that Senator Ayotte’s bill puts on over-the-counter birth control would also limit the population that benefits from access to contraceptive services. Medical experts should make these decisions about contraceptives, not politicians! While getting a prescription is a burden for many, the cost that comes with over-the-counter medication creates barriers for people who can’t afford it. Advocates say birth control and other contraceptives must be made both accessible and affordable to all those who are looking to access these services. The benefits of making contraceptives easy to access and inexpensive are clear and even favorable to conservative politicians: fewer unwanted pregnancies and abortions, and more women having the ability to make decisions about their health.  

A Big Win For California Patients And Consumers – “Refill Reminders” A “Go” – National Consumers League

sg.jpgCalifornia’s Office of Health Information Integrity (CalOHII) just delivered a big victory for patients and consumers by expressly recognizing that sponsored medication adherence programs for a currently prescribed drug (commonly called “refill reminders”) do not require patient authorization in California. In publishing its long-awaited State Health Information Policy Manual, CalOHII takes a step to harmonize the state’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA) with the federal medical privacy laws and regulations (a.k.a., the HIPAA Privacy Rule).

For years now, due in part to privacy concerns, confusion has persisted within the healthcare community about the types of refill reminder programs that can legally run in California. In fact, California is the only state in the U.S. where pharmacies do not, to any meaningful degree, operate sponsored refill reminder programs. California consumers deserve the benefit of refill reminders that provide helpful information to patients about their prescription drugs. Patient access to this information is now guaranteed.

CalOHII’s publication of its Manual makes clear that California adopts the same approach that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) took in its 2013 final rulemaking and “Refill Reminder Guidance.” Under that HHS Guidance, pharmacies are able to provide their patients with sponsored refill reminders. NCL applauds CalOHII for clarifying that the CMIA should be interpreted consistently with the HIPAA Privacy Rule. With that clarification, NCL is hopeful that California pharmacies and their sponsors will jumpstart sponsored refill reminder programs. 

NCL is a longstanding supporter of refill reminder programs. NCL leads  “Script Your Future,” a public education campaign designed to raise awareness of the importance of taking medication as prescribed. Poor medication adherence is a major, and significantly under-appreciated, health problem. Studies establish that nearly three-out-of-four Americans do not take their medications as directed, which costs the healthcare system nearly $300 billion per year and results in almost 125,000 unnecessary deaths per year. To help combat this problem, most pharmacies, health plans, and doctors provide a broad range of patient-directed communications regarding prescription drug therapies, including communications that encourage patients to stay on prescribed therapy. The sponsored refill reminder programs endorsed by CalOHII in its Manual are a key part of these efforts in California.  

 As a founding member of the Best Privacy Practices Coalition, NCL is also a strong believer in the protection of medical privacy. However, medical privacy does not exist in a vacuum. NCL is pleased that CalOHII has arrived at a great middle ground that balances the need for information with privacy concerns of patients. This balance is a win for Californians.

The Greatest American Heroine You’ve Never Heard of: Why Florence Kelley Should Be the Woman on the Next $10 Bill – National Consumers League

This post appeared on the Huffington Post on July 6, 2015

The Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, Jack Lew, recently announced that the newly re-designed $10 bill, slated for 2020, would feature the face of a woman to honor the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The announcement set the Internet ablaze with suggestions for which historical U.S. woman would adorn the new bill.

It’s about time! While this will not be the first time a woman has graced U.S. currency – Martha Washington was featured on the dollar bill in the 19th Century and Pocahontas was in a group photo that appeared on the $20 bill from 1865 to 1869 – it’s been way too long since we had an American heroine appear on paper money. Queen Elizabeth’s likeness is on bills in 15 Commonwealth countries. Frida Kahlo is featured on Mexico’s 500-peso note. Eva Peron has been celebrated on Argentina’s 100-peso note since 2012. Opera star Dame Nellie Melba appears on the Australian 100-dollar note.

Lew has said that he will be choosing a woman who “has played a major role in our history who represents the theme of democracy.” One of the National Consumers League’s founders, Florence Kelley, was a champion for equal rights and consumer protections who fought her whole life for democracy and would be an ideal candidate – a true unsung female American hero.

Though her actions are not as popularized as other women in U.S. history, she has indeed played a major role in the creation of modern America and worked tirelessly to raise awareness and influence public policy to fight the oppressive working conditions for women, children, and all workers. She may not be as well recognized in popular culture, but we all take for granted the 8-hour workday that she helped to establish and the other groundbreaking reforms in labor and consumer products for which she was responsible. Her work left a very visible mark on our nation’s history, and we now have a chance for her legacy in social justice to be acknowledged.

Here are the top ten reasons we should put #KelleyOn10.

1. Influence. Justice Felix Frankfurter said about Florence Kelley: she “had probably the largest single share in shaping the social history of the United States during the first 30 years of the 20th Century.”
2. Workers rights. The daughter of William D. Kelley, a co-founder of the Republican Party in 1859 and a U.S. Congressman from Philadelphia, 1860-1890, she was a charismatic speaker who convinced her contemporaries that women and children needed labor protections at a time when unions would not represent their interests.
3. Pioneer. After graduating from Cornell University in 1882, and obtaining a law degree from Northwestern University in 1893, she co-founded in 1898 a leading progressive era organization – the National Consumers League (NCL)– and headed the NCL until her death in 1932.
4. Progressive leadership. She fostered the creation of 64 local consumers’ leagues throughout the United States, and traveled extensively to orchestrate connections between local leagues and the national league, promoting a social justice agenda that was widely adopted by the women’s suffrage movement and other progressive movements nationwide. She inspired and mentored future Labor Secretary, Frances Perkins; Eleanor Roosevelt followed in Kelley’s footsteps.
5. Ending child labor. She was the leading champion of eradicating child labor in the United States from 1898-1932.
6. 40-hour work week. She promoted the enactment of state wage and hours laws for women, which created the foundation for the 40-hour week and minimum wage law incorporated within the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938.
7. Universal health care. She led the campaign for enactment of the first federal health care bill, the Welfare and Hygiene of Maternity and Infancy Act, more commonly known as the Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921
8. NAACP leadership. In 1909 she was one of the original organizers, with W.E.B. DuBois and others, of the NAACP and served on the association’s board for 20 years. Kelley fully supported racial equality, writing in a 1926 letter, “I think there should be a written pledge from every hotel that there will be no race discrimination. Certainly I should not dream of staying in any hotel which refused to my fellow members either bed or board.”
9. Women’s suffrage. She was a prominent leader in the battle for women’s suffrage, served a Vice President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1902, and in 1920 co-founded the League of Women Voters.
10. Consumer safety. She advocated for the Pure Food and Drugs Act and Meat Inspection Act of 1906, pioneering consumer protection laws that laid the groundwork for the creation of the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service.

NCL applauds DOJ investigation into airline collusion – National Consumers League

July 2, 2015

Contact: Cindy Hoang, National Consumers League, or (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy group, applauds the Department of Justice (DOJ) for its announcement of an investigation into major U.S. airlines to determine whether they are colluding to keep airfares high. NCL is urging the DOJ to also examine the role that rising cancellation/change fees have played in the growing cost of air travel for consumers. In a 2013 report, NCL examined these fees and found that they are a growing source of concern for consumers and may contribute to the deceptive marketing of travel insurance policies.

The following statement is attributable to NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

As the airline industry reports record profits, consumers are faced with higher ticket prices, limited routes, and consistently terrible customer service. We support efforts by the DOJ and leaders in Congress like Sen. Richard Blumenthal to get to the bottom of this issue and determine whether airlines are participating in anticompetitive, anti-consumer conduct. 

With the increasing consolidation in the airline industry, it is now more critical than ever that regulators be on the lookout for anti-competitive conduct that harms the flying public.


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit