LifeSmarts launches 2019-20 season with new scholarship, community service opportunities for teens

September 18, 2019

Millions of student leaders have gained real-world knowledge through the program 

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832 

Washington, DC–Today marks the official launch of the 2019-2020 season of LifeSmarts, with a new competition going live at LifeSmarts.org. LifeSmarts, a program of the National Consumers League (NCL), is a national scholarship competition and educational program for middle-school and high-school students that tests knowledge of real-life consumer issues and is helping to create a future generation of consumer-savvy adults. 

“We are very excited to launch this season of LifeSmarts,” said national Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “For more than 25 years, LifeSmarts has given students the skills they need to succeed as adults. We’ve seen more than 1.5 million students gain knowledge, confidence, leadership capabilities, and team-building skills. The competition is fun, and the impact of LifeSmarts is life-long.” 

LifeSmarts focuses on five main content areas: 

  • consumer rights and responsibilities
  • personal finance
  • technology
  • health and safety
  • and the environment

Students are quizzed on their knowledge of these subject areas during online competition. Top-performing teams then advance to statewide competitions, and state champion teams as well as several wildcard teams advance to the national championship held each year in a different American city. The 2020 National LifeSmarts Championship will take place in the Washington, DC area April 25-28, 2020. Winning team members receive scholarships and other prizes. 

Last year, students answered more than 3.5 million consumer questions about credit reports, recycling, nutrition, social media, state lemon laws, and everything in between. In April, the LifeSmarts state champion team from Barrington, Rhode Island, took home top honors at the 25th anniversary event in Orlando, Florida.

In addition to online, state, and national competitions, LifeSmarts recognition and awards occur throughout the program year: 

  • Teams of students vie for cash prizes in the online TeamSmarts quiz, which focuses on a specific LifeSmarts content area each month from September through February.
  • Classroom mentor programs: Five $1,000 scholarships are awarded each winter to winning LifeSmarts students who become Safety Smart Ambassadors, using LifeSmarts content and UL’s Safety Smart modules to present safety messages to younger children in their communities. 
  • Partnering with FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), 4-H, and FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America), LifeSmarts complements these organizations’ projects, judging events, competitive events, and activities. LifeSmarts offers special opportunities for members of these student leadership organizations. 
  • A new quest is open for middle school participants focusing on lithium ion button cell batteries and the risks and hazards they pose to young children. This team-building and leadership opportunity will culminate in a PSA contest among middle school LifeSmarts This project is sponsored by UL’s XPLORLABS, which helps students and teachers solve problems through science and engineering to become part of the movement to make the world a safer place.
  • Thanks to a long-standing partnership with Western Union, high school LifeSmarts participants have the opportunity to educate older citizens to avoid fraud. These LifeSmarts Fraud Ambassadors will highlight common advance-fee and fake check scams, demonstrating that education is the best protection against fraud.  
  • LifeSmarts student will win a $2,000 scholarship by writing the winning privacy essay in a contest sponsored by ITRC and CyberScout. 

LifeSmarts is active in all states and the District of Columbia, where NCL is headquartered. 

“We are proud of the impact LifeSmarts has made in its 25+ years of educating teens, and we are excited to continue to grow the LifeSmarts program, to educate students about financial literacy, and to create a new generation of savvy, market-ready consumers and workers,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Too often traditional high school curriculum fails to teach students vital information that will be crucial once students go to college, get their first job, or move out of their parents’ house.” 

In addition to hosting the official LifeSmarts competition, LifeSmarts.org provides resources for educators to supplement existing lesson plans. These include daily quizzes, educational videos, social media competitions, focused study guides, and scholarship opportunities. LifeSmarts lessons closely align with courses taught in family and consumer sciences, business, technology, health, and vocational education. Math and English teachers have also had success with LifeSmarts, as have homeschool and community educators. 

Major LifeSmarts contributors include: Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Western Union, AARP, Comcast NBCUniversal, Sears Consumer Protection and Education Fund, American Express, Intuit, WSECU, CBM Credit Education Foundation, and a number of state and local sponsors. 

Visit LifeSmarts.org for more information.

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About LifeSmarts

LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League. State coordinators run the programs on a volunteer basis. For more information, visit: LifeSmarts.org, email lifesmarts@nclnet.org, or call the National Consumers League’s communications department at 202-835-3323.

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 www.nclnet.org.

NCL applauds Ryan, Schakowsky, and King for House introduction of Hot Cars Act (HR 3593)

July 8, 2019

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League, the nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy organization, applauds Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Peter King (R-NY) for reintroducing the Hot Cars Act (H.R. 3593) on July 1. By mandating that all new cars come equipped with technology that detects and alerts the presence of a child left in a vehicle, the Hot Cars Act would help stop dozens of tragic and preventable child deaths annually.

The Hot Car Act would require that all new cars come equipped with an alarm system that reminds drivers to check the car after exiting. The bill calls for “a distinct auditory and visual alert to notify individuals inside and outside of the vehicle of the presence of an occupant.” This alarm will only occur when the vehicle senses a physical presence in the back seat.

Heatstroke is the leading cause of deaths in vehicles (excluding crashes) for children 14 years old and younger, according to Consumer Reports. Although some may believe that hot car tragedies could never happen to them, more than 900 children have died in hot cars since 1990, and 17 fatalities have been recorded in 2019 alone, according to safety advocacy group KidsAndCars.org.

“This lifesaving technology is already available, so why wouldn’t we expedite its implementation and allow children and their families to benefit from it?” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg.

The Hot Cars Act alert system follows in the tradition of other essential vehicle alarm systems that have become commonplace for consumers, such as chimes that remind drivers to use a seat belt, indicate that headlights have been left on, or doors have been left ajar.

The alarm system also has relevance beyond the summer months. Sensors and alarms in new cars will also prevent children from being left unattended in dangerously cold temperatures. The proposed technology would also alert pet-owners if their furry friend is about to be left behind.

The Senate introduced its version of the bill in May, which was sponsored by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). 

The National Consumers League once again commends Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Peter King(R-NY) for their continued leadership on this issue and urge members of Congress to support this important children’s protection legislation.

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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 www.nclnet.org.

NCL applauds brave New York State legislators who stood up to anti-vaxxers by eliminating religious exemptions for vaccines

June 14, 2019

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL) strongly supports the New York legislature’s vote yesterday to end religious exemptions for vaccinations. New York has been the epicenter of the nation’s measles outbreak. 

“We applaud the fortitude of legislators in standing up to opposition from religious groups and vaccine skeptics who claim that vaccination laws infringe on religious and constitutional rights,” said Sally Greenberg, the League’s executive director. As the outbreak of measles in 2019 hits record highs for an illness that is totally preventable through vaccination, New York joins the states of Arizona, California, Mississippi, Maine, and West Virginia in banning religious exemptions.

The current measles outbreak has spread to 28 states, with more than 1,000 cases in total, the highest number since 1992, when more than 2,000 cases were recorded. Highly contagious, measles can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The New York legislators withstood opposition from angry opponents—many with young children and infants—who invoked the will of God and their rights as parents. The measure in the New York State Assembly passed, 77 to 53 and State Senate approved the bill, 36-26. Governor Andrew Cuomo bravely signed the legislation moments after it passed the Senate, saying that vaccines “are safe, effective and the best way to keep our children safe.” 

“Measles is a highly contagious and dangerous illness, especially for children who are too young to be vaccinated or those who cannot, for health reasons or compromised immune systems, be vaccinated,” said Nissa Shaffi, health policy associate for NCL.

“The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is an extremely safe and effective public health measure that protects the entire community, especially children who are too young to receive vaccinations and rely on the general population for protection against debilitating diseases,” said Shaffi.

Religious reasons or personal preferences cannot be an excuse for exposing whole communities to totally preventable illnesses–and even death–when vaccines provide extremely safe and effective protections for all citizens. The New York Legislature made the absolute right decision in standing up to ignorance and misinformation spread by anti-vaccination forces,” said Greenberg.

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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 www.nclnet.org.

The BOSS ACT is the fix a broken ticket market needs

June 13, 2019

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League, the nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy organization, applauds Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for reintroducing the Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing Act of 2019 (“BOSS ACT”). The bill will create much-needed transparency in a live event ticketing marketplace that is too often rigged against consumers. 

“Today’s ticketing marketplace is rigged against the consumer,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Unfair and deceptive practices such as sky-high fees, undisclosed ticket holdbacks, deceptive speculative ticketing, and anti-consumer ticket terms are rampant. Fans are fed up with the artificially-engineered ticket scarcity, deceptive advertisements, ticket-buying bots, and cornucopia of hidden fees that too often prevent them from seeing their favorite artist or sports team at an affordable price.” 

The BOSS ACT will change that. The bill takes a comprehensive approach to putting fans back in the driver’s seat by:  

  • Requiring all-in pricing on the primary and secondary ticket markets, ending the practice of slamming consumers with hidden fees during high-pressure checkout processes; 
  • Requiring primary ticket sellers to be honest about how many seats they plan on making available; 
  • Eliminating resale price floors which artificially inflate prices and saddle ticket holders with seats they cannot use or sell; 
  • Allowing fans to resell their tickets in the manner they choose; 
  • Prohibiting unethical scalpers from impersonating venues’ and teams’ websites to charge higher prices for less-desirable seats; 
  • Requiring the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to identify ways to improve their enforcement against illegal ticket buying bots.  

At an FTC workshop on live event ticketing this week, representatives of the leading primary and secondary ticket marketplaces came together and expressed their support for federal legislation that would require all-in pricing for event tickets. “In an unprecedented show of industry consensus, businesses from across the live event industry pledged to do the right thing by consumers and support all-in pricing of tickets,” said John Breyault, NCL vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud. “The BOSS ACT is the industry’s opportunity to show whether it is serious about tackling the rampant abuses of consumers in the ticket marketplace.” 

The National Consumers League applauds Congressmen Pascrell and Pallone and Senator Blumenthal for their continued leadership on this issue and urge members of Congress to stand up and support this important consumer protection legislation. 

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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 www.nclnet.org.

National Consumers League announces winners of eighth annual Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge

June 13, 2019

Contest saw participation by 89 health profession schools hosting 370+ events in 14 states, reaching 1.5 million consumers nationwide

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org or (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC — Today, the National Consumers League (NCL) and its partners announced the winners of the eighth annual Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge, a competition designed to engage health profession students and faculty across the nation by encouraging teams to develop creative initiatives to raise public awareness about the importance of medication adherence. This year’s winners are Pacific University School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy, Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, North East Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy (NEOMED), Touro University California College of Pharmacy, and the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy.   

The 2019 Medication Adherence Team Challenge is part of the national Script Your Future public awareness campaign coordinated by NCL with support from its partners and the Challenge sponsors—the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation, the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

“The Script Your Future Medication Adherence Team Challenge continues to be an innovative avenue for our future healthcare professionals to engage with their local communities,” said Executive Vice President and CEO at AACP Dr. Lucinda L. Maine. “The communications avenues utilized, resources shared, and events held in these communities provide essential information and strategies for patients to improve their medication adherence and ultimately their health outcomes.”

Medication non-adherence can lead to devastating health outcomes. Research shows that nearly one in five prescriptions go unfilled and half of all patients with chronic illnesses do not take their medication as prescribed. Poor medication adherence is attributed to more than one-third of medicine-related hospitalizations and at least 125,000 U.S. deaths each year. This phenomenon has led national health advocacy leaders to recognize poor medication adherence as a public health priority. Improved medication adherence leads to better health outcomes and reduced total healthcare costs, and it was for these reasons that NCL launched the Script Your Future awareness campaign in 2011. The Team Challenge was established as a way to extend campaign messages into medical and other schools of health professions, and to nurture adherence-minded values in future generations of professionals entering the workplace.

“Once again, we continue to be encouraged by the collaboration and creativity of the next generation of healthcare professionals and are honored to provide a platform in the Team Challenge that promotes an interprofessional approach to quality, adherence-minded care,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “The robust outreach the student teams conducted to promote medication adherence in their communities was not only impressive, but also highlighted the integral role the entire health professional team plays in achieving positive health outcomes.”

Top performing teams are honored with a National Award for overall outstanding team achievement, or a Focused Award, which recognizes achievement in the specific areas of health disparity/under-represented community outreach, media/communications outreach, or creative interprofessional team event. This year, the Script Your Future National Awards went to Pacific University School of Pharmacy and the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. University of Pittsburgh has reclaimed its 2016 title as a National Award winner, and this year marks the first National Award win for Pacific University, who was recognized as the Rookie Award winner last year. The focused awardees were: Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy (Health Disparities), Touro University College of Pharmacy (Media Outreach), and the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy (Creative Inter-professional Team Event). Finally, the Rookie Award—which recognizes an outstanding team in their first or second year of the Challenge—went to Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy.

“The Script Your Future Team Challenge is the perfect vehicle to inspire the imaginative thinking that is going to drive greater medication adherence, which in turn will produce better health outcomes, while lowering overall spending,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. “Pharmacists are clinically-trained medication experts. They should and do play a prominent role in this event. We applaud all the Script Your Future participants for their efforts and suspect that some of their ideas will gain traction with a larger audience going forward.”

This year, more than 3,800 future healthcare professionals and volunteers held more than 370 events in 14 states, directly counseled more than 12,000 patients, and exposed 1.5 million consumers nationwide to Script Your Future messaging. Since the Challenge began in 2011, more than 18,800 future healthcare professionals have directly counseled nearly 78,000 patients and reached nearly 26 million consumers.

“The Script Your Future Campaign provides an opportunity to engage student communities in developing collaborative, interprofessional teams to address medication non-adherence and improve population health. This initiative continues to advance patient care and foster collaboration all across the country. The NACDS Foundation is proud to be a part of this unique opportunity for students to share their talents and make a difference in their communities,” said NACDS Foundation President Kathleen Jaeger. 

“Pharmacists are medication experts, and nearly all Americans live within five miles of a community pharmacy. Yet, almost 50 percent of people prescribed medications for chronic diseases do not take their medication correctly. Pharmacist-provided care services help improve adherence and optimize the effects of prescription medications. The Medication Adherence Team Challenge increases awareness of the pharmacist’s role, promotes interdisciplinary care teams and, most importantly, helps patients,” said APhA CEO Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA.

The recognized schools, selected from dozens of applications and 89 participating educational institutions, are listed below.

National Challenge Award: Pacific University School of Pharmacy, Hillsboro, OR
Pacific University’s School of Pharmacy partnered with the University’s School of Graduate Psychology, School of Audiology, School of Dental Hygiene, and College of Optometry, as well as several local initiatives, to sponsor six individual events, in addition to an ongoing partnership with a primary care clinic. Pacific University’s Medication Adherence events centered around low-income communities, communities of color, and engaging interprofessional peers. Throughout the Team Challenge, the Pacific University students directly counseled 152 patients, reaching a total of 628 people, and distributed 700 wallet cards, by placing a focused effort to expand their physical and digital impression with social media and involvement in local initiatives. The team’s events included interprofessional presentations at psychology clinics, informative tabling events, outreach at an underserved primary clinic, and a complementary dental care event. Pacific University placed a great emphasis on cultural competency throughout its patient counseling efforts by addressing barriers to health literacy faced by patients of Hispanic and Vietnamese backgrounds.      

National Challenge Award: University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
The University of Pittsburgh’s interprofessional team consisted of the University’s School of Dental Medicine, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, School of Medicine, School of Public Health, School of Nursing, and School of Social Work. The University of Pittsburgh reached 2,387 people over the span of 70 events. During these events, the teams were able to directly counseling 2,107 patients, distributing about 400 wallet cards and securing 1,907 “I Will” Pledges. The team conducted outreach over an expansive media platform, amplifying medication adherence messaging across three different radio stations reaching approximately 125,000 listeners throughout the region. The University of Pittsburgh bolstered the multidisciplinary nature of their team by coordinating an interprofessional trivia night and forum. In addition, the team partnered with the nonprofit, Operation Better Block, to coordinate a health fair, providing point-of-care testing and healthcare counseling to 80+ attendees. In addition to fostering interprofessional collaboration, through a partnership with the Birmingham Free Clinic, the team was able to integrate Script Your Future messaging during patient intake and consultation.

National Challenge Award: Finalists
The following schools were named Finalists under the National Award category: Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy (LECOM), University of California-San Francisco School of Pharmacy, University of Charleston School of Pharmacy, University of the Sciences Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, West Virginia University School of Pharmacy, and Touro University California College of Pharmacy.

Rookie Award: Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy, in conjunction with the Wilkes University Passan School of Nursing, made an excellent debut in this year’s Team Challenge. The team’s activities included collaborating with local pharmacy organizations to advance diabetes, smoking cessation, and cardiovascular medication adherence efforts. The team expanded its outreach to church and nursing home settings across 10 events throughout the Challenge. A unique component of the team’s outreach included engaging 100+ scouts in the Generation RX and MedWise Scout Event, teaching children ages 11-17 of the importance of proper medication usage.

Rookie Award Finalist: Jefferson College of Pharmacy
Jefferson College of Pharmacy in Philadelphia also made a very strong showing in the Team Challenge as a first-time competitor.  

FOCUSED AWARDS
Health Disparities/Under-represented Community Outreach Award: Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy (NEOMED)
Pharmacy, medical, nursing practitioner, and optometry students from Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy (NEOMED) focused their health disparities-driven outreach to underserved populations with respiratory illness. In an effort to combat high smoking rates in their community, the team also placed a great emphasis on smoking cessation-related outreach efforts, teaching proper inhaler usage in patients with respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD. The team also expanded its outreach to middle and high school aged children to emphasize the value of adherence and respiratory health by demonstrating proper inhaler usage and technique.

Communication and Media Outreach Award: Touro University California College of Pharmacy
Touro University California College of Pharmacy has reclaimed its win from last year for the Media/Communications Outreach Award. Pharmacy, medicine, physician assistant, and nurse practitioner students collaborated to produce nine public service announcement videos across various social media platforms. The team used the diversity within their members to their advantage by catering messaging to reflect relevant issues affecting their patient populations. The team also expanded their reach to local newspapers to amplify the value of taking medications properly and in a timely manner.

Creative Inter-Professional Team Event Award: University of Charleston School of Pharmacy
The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy partnered with nursing, physician assistant, and health promotions students to organize multiple health fairs and Script Your Future events throughout the Charleston and southern West Virginia regions. The team’s health promotions students worked closely with the School of Pharmacy in the implementation of Generation Rx and Rex the Rx™ prevention programs in over 40 local elementary schools. The interprofessional team also organized an episode on the University’s Blog Talk Radio series that was hosted by students from the pharmacy, nursing, and PA programs. The Blog Talk Radio episode reached an estimated 12,500 listeners and focused on the unique role each member of the healthcare team has in the management of chronic diseases.

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About Script Your Future
Launched in 2011, Script Your Future is a campaign of the National Consumers League (NCL), a private, non-profit membership organization founded in 1899. NCL’s mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. As an advocacy organization, NCL is working to educate consumers and key health stakeholders on the importance of taking medication as directed. For more information about the Script Your Future campaign, visit ScriptYourFuture.org. For more information on NCL, please visit nclnet.org.

JPMorgan Chase wants to deny cardholders’ access to justice

June 10, 2019

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DCThe National Consumers League (NCL), America’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, is calling on the leadership of JPMorgan Chase to reverse its decision to reinstate anti-consumer arbitration clauses affecting 47 million customers. The following statement is attributable to NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

“Chase’s decision to turn back the clock to the late 2000’s is one that will deny tens of millions of cardholders the right to their day in court. Chase should be better than this. If requiring customers to go to arbitration is ‘faster, less expensive with better outcomes,’ as Chase claims, why require cardholders to opt out to avoid these arbitration clauses? The company should instead give customers some incentive to opt in to arbitration if they so choose. The truth is that companies like Chase know that by requiring customers to waive their rights to access the courts, corporate wrong-doing will go unchecked. We call on JPMorgan Chase to reverse its decision and do right by its customers.”

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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 www.nclnet.org.

JPMorgan Chase wants to deny cardholders’ access to justice

June 10, 2019

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DCThe National Consumers League (NCL), America’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, is calling on the leadership of JPMorgan Chase to reverse its decision to reinstate anti-consumer arbitration clauses affecting 47 million customers. The following statement is attributable to NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

“Chase’s decision to turn back the clock to the late 2000’s is one that will deny tens of millions of cardholders the right to their day in court. Chase should be better than this. If requiring customers to go to arbitration is ‘faster, less expensive with better outcomes,’ as Chase claims, why require cardholders to opt out to avoid these arbitration clauses? The company should instead give customers some incentive to opt in to arbitration if they so choose. The truth is that companies like Chase know that by requiring customers to waive their rights to access the courts, corporate wrong-doing will go unchecked. We call on JPMorgan Chase to reverse its decision and do right by its customers.”

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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 www.nclnet.org.

JPMorgan Chase wants to deny cardholders’ access to justice

June 10, 2019

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DCThe National Consumers League (NCL), America’s pioneering consumer and worker advocacy organization, is calling on the leadership of JPMorgan Chase to reverse its decision to reinstate anti-consumer arbitration clauses affecting 47 million customers. The following statement is attributable to NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

“Chase’s decision to turn back the clock to the late 2000’s is one that will deny tens of millions of cardholders the right to their day in court. Chase should be better than this. If requiring customers to go to arbitration is ‘faster, less expensive with better outcomes,’ as Chase claims, why require cardholders to opt out to avoid these arbitration clauses? The company should instead give customers some incentive to opt in to arbitration if they so choose. The truth is that companies like Chase know that by requiring customers to waive their rights to access the courts, corporate wrong-doing will go unchecked. We call on JPMorgan Chase to reverse its decision and do right by its customers.”

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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 www.nclnet.org.

NCL applauds USP for new and revised compounding standards

Every day, thousands of consumers in the United States—including those with rare diseases or allergies to commercially available drugs—rely on specially and individually made medicines known as compounded drugs. Compounding is critically important for patients but, if done improperly, this process can pose significant risks to patients and healthcare workers alike. Patients could—and have—received contaminated drugs or preparations that are subpotent, contaminated, or super-potent. Healthcare workers, in turn, can face risks of exposure to hazardous drugs.

A stark example is the 2012 series of medical errors that resulted in the contamination of compounded medicines, which in turn caused a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak in the United States—killing more than 70 people and causing more than 750 cases of infection in 20 states.

To reduce these public health risks, Congress and other policymakers have swung into action. Today, compounding requires universal standards that advance public health and patient safety priorities. A key player in this is the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), a scientific non-governmental standards-setting organization, which recently published new and revised compounding standards to help produce consistent quality compounded medicines and ensure that patients receive medicines that are the right strength, quality, and free of contaminants.

These updated standards reflect the latest advancements in science and clinical practice, and incorporate input from thousands of stakeholders in the medical and public health community—patients, healthcare practitioners, policymakers, academicians, and industry. The standards complement robust implementation of existing laws intended to ensure quality compounded products with the goal of protecting the safety of patients.

Consumers have an important role to play as we roll out the new guidelines for quality compounding and implementation of the new USP standards:

  • If you receive compounded medicines through your pharmacist or healthcare provider, report any resulting adverse events to your healthcare provider.
  • Sign up for FDA email alerts on safe compounding.
  • Remember to always contact your healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about your health.

NCL is encouraged to see that the revised USP standards are consistent with FDA guidances. We applaud the efforts of FDA and USP to collaborate with the public health community to help protect patient safety.

Meatpacking workers, consumers safeguarded by House measure to overhaul pork line speed rule

June 5, 2019

Amendment blocks the USDA from issuing final rule on swine inspection, pending OIG study to support food safety rules

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC The National Consumers League (NCL) is commending Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and David Price (D-NC) for teaming up to offer an amendment to delay the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s misguided and hazardous proposed rule to strip all speed limits at pig slaughterhouses and to force transparency around its flawed process. The removal of limits could allow slaughterhouses to handle a mind-boggling 1,300 or more pigs per hour and risk improper stun-gunning of livestock in the rush to process them quickly, endangering workers’ safety, public health, and animal welfare.

“Even at current line speeds, pork slaughter and processing workers face many job risks that can lead to severe injury, illness, and death. Meatpacking workers in hog slaughter plants work in cold, wet, noisy, and slippery conditions, making tens of thousands of forceful repetitive motions on each shift. Meatpacking workers are injured at 2.4 times the rate of other industries and they face illness rates at 17 times the rate of other industries,” wrote members of Congress in a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. The proposed rule would also turn over inspection responsibilities to company employees, allow slaughterhouses to define their own microbiological criteria for food safety performance, and usher in comprehensive reforms to longstanding inspection practices without a reliable means of evaluating their efficacy.

The “modernization” of the Swine Slaughter Inspection System will not lead to safer food. Eliminating line speed limits makes it harder for federal meat inspectors and workers in plants to do their jobs. Ultimately, this means it will be less safe for consumers to eat pork.

The amendment blocks funding for implementation of the rule until the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducts an investigation of all data used by the USDA to develop the proposal. Previously, this data, including worker-safety data was not publicly disclosed until after the closure of the public review and comment period for the proposed rule. The Amendment mandates that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service fully address and resolve the issues raised by the OIG before the funding hold can be lifted.

NCL is deeply grateful for the leadership of Reps. DeLauro and Price and wishes for the Senate to sustain this vital amendment.

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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 www.nclnet.org.