NCL: Increasing truck size and weight limits is bad for consumers

May 23, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown,, 202-823-8442

Washington, D.C. – The National Consumers League, America’s pioneering worker and consumer advocacy organization, today called on lawmakers to protect consumers by blocking efforts, at both the federal and state levels, to raise the weight and size limits on commercial trucks.

Each year, the number of commercial trucks is increasing, while the number of experienced truck drivers is decreasing. In its new white paper, the consumer group examined the safety, economic, and environmental impact that putting bigger and heavier trucks onto our nation’s already congested roads would have on consumers.

“Large, heavy commercial trucks are being driven by increasingly inexperienced drivers, which is putting other drivers in danger, putting stress on roads and bridges and polluting the air we breathe,” said NCL CEO Sally Greenberg. “Lawmakers should be looking to address these concerns, rather than pushing to get even bigger and heavier trucks on the road.”

The NCL white paper examines how accidents involving long trucks continue to increase, despite a decline in the overall rate of traffic accidents. The paper looks at how the high turnover in commercial truck drivers is leading to more inexperienced drivers, who are more likely to be involved in accidents. It also shines a light on the attempts to expand driverless trucks, including massive convoys of trucks being controlled by the lead truck.

The white paper shows how large trucks are the single biggest contributor to black carbon emissions. Putting larger and heavier trucks on the road will contribute to increased rates of asthma and other lung problems, especially among children.

NCL’s paper also looked at the impact large and heavy trucks are having on our nation’s infrastructure. A Department of Transportation report showed that increasing weight limits for trucks would have an impact on 5,000 bridges across the country. The report finds that allowing double trailer trucks would require the immediate reinforcement of 2,500 interstate highway bridges.

The white paper proposes numerous steps lawmakers can take to address these problems. Aside from rejecting efforts to increase truck size and weight limits, lawmakers should take the following actions to protect consumers from large commercial trucks:

  • Enact a Vehicle Miles Traveled and Weight Tax
  • Stricter licensing requirements for larger trucks
  • Keep autonomous trucks off the road
  • Shift weight limit penalties onto carriers

“Consumers are already bearing the burden of sharing roads and bridges with massive trucks carrying heavy loads,” said Greenberg. “Lawmakers have a choice. They can either take steps to make our roads and bridges safer and our air cleaner or they can make things worse. Consumers are looking for them to step up and do the right thing.”


About the National Consumers League (NCL)
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

2023 Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge winners

May 16, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown,, 202-823-8442

Washington, DC —Today, the National Consumers League (NCL) announced the winners of its twelfth annual Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge, an eight-week intercollegiate competition among health profession student teams and faculty to combat poor medication adherence in the United States, where nearly three out of four patients do not take their medication as directed.

The Challenge, hosted by NCL, returns to university campuses across the country to encourage student competition and innovation. “The Team Challenge was first established in 2011 to nurture adherence-minded values in future generations of health professionals. Since its launch, the campaign has supported close to 2,000 community health events, engaged over 60,000 healthcare providers, and reached 27.5 million consumers and counting. We are very proud of the contribution this effort has made to the public health of all consumers,” said NCL Chief Executive Officer, Sally Greenberg.

This year’s winners are:

  • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) School of Pharmacy,
  • Temple University School of Pharmacy,
  • Western University School of Health Sciences,
  • University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, and
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy.

2023 Medication Adherence Team Challenge Winners

National Award Winner: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (LECOM) 2023 Script Your Future efforts were centered around Wellness, Adherence, Lifestyle, and Knowledge (WALK). LECOM students and faculty designed community service events in collaboration with various healthcare professionals across pathways (Erie, Bradenton, Distance Education) and programs (pharmacy, medical, and masters). The unified message promoted the importance of medication adherence, chronic disease state management, reducing disease stigma, smoking cessation, safe drug disposal, and OTC medication safety. To kick off 2023 Script Your Future, a healthcare pledge affirming the importance of interdisciplinary teamwork in improving patient outcomes was distributed and 223 current and future healthcare professional signatures were received. Overall, 817 educational materials were distributed in-person to 260 individuals. Social media, print, and broadcasting efforts reached an estimated 279,360 individuals. Overall, LECOM’s Script Your Future was a successful and impactful campaign that consisted of 159 volunteers, correlating to 273 hours of community service contributed throughout 23 service events that reached 279,779 individuals.

Under-Represented Community Outreach Award Winner: Temple University

Temple University’s main initiative this year was a community baby shower. Students got together and sought donations for diapers, wipes, baby clothes, diaper bags, strollers, car seats, baby bottles, and pacifiers, and advertised the event throughout social media to expectant mothers in the North Philadelphia community. Students connected with larger Philadelphia organizations to get the word out and have expecting mothers register for the event. The event was a great success! There was a panel on general women’s health and gestational diabetes to educate the expecting mothers and students created pamphlets on gestational diabetes and pediatric vaccinations. During the event students displayed safe drug disposal posters and educated the mothers on the importance of keeping medications in places where children and pets cannot reach them. The team was able to help over 50 expectant mothers in the North Philadelphia community.

Media & Communications Award Winner: Western University

In addition to creating TikTok videos, Western’s 2023 team recreated its website with a new, cleaner interface that is easier to use among every age group. A new tinyurl link ( and QR codes to link to the website were created, along with infographics for a variety of chronic diseases. The infographics were visually appealing and easy to read. Additionally, the infographics about COVID-19, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more were available to view in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, and Korean. For this year, the team provided a new translation for its infographics in Tagalog because there is a significant number of Filipino patients within the community. Visitors were able to download these infographics in each language for personal use, all infographics were available in these languages. By informing patients about their disease states, the students were able to help them understand why it is important to continue adhering to their medications. In addition to efforts to promote the TikTok videos and website, the team also collaborated with local pharmacies including Owl Pharmacy, Holt Pharmacy, Ontario Pharmacy, ABC Pharmacy, and Costco Pharmacy in distributing Script Your Future wallet cards. A total of approximately 2,000 wallet cards were distributed, including 1290 in English, 347 in Spanish, 142 in Vietnamese, and 80 in Mandarin.

Interprofessional Award Winner: University of Charleston

The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy (UCSOP) took a broad approach to interprofessional collaboration and included students studying political science and public health. These students were onsite during the West Virginia Rural Health Day and WVA Pharmacy Day at the Capital events. Political Science students were able to give advice to pharmacy students on presenting material and information to legislators and state leaders. Students focused efforts on increasing community influence around the importance of healthy lifestyles, medication adherence, and the confidence in vaccines. To broaden the effort further, the University of Charleston Nursing Program, University of Charleston Athletic Trainers and Exercise Undergraduates, along with various undergraduate students who could share knowledge on health topics participated in various events. In addition to UC associates, the team collaborated with several community partners, such as the West Virginia Pharmacists Association, West Virginia Rural Health Association, West Virginia Collegiate Recovery Network, American Foundation for Suicide Awareness, The American Heart Association, Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, and West Virginia local and state representatives. In working with these organizations, the team was able to broaden the number of community members influenced by its campaign efforts.

Technology Innovation Award: University of Pittsburgh

The Pitt Pharmacy team created innovative technologies where students had the ability to learn about cardiovascular emergencies in real time. Students ran simulations with simman. This “patient” can have a range of health concerns, from a heart attack to atrial fibrillation. Students learned how cardiac disorders are treated and performed simulations as instructors for future pharmacy students. In addition, student organizations hosted events with virtual reality technology where students could “treat” patients for these cardiovascular events.

Owen Hott, a student involved in the University of Pittsburg technology committee, stated, “As the head of the technology and innovation committee, Script Your Future was a great experience that allowed me to work with new people, come up with awesome ideas, and to play a part in a national campaign to empower patients. Part of my future goals as a pharmacist is to make sure that patients are as knowledgeable about their own health as their health providers. It’s all too often that I see issues that could have been avoided if anyone had spent the time to teach patients about their conditions rather than just sending them off with their medications, and I’m glad I was able to contribute to the cause!”


About the National Consumers League (NCL)
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

NCL statement on nomination of Dr. Monica Bertagnolli as the Director of the National Institutes of Health

May 15, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin,, 202-207-2831

Washington, D.C. – The National Consumers League welcomes President Joe Biden nomination’s of Dr. Monica Bertagnolli as the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

NIH plays a critical role in advancing science to benefit patients. Dr. Bertagnolli’s deep understanding of biomedical research and proven leadership in directing the National Cancer Institute makes her an ideal nominee for the NIH Directorship.

“Dr. Bertagnolli brings so much experience to this post,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL’s CEO. “She is a physician, scientist, and a patient herself, so she has seen all sides of the issues facing patients and the NIH. We would be fortunate indeed to have someone of Dr. Bertagnolli stature and accomplishments leading the NIH.”

Dr. Bertagnolli is currently the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Prior to her role at the NCI, Dr. Bertagnolli was a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, and chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In addition, she was the recent chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, a national clinical trial network of the NCI.

“NCL believes that Dr. Bertagnolli is the right leader for this critical agency that advances public health. NCL supports her nomination and we urge the Senate to confirm her promptly,” Greenberg added.


About the National Consumers League (NCL)
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

NCL statement on FDA review of the oral toxicity of cannabidiol (CBD)

May 12, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown,, 202-823-8442

Washington, D.C. – This week, researchers from the Office of Food Additive Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published an analysis on the toxicity of cannabidiol (CBD). The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer advocacy organization, has been actively monitoring the growing threats to consumer safety as the market for untested, unapproved cannabidiol (CBD) products has exploded. NCL Chief Executive Officer, Sally Greenberg, released the following statement:

“We’re encouraged to see the experts at the FDA continue efforts to study CBD. These findings unfortunately further validate our concerns around the risks, including negative drug-drug interactions, disruption of critical metabolic pathways, liver injury, reproductive toxicity, and more. These concerns are of course heightened by the fact that many consumers are using products without physician oversight and often use products for long periods of time. The data highlights the need to ensure that FDA has sufficient regulatory tools and resources to mitigate public health risks in this wild west CBD marketplace.”

Learn more about the path to safe cannabis and CBD use here. And learn more about the cannabis consumer market at


About the National Consumers League (NCL)
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

Nancy Glick

A message for National Minority Health Month: Take obesity seriously

Nancy GlickBy Nancy Glick, Director of Food and Nutrition Policy

As National Minority Health Month in April comes to a close, It is a good time to take stock of the health status of the more than 125 million Americans of color or 38.4 percent of the population now living in this country.

The good news is that improvements in disease prevention are saving lives. For example, more minority women are getting mammogram screenings for breast cancer, getting treatment with antibiotics earlier, and seeking counseling for smoking cessation.  As a consequence, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian women all have lower death rates from heart disease when compared with white women and breast and lung cancer deaths have been declining steadily among African American women.

But while we can celebrate these advancements, now is the time to be even more mindful of the minority health problems that are often discounted and go untreated. And here, no problem needs our attention more than the disease of obesity, where people of color face an unequal burden of weight-related chronic conditions and premature death due to significant disparities in medical care.

In sheer numbers and its toll on death and disability, obesity has reached crisis proportions in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the adult obesity rate now exceeds 40 percent – the highest level ever recorded. And the costs are staggering.  Not only is obesity a serious disease by itself, but it worsens the outcomes of over 230 chronic conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Thus, obesity is responsible for 300,000 premature deaths each year and costs the U.S. economy over $1.72 trillion annually in health costs.

But these statistics only begin to document the problem. Obesity disproportionately affects Black and Brown communities and is now one of the most serious health equity issues facing the nation. Due to higher rates of obesity among communities of color, Black adults are 1.5 times as likely to experience stroke, 40 percent are more likely to have high blood pressure and 60 percent are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than White adults. Additionally, Hispanics are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes than Whites, Asian Americans are 40 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders are 2.5 times more likely to have diabetes and 3.9 times as likely to experience a stroke.

The threat is real, but hand ringing is not the answer. Obesity is a treatable disease, just like type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Yet obesity remains largely undertreated by healthcare providers.  As documented in a National Consumers League report issued in July 2022, 108 million adult Americans have obesity, but only 30 million adults have been diagnosed with the disease (source:  PharMetrics-Ambulatory EMR database, 2018. Novo Nordisk Inc.).

Compounding the problem, only 2 percent of those eligible for treatment with FDA-approved anti-obesity medicines (AOMs) have been prescribed these drugs. This means that very few Americans with obesity are benefiting from a new class of safe and effective medicines that control appetite and cravings to achieve significant weight loss. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, use of one of these drugs resulted in more than a 20 percent reduction in obesity when added to lifestyle modification.

While there are many reasons why obesity is going undiagnosed and untreated, the most pernicious are insurance barriers that keep people from getting the care they need. This includes government policy that allows states to define what are the essential health benefits that must be covered under any Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace plan sold on state health insurance exchanges. Yet, despite the ACA’s guarantees of providing all essential health benefits to consumers, a 2016 analysis by the Obesity Care Advocacy Network (OCAN) found that 24 states excluded coverage for weight/obesity management services in their benchmark marketplace plans, resulting in blatant discrimination against people with obesity.

An equally troubling situation involves the Medicare program, which prohibits coverage for FDA-approved anti-obesity medicines based on a policy dating back to 2003 when these drugs did not exist. This resistance to change leaves millions of seniors, particularly members of Black and Latino communities, vulnerable to disability, disease and premature death due to lack of treatment. Moreover, the extent of the disparities in obesity care will only get worse in the coming years if the status quo remains. As documented in a March 2023 report from AmerisourceBergen, the total number of Black, Native American, Asian, and Hispanics eligible for Medicare is predicted to more than double by 2038, many of whom will have obesity and a different set of chronic conditions than what Medicare is currently prepared to address.

Then, there is the Medicaid program operated by the states, which covers about three in ten Black, American Indian and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders under age 65 and more than two in ten Hispanic adults. While Medicaid has helped narrow longstanding disparities in health coverage and access to care for people of color, this is not true for those Medicaid beneficiaries living with obesity. Today, only 15 Medicaid programs cover anti-obesity medications in fee-for-service Medicaid, and only four additional programs cover anti-obesity medications under at least one Medicaid managed-care plan. Moreover, only two states cover anti-obesity medications in benchmark Marketplace plans.

Adding to these coverage disparities, 15 million people on Medicaid – 30 percent of whom are Hispanics and 15 percent are African Americans  – could lose access to their health coverage in the coming months. This is due to the end of a federal program that paid states to add more low-income and disabled residents to the Medicaid rolls during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Already, five states – Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, New Hampshire, and South Dakota – have begun to disenroll people and by the end of June, 34 states and the District of Columbia will cut their Medicaid rolls, either due to their income status or for procedural reasons, such as not completing renewal forms. For this reason, advocates are using all available levers to help enrollees keep their Medicaid coverage and to assist those dropped from the program to find coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace or other options.

While this is a short-term solution, it is part of the national commitment by the public health community, minority health leaders, clinicians, patient advocates, and consumer organizations to change outdated and discriminatory policies that restrict coverage and access to obesity treatments. Our message is clear: the health of all Americans depends on taking obesity seriously and ensuring that those with the disease receive timely, comprehensive obesity care.

NCL applauds DOT for proposed passenger compensation requirements

May 8, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown,, 202-823-8442

Washington, D.C. – The National Consumers League (NCL) today applauded the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) announcement that it will begin a rulemaking to require airlines to provide compensation to passengers affected by controllable flight cancellations and delays of more than three hours. Additionally, air carriers would have to provide meals, hotel accommodation, and rebooking when necessary. 

The following statement is attributable to John Breyault, National Consumers League Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications, and Fraud: 

An airline ticket should not be a lottery ticket. Unfortunately, current industry practices too often make it a game of chance where consumers risk getting stranded by airline meltdowns. DOT’s proposed rule recognizes a very simple truth: passengers’ time is valuable, and they should be compensated when airlines waste it. NCL has long fought for such a requirement and we are pleased that DOT has responded to our advocacy. 

NCL has been a leading voice for expanding consumers’ rights in air travel. The League’s latest aviation consumer protection priorities can be found here.


About the National Consumers League (NCL)
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

Team from Hawaii wins its state’s first National LifeSmarts Championship

May 2, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin,, 202-207-2831

Photos from the 2023 National LifeSmarts Championships can be found here.

The team from Maryknoll School in Honolulu, Hawaii, was crowned the 2023 National LifeSmarts Champion in Cincinnati, Ohio, this past Sunday, April 30. In 29 years of LifeSmarts competition this is the first-ever win for The Aloha State.

The all-senior team, coached by Kit U Wong, competed against Dallas High School from Dallas, Pennsylvania, in the championship match. The 2023 members of the team from Hawaii include: Captain Chris Ho, Adam Nelson, Maddi Agustin, Kaitlyn McLeod, and Benson Leung.

Joining Hawaii and Pennsylvania in Sunday’s semifinal matches were teams from Georgia and Rhode Island. Teams from the District of Columbia, Kansas, Washington, and Wisconsin all made it to the top eight.

Forty-two student teams traveled from across the country to compete over four days at the iconic Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza in Downtown Cincinnati.

“This year’s Nationals, like past competitions, were riveting,” said LifeSmarts Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “Each year, teams from across the United States come ready to compete, learn from each other, and enjoy their time together. We are thrilled for Team Hawaii’s first ever-win. Congratulations to the Maryknoll Spartans!”

“I commend all of the students who competed hard and demonstrated such a breadth of consumer knowledge,” continued Hertzberg. “They are the best and brightest from across the country, and they should all be proud of their accomplishments.”

LifeSmarts is an education and scholarship program run by the Washington, DC-based National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s oldest consumer advocacy organization. It competitively tests high school students’ knowledge of consumer awareness, with subjects including personal finance, health and safety, consumer rights and responsibility, technology and workforce preparation, and the environment. LifeSmarts is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and in partnership with student leadership programs such as 4-H, BPA, FBLA, FCCLA, SkillsUSA. and others.

Each student on the first-place team received a $1,500.00 scholarship; second-place team members received $1,000.00 scholarships; and third-place team members received $750 scholarships. Team members who placed fourth received gift cards.

Teens from each of the 42 teams represented at Nationals also competed as individuals, and the top-scoring student in each LifeSmarts subject received a $500 scholarship from NCL. The 2023 winners are:

  • Consumer Rights and Responsibilities: Lucas Carver, Pennsylvania
  • Environment: Hannah Christianson, Washington
  • Health and Safety: Marie Popielarz, Pennsylvania
  • Personal Finance: Mahi Dohl, Pennsylvania
  • Technology and Workforce Preparation: Chris Ho, Hawaii

Natalie Keller from Selah High School in Washington State and Gabe Laster from Norton Wild Card 9 from Lebanon, Missouri, were awarded co-LifeSmarts Students of the Year. They each received $100 Amazon gift cards.

Winning recognition as LifeSmarts Coaches of the Year were Tina Steinert from Kansas, Dave Handt from Varsity Wild Card 4 from North Dakota and Bea Roberson from Oklahoma  All three LifeSmarts coaches received $100 Amazon gift cards.

LifeSmarts State Coordinator of the Year was awarded to Brittani Lee, Georgia State Coordinator, who has been a devoted advocate for LifeSmarts for many years, growing the state program and seeing four teams from Georgia advance to this year’s National LifeSmarts Championship.

The Sarah Weinberg LifeSmarts Memorial Scholarship, given each year to a student who demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to community service, was awarded to Kaitlyn Johnson of Delaware.

NCL’s partnership with UL Standards & Engagement has elevated the issues surrounding counterfeit products. Winners of the Be Safe Buy Real digital poster contest were Bianca Murphy from Colorado, Kianna Siebert from Minnesota, Marie Popielarz, Caiden Brown from Texas, Aminah Ali from Texas, Jesse Peddycord Contreras from Varsity Wild Card 4 in North Dakota, Samuel Steele from Kansas, and Jesse Taylor from Kansas. Bailey Bennett and Anunya Madhavaraman—both from Georgia—were JV (middle school) winners. Each recipient received a $100 cash prize.

Winners in the Norton Identity Theft essay contest were Kaitlyn Johnson, Reyna Brown Muhammad from Alabama, Joe Rutledge from Georgia, Allie Higgins from Idaho, and Alison Thompson from Wisconsin. Each received a $1,000 scholarship for their winning essays providing solutions to identity theft.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. sponsored five scholarships which were awarded to students who impacted their communities with presentations and social media campaigns about OTC medicine safety. Winners were Emma Bayer of Norton Wild Card 2 in Georgia, Bryan Cabrera Icte from Delaware, Luis Felipe del Solar from Louisiana, Seth Moon from Georgia, and Kianna Siebert.

The LifeSmarts Team Spirit Award went to Calhan High School. The team from Colorado demonstrated outstanding camaraderie and great sportsmanship throughout the four-day championship.

The social media awards for most engaged on Instagram and our new meme contest were very popular among the students. The best meme went to Alyssa Harmon from Norton Wild Card 8. The Instagram winners were Amelia Gindorf from Arizona, Jada Sturdivant from Alabama and Autumn Negen from the Norton Wild Card 8 team. Each team also created a t-shirt and votes for the People’s Choice were collected on Instagram with that award went to the Washington team. The judge’s selections were Alabama and Oklahoma.

Sponsors of the 2023 National LifeSmarts Championship are as follows:

Platinum: Amazon, Johnson & Johnson Consumers Inc., Norton

Gold: Discover, Tide

Silver: Comcast, FICO, Melaleuca, Meta, P&G, Toyota

Bronze: American Express, JPMorgan Chase, UL Standards & Engagement, WSECU

At Sunday’s closing ceremony, NCL also announced that the 2024 National LifeSmarts Championship, which marks the program’s 30th anniversary, will take place in San Diego, California.

To learn more about LifeSmarts, visit

About LifeSmarts

LifeSmarts is a comprehensive consumer education program that is free to middle school and high school students and educators. The goal of the LifeSmarts program is to create consumer-savvy young people who will be better equipped for adult life in today’s complex, global marketplace. Visit for more information. LifeSmarts: Learn it. Live it.

About the National Consumers League (NCL)

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