Consumer Protection

News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

New Report Documents a Decade of Safety Violations by Compounding Pharmacies

The contaminated drug that caused last fall’s fungal meningitis outbreak and killed 55 people is just the tip of the iceberg of an industry-wide problem, according to a new report released today by Illinois PIRG. The meningitis outbreak was simply the latest and deadliest in a long line of errors and risky practices by compounding pharmacies.

Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Prescription for Danger

The fungal meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated steroid injections that killed 55 people to date and sickened more than 740 is one of the worst public health disasters the nation has seen in recent history. The tainted injections came from a drug manufacturer doing business as a “compounding pharmacy,” a classification which allowed them to evade the system of safety rules, inspections, and oversight that keep our drug supply safe. According to an analysis of warning letters sent to other compounding pharmacies by the FDA from 2002 to 2012, there is a long history of similar violations that have in many cases led to unnecessary illness, injury, and even death. 

The letters clearly show that compounding pharmacies have been exploiting loopholes in the regulatory system for at least a decade. This public health crisis starkly highlights the difference in how compounding pharmacies are regulated compared to pharmaceutical companies, and the need for reform. 
 

How the CTA can protect consumers

By

The new Ventra fare card system, set to be rolled out to CTA riders this summer, has left people with a lot of questions about whether the system will be a good deal for Chicagoans.  The CTA will have one of the first transit fare systems in the country to be linked to a prepaid debit card – a largely unregulated product that can make it easy for private banks to gouge consumers with hidden fees and unpredictable charges.  

Ventra is the new payment system for Chicago transit that will eventually allow customers to use a single fare card for regional transit throughout the Chicago area.  The new "Ventra Card" will include  the option of registering for a prepaid debit card - but you need to be careful.  This prepaid debit card can leave you on the hook for hidden fees and unpredictable charges.  

Ventra: What You Need to Know

Ventra is the new payment system for Chicago transit that will eventually allow customers to use a single fare card for regional transit throughout the Chicago area.  Unfortunately, the card comes linked to a prepaid debit card that could leave you on the hook for hidden fees and unpredictable charges.  To help keep you from getting ripped off, this resource includes:

  • What “Ventra” is
  • What will Change from the Current Fare System
  • Fees Associated with the New “Ventra” Transit Card
  • Fees Associated with the new Mastercard Prepaid Debit Card
  • Tips to Avoid Paying Fees
  • What You Should Know About Prepaid Debit Cards

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Looking out for consumers, from bank fees to toxic toys.

Report | Illinois PIRG | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland

The 2012 Trouble in Toyland report is the 27th annual Illinois Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) survey of toy safety. In this report, Illinois PIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.

Over the past twenty-seven years, the Illinois PIRG report has identified hazards in toys and children’s products that could cause acute injuries, from small parts that pose a choking hazard, to strangulation hazards from cords on pull toys, to laceration hazards from edges that are too sharp, to toxic hazards posed by chemicals in toys.  Our report has led to at least 150 recalls and other regulatory actions over the years, and has helped us educate the public and policymakers on the need for stronger public health and consumer safety standards and for stronger federal laws to protect children from unsafe products. This report continues to be an important endeavor in keeping children - particularly babies and toddlers - safe, as the majority of all injuries happen to children in the 0-2 age range.

News Release | Illinois PIRG | Consumer Protection

Survey Finds Dangerous Toys on Store Shelves

Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to Illinois Public Interest Research Group’s 27th annual Trouble in Toyland report.

News Release | Illinois PIRG | Consumer Protection

New Survey Shows Free Checking Widely Available At Small Banks But Banks Still Hiding Fees from Consumers

A survey of hundreds of banks and credit unions in 24 states and the District of Columbia found that free checking remains available at more than 6 out of 10 small banks and credit unions but was only found at one-quarter of surveyed big banks (those with over $10 billion in deposits). The survey released today by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group also revealed that fewer than half of branches surveyed obeyed their legal duty to fully disclose fees to prospective customers on the first request, while 12% provided no fee information at all. 

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