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Consumer issues
Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:51pm
Thu Feb 6

Consumer And Immigrant Rights Advocates Meet With FTC, Lawmakers To Press For Federal Probe Into Herbalife

Consumer and immigrant rights advocates from across the country traveled to Washington D.C. on Wednesday to call for a federal investigation into Herbalife International, Inc., a multi-level marketing company they claim is running an illegal pyramid scheme.

“This is not the American dream,” said 68 year-old Miguel Calderon, who claims he lost more than $22,000 within 18 months of investing in Herbalife in 2008. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:10pm
Tue Oct 22, 2013

Consumer Advocates Want An End To Prescription Drug ‘Pay-For-Delay’ Deals

People in Illinois with various medical conditions have had to fork over 10 times more on average than what’s necessary for at least 20 brand name drugs, according to a report from Illinois PIRG and Community Catalyst.

Costs for these 20 drugs, including Lipitor and Cipro, were kept high, because brand name pharmaceutical companies paid generic makers to keep cheaper versions off the market for a time. These agreements are known as “pay for delay.”

“It’s outrageous that drug companies are paying off the competition to keep prices high,” said Illinois PIRG State Director Brian Imus in a statement. “Because of this, people in Illinois pay inflated drug prices, or go without necessary medication. This needs to stop.” Read more »

Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
5:37pm
Thu Sep 19, 2013

Hearing On The Pros & Cons Of Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods Sparks Intense Debate

Lourdes Garcia is resolute in her belief that genetically modified foods sickened her two small children.

“They had allergies, ADHD and the baby had a tumor,” said Garcia, a native of Brazil who has lived in Chicago for 20 years. “I had to just find out what the problem was, and that’s when I started doing research”

That research led her to genetically modified organisms or GMOs, which she believes contributed to her children’s poor health. So she changed the family’s diet, opting for more organic foods instead. Over time, her children’s health improved.

“All the health problems they had no longer exist,” Garcia said of her sons, now 14 and 19. “To me, food was food, and all the food was good. But I was wrong.”

Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:56pm
Fri Aug 9, 2013

Northern Illinois Light Brigade Puts ALEC In The Spotlight

A few dozen activists and members of the Northern Illinois Light Brigade gathered near the Palmer House Hilton Thursday evening in an effort to shine some light, literally, on the pro-corporate and conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Thursday was day two of ALEC's 40th annual three-day conference, which is being held at the downtown hotel this week.

The light brigade illuminated large letter signs that read "Fight To End ALEC," and other slogans. The signs drew attention from curious people on the street as well as looks from likely ALEC members as they made their way in and out of the Palmer House.

Activist Bill Weiss, a Kirkland, Illinois resident, said ALEC creates legislation that hurts average people while filling the pockets of big corporations.

"As long as ALEC is allowed to continue to write our laws for us, they’re never going to be laws for the people," Weiss said. "They're always going to be laws for the corporations, and we can’t let that happen.” Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
11:51am
Wed Jul 17, 2013

Consumer Advocates Demand Congress End Farm Bill Subsidies To Food Additive Production, Corporate Farms

If lawmakers are interested in cutting costs during the 2013 reauthorization of the farm bill, they should reduce wasteful spending on subsidies that support processed food additives and already profitable agribusiness corporations, according to members of the consumer advocacy group, U.S. PIRG.

“The way our subsidies are distributed right now is a strong example of how skewed our system is,” said Dani Neuharth-Keusch, assistant community outreach director for Illinois PIRG, who spoke at a press conference Tuesday to release the nationwide research group’s new report, “Apples to Twinkies 2013.”

Federally subsidized crop insurance is intended to help farmers manage the risk inherent to their business. According to the report, the current farm bill, enacted in 2008, fails to “appropriately direct federal dollars” with subsidies that “mirror a pattern of special interest influence.”

“We need to push back against subsidies skewed toward big agribusiness and inadequate subsides for fresh produce,” said Neuharth-Keusch. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
9:48am
Mon Jul 8, 2013

Consumer Advocates Highlight Need For Savings Account Programs For Low-Income Americans

Automatically transferring a small amount of money into a basic savings account every month is the easiest and most effective way for low- to moderate-income individuals to save money, according to a recent report by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).

“It’s so very important to build up savings, even if it’s just couple hundred, and park it for emergencies,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the CFA, and author of the report, “Savings Accounts: Their Characteristics and Usefullness.” Read more »