Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a non-profit research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. According to Charity Navigator, the organization works for "compassionate and effective medical practice, research, and health promotion."[2]

FounderNeal D. Barnard[1]
FocusTo promote non-animal methods in research and education (opposition to animal testing) and a plant-based diet for disease prevention
  • Washington, D.C.

Campaigns edit

Healthy hospital food edit

The PCRM releases an annual report ranking the healthfulness of hospital food. It also encourages hospitals to replace fast food with more healthful options.[3] In January 2016, PCRM placed billboards that read "Eat more chickpeas" near hospitals with Chick-fil-As.[4] In May 2016, it spoke before the board of Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and erected billboards that read "Ask your local hospital to go #FastFoodFree."[5] In June 2016, Grady announced that its McDonald's was shutting down.[6]

2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans edit

When the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) announced in February 2015 that "cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption", the PCRM began working to keep cholesterol warnings in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.[7] In March 2015, Neal Barnard presented oral testimony at the National Institutes of Health,[8] stating: "for all its good work, the Committee made a scientific error on cholesterol and to carry this glaring mistake into the Guidelines is not scientifically defensible". In October 2015, the PCRM placed billboards reading "#CholesterolKills" near the Texas home offices of Agriculture Committee chairman K. Michael Conaway.[9][10] In January 2016, the PCRM filed a lawsuit alleging that the DGAC recommended dropping limits on dietary cholesterol,[11] motivated by industry pressure, according to documents recovered by the PCRM under the Freedom of Information Act.

The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released in January 2016, set no limit but recommended Americans "eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible" due to "the commonality of food sources of saturated fats and dietary cholesterol".[12] On March 23, 2016, Neal Barnard told The Washington Post that he liked that "the guidelines reinstated the advice to eat as little cholesterol as possible and finally called out a vegetarian eating pattern as one of three healthy options".[13] In 2021, the Committee sued USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and secretary for Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra after the release of the guidelines, alleging the government's nutritional and dietary guidelines intentionally use difficult language to promote eating unhealthy foods.[14] A federal judge in San Francisco dismissed the lawsuit in February 2023.[14]

Wayne State University dog experiments edit

Since 2011, the PCRM has urged Wayne State University to end its heart failure experiments on dogs. According to a 2015 review article by PCRM doctors in the American Journal of Translational Research: "insights gleaned from decades of animal-based research efforts have not been proportional to research success in terms of deciphering human heart failure and developing effective therapeutics for human patients".[15] In 2015, actor and Wayne State alumna Lily Tomlin joined the PCRM in urging Wayne State to end its dog experiments.[16] In September 2015, the PCRM placed billboards in Detroit that told the story of one of the dogs who died in the experiments.[17]

Ending medical school live animal laboratories edit

On June 30, 2016, The Washington Post reported that the University of Tennessee—the last remaining school to use animals—e-mailed the PCRM that "effective immediately, the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga has ceased to provide surgical skills training for medical students using live animal models".[18] Over the years, the Physicians Committee demonstrated and placed billboards leading to the decision.[19][20] The University of Tennessee's announcement followed the decision by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to end live animal use in its surgery-skills training. In 2014, PCRM members had demonstrated outside the university.[21] In February 2016, the PCRM worked with Maryland State Delegate Shane Robinson to introduce a bill to end the practice in Maryland.[22] On May 18, 2016, The Baltimore Sun reported that Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine would stop using live animals.[23]

Chemical testing edit

Since 2007, the PCRM has urged reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. On June 22, 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which contains language requiring chemical companies and the Environmental Protection Agency to replace and reduce animal tests and increase the use of human-relevant methods. The Physicians Committee supported passage of this law.[24]

Atkins Diet edit

The New York Times writes that, in 2004, the PCRM passed Robert Atkins's postmortem medical report to The Wall Street Journal. The report, obtained by Richard Fleming of the Fleming Heart and Health Institute, showed that Atkins himself had experienced heart attack, congestive heart failure, and weighed 258 pounds. Atkins supporters countered that there was no reason to suppose that his heart problem (cardiomyopathy) was diet-related, and that the PCRM had received the coroner's report in violation of federal law.[25]

Action against fast food edit

The organization's nutrition director in 2004, Amy Lanou criticized the U.S. Department of Agriculture for promoting high-fat, high-calorie products, such as certain brands of cookies and fast-food products.[26] Susan M. Levin, the PCRM's director of nutrition education, sent a letter in March 2009 to the minor league baseball team, the West Michigan Whitecaps, to object to a four-pound, 4,800-calorie hamburger on the team's concession-stand menu, and to ask that the team put a label on the burger indicating that it was a "dietary disaster".[27] The PCRM has also spoken out against the Las Vegas restaurant Heart Attack Grill.[28][29]

The Physicians Committee advertising campaign "I was lovin' it", a spoof of the McDonald's advertising slogan "I'm lovin' it", was used in a September 2010 advertising campaign encouraging consumers to adopt a vegetarian diet to avoid the health risks associated with the high levels of dietary fat, cholesterol, and sodium in McDonald's food. The campaign launched in the Washington, D.C., area showed a grieving woman in a morgue, as the camera circled around a middle-aged man draped in a white sheet and clutching a partially-eaten hamburger.[30] The group highlighted the high levels of fat and sodium in products such as the "Double quarter pounder with cheese extra value meal", which at the time contained 61 grams of fat and 1,650 milligrams of sodium.[31][32] The group chose Washington, D.C., as the first city for the campaign because it had the second-highest rate of deaths associated with heart disease.[33] McDonald's called the ad "outrageous, misleading and unfair", and encouraged customers "to put such outlandish propaganda in perspective, and to make food and lifestyle choices that are right for them." The National Restaurant Association called such ads misleading, saying that they unnecessarily focus on a single item to "distort the reality that the nation's restaurants are serving an increasing array of healthful menu choices."[30]

Reception edit

PCRM had in the past received donations from animal protection groups, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), as cited in 2004 by The Guardian.[34]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Wadman, Meredith (June 2006). "Profile: Neal Barnard". Nature Medicine. 12 (6): 602. doi:10.1038/nm0606-602. PMID 16760995. S2CID 12222673.
  2. ^ "Charity Navigator - IRS Data for Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine". Charity Navigator.
  3. ^ Scherer, Josh (March 21, 2015). "Doctors fight to ban fast food from hospitals—for good reason". TakePart. Participant Media. Archived from the original on May 4, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  4. ^ Sanborn, Beth Jones (April 18, 2016). "Hospitals face ad blitz over Chick-fil-A, other fast food in cafeterias". Healthcare Finance News. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  5. ^ Stafford, Leon. "Doctors' group to Grady: Dump McDonald's location". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  6. ^ Miller, Andy (June 24, 2016). "McDonald's at Grady closes amid complaints by doctor group". Georgia Health News. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  7. ^ "Part D. Ch 1: Food and nutrient intakes". Dietary Guidelines 2015 Advisory report. p. 2. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  8. ^ "Public Meeting - 2015 Advisory Report". Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  9. ^ Ayala, Christine (October 26, 2015). "Science's war on breakfast: First bacon, now eggs". Dallas News. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  10. ^ "Opening statement: Chairman Conaway: Development of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines". House Committee on Agriculture. October 7, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  11. ^ O'Connor, Anahad (January 7, 2016). "New dietary guidelines urge less sugar for all and less protein for boys and men". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 26, 2019.
  12. ^ U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Department of Agriculture (December 2015). 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Report) (8 ed.). pp. 32–34. Retrieved January 29, 2017. [I]ndividuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible while consuming a healthy eating pattern. In general, foods that are higher in dietary cholesterol, such as fatty meats and high-fat dairy products, are also higher in saturated fats. The USDA Food Patterns are limited in saturated fats, and because of the commonality of food sources of saturated fats and dietary cholesterol, the Patterns are also low in dietary cholesterol.
  13. ^ Warshaw, Hope (March 21, 2016). "What nutrition experts think is missing from the new Dietary Guidelines". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on April 5, 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Ribakoff, Sam. "Judge dumps challenge to federal dietary guidelines". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  15. ^ Chandrasekera, P. Charukeshi; Pippin, John J. (September 30, 2015). "The human subject: an integrative animal model for 21st century heart failure research" (PDF). American Journal of Translational Research. 7 (9): 1636–47. PMC 4626425. PMID 26550463. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 6, 2015.
  16. ^ Jesse, David (April 6, 2015). "Lily Tomlin urges end to animal research at Wayne State". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on April 7, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  17. ^ "Billboard targets WSU's use of dogs in research". The Detroit News. September 16, 2015. Archived from the original on October 13, 2015.
  18. ^ Fears, Darryl (June 30, 2016). "One last U.S. medical school still killed animals to teach surgery. But no more". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  19. ^ Johnson, Steve (October 2, 2015). "Protest at UT Health Science Center targets use of live pigs in medical training". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Archived from the original on October 15, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  20. ^ Belz, Kate (December 10, 2014). "Billboards decry Chattanooga medical program's use of live pigs". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Archived from the original on June 4, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  21. ^ Cohn, Meredith (August 21, 2014). "Hopkins medical school criticized for using pigs as part of training". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on September 29, 2018. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  22. ^ Cohn, Meredith. "Bill would prohibit Hopkins from using pigs to train doctors". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  23. ^ Cohn, Meredith (May 18, 2016). "Johns Hopkins medical students will no longer train on live animals". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  24. ^ Eilperin, Juliet. "Sweeping overhaul of nation's chemical-safety laws clears final legislative hurdle". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  25. ^ Kleinfield, N. r. (February 11, 2004). "Just What Killed the Diet Doctor, And What Keeps the Issue Alive?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  26. ^ Lanou, Amy (July 11, 2004). "Cookie Monsters: Oreo promotion puts USDA on wrong side of obesity fight". Tallahassee Democrat. Archived from the original on February 21, 2006. Retrieved January 16, 2011 – via the PCRM.
  27. ^ "Warning sought for monster burger". ESPN. Associated Press. March 31, 2009. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017.
  28. ^ O'Reiley, Tim (February 13, 2013). "Physicians panel lambastes Heart Attack Grill". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on March 9, 2013.
  29. ^ "D.C. group calls for closure of Heart Attack Grill". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. February 17, 2012. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017.
  30. ^ a b Wilson, Duff (September 16, 2010). "Doctors' Group Attacks McDonald's in TV Ad". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 7, 2011.
  31. ^ "Provocative commercial targets McDonald's high-fat fare". PCRM. September 14, 2010. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  32. ^ "'I was lovin' it' television ad enrages McDonald's". The Independent. Agence France-Presse. September 15, 2010. Archived from the original on September 18, 2010.
  33. ^ Jargon, Julie (September 14, 2010). "New Ad Targets McDonald's". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on February 28, 2015.
  34. ^ Doward, Jamie; Townsend, Mark (July 31, 2004). "Beauty and the beasts". The Guardian. Archived from the original on October 2, 2013.

External links edit