Share this site! The Safe Patient Project is a Consumers Union campaign focused on eliminating medical harm, improving FDA oversight of prescription drugs and promoting disclosure laws that give information to consumers about health care safety and quality.


Americans have suffered and lost their lives because they are not given ALL information about risks by either manufacturers or the FDA. Pharmaceutical companies should be accountable for safety problems, and not keep drug risks hidden from the public. Medical device companies should respond to malfunctioning implants.

Consumers Union Documents

Consumers Union News Releases

Blog Posts

  • We’re live blogging at Selling Sickness!

    Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project is here in DC at the Selling Sickness conference, and we’ll be live blogging speaker panels while we’re here. Just come back to this page to see our live updates.

  • Heartbreaking news: Child discovers 2nd recall connected to her defibrillator

    9-year-old child, Avery de Groh, faces a scary situation: having a recalled defibrillator which the family found out by accident. This is the second time that Avery’s family has been affected by a recalled defibrillator. Last year, Avery’s mother, Molly, shared her daughter’s story about how she was shocked by a defective defibrillator at age three and thought monsters were attacking her. Her device was later recalled by the manufacturer.

  • Advocates share medical device dangers in presentation at University of Texas

    Medical device safety advocates, Lana Keeton and Joleen Chambers, share their personal stories of medical device harm and the need to be informed, in a presentation at the University of Texas in Austin.

  • Selling Sickness conference is putting “People Before Profits”

    We are thrilled to co-sponsor and attend the upcoming Selling Sickness conference in Washington DC, co-organized by long-time drug safety advocate Kim Witczak.

  • Holiday in the hospital? Stay safe!

    If you have to enter a hospital over the holidays, we have some advice on how to stay safe in there.

News Articles

  • Double Dip: Doctors Paid to Advise, Promote Drug Companies That Fund Their Research
    Source: ProPublica (Tuesday March 25, 2014)

    Research has been seen as less objectionable than other forms of interactions with drug companies, but 10 percent of researchers have multiple ties among the nine companies ProPublica analyzed. That raises questions about doctors’ impartiality.

  • Is All That Rambling Too Confusing?? Fda Thinks So.
    Source: Selling Sickness (Friday March 21, 2014)

    Kim Witczak, co-founder of the US Selling Sickness conference says: “Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs shouldn’t be allowed, but since it is, I believe that the warnings should be strengthened, not reduced.”

  • Inappropriate antibiotic use in emergency rooms not decreasing in adults
    Source: Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. (Thursday January 9, 2014)

    “An analysis of emergency room (ER)visits over a 10-year period finds that while inappropriate antibiotic use is decreasing in pediatric settings, it continues to remain a problem in adults, according to an article published ahead of print in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.” Inappropriate antibiotic use can lead to the development of antibiotic resistance.

  • Hoping for Financial Compensation, Safer Drugs from Big Pharma in 2014
    Source: Drug Watch Radio (Thursday January 2, 2014)

    Drug Watch Radio includes CU’s Safe Patient Project campaign in its New Year’s wish list. You can listen to our interview on Drug Watch Radio here:

  • In A Major Shift, Medicare Wants Power to Ban Harmful Prescribers
    Source: ProPublica (Monday January 6, 2014)

    ProPublica reports that Medicare has issued a proposed rule that would give the agency the “authority to kick out physicians and other providers who engage in abusive prescribing. It could also take such action if providers’ licenses have been suspended or revoked by state regulators or if they were restricted from prescribing painkillers and other controlled substances.”

Research and Reports

  • 2014-2015 Targeted Medication Safety Best Practices for Hospitals
    Source: ISMP (Thursday December 12, 2013)

    Institute for Safe Medication Practices report on medication safety best practices for hospitals.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (April 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Sunday March 31, 2013)

    Summary by John James: “Changes are long overdue in American healthcare as pointed out by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council in their new book “The US health Disadvantage Relative to Other High-income Countries.” My first newsletter article attempts to summarize this report. In the second article I discuss the risks associated with sleeping pills. The third article considers legislation that often has collateral damage. The fourth involves one doctor’s view of how he was led into care that was not patient centered. My next two articles deal with mental health: 1) As we age, we all fear the loss of mental capabilities, but a new study has linked mid-life fitness with a reduction in the risks of dementia. 2) Young people often do not have access to mental health facilities as pointed out by experts writing in the JAMA. The next articles deal with unintended death from pharmaceuticals and with loss of confidence in drug companies. The newsletter concludes with a short piece on the vanishingly small value of robotic surgery for those who might need a hysterectomy.”

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (March 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Monday March 4, 2013)

    John James, Ph.D., Patient Safety America: “This month I’ve tried to put some important things in perspective for you. Ben Goldacre’s book called “Bad Pharma,” which I reviewed, is a worth-while read. Gun violence is compared with “medical violence” as far as they affect our children’s lives. The cheap, effective medical care received in Cuba is summarized as a lesson for us, and then I pound on the dangers of drugs and the unstoppable overpricing of medical care in our country. Finally, you’ll learn what post-hospital syndrome is and how to manage it to remain out of the hospital.”

  • FDA Safety Communication: Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants
    Source: FDA (Thursday January 17, 2013)

    Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Safety Communication on metal-on-metal hip implants which includes recommendations on imaging a patient with a metal-on-metal hip implant.

  • NEJM Perspective: The 510(k) Ancestry of a Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant
    Source: New England Journal of Medicine (Thursday January 10, 2013)

    Using FDA documents obtained from the agency’s database and Freedom of Information Office, authors traced the ancestry of the ASR XL back more than five decades, through a total of 95 different devices (including femoral stems), including 15 different femoral heads and sleeves and 52 different acetabular components (see figure, and the interactive graphic, available with the full text of this article at