New York Times, March 1, 2017
Katie Thomas

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The nation’s largest patient advocacy groups are on the front lines of some of the biggest health care debates, from the soaring costs of prescription drugs to whether new medicines are being approved quickly enough.

But while their voices carry weight because they represent the interests of sick patients, a new study has found that more than 80 percent of them accept funding from drug and medical-device companies. For some groups, the donations from industry accounted for more than half of their annual income, and in nearly 40 percent of cases, industry executives sit on governing boards, according to the study, which is published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Nearly “nine out of every 10 are taking money,” said Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, an oncologist and vice provost at the University of Pennsylvania. He is one of the authors of the study, which looked at the top 104 nonprofit patient advocacy groups that reported more than $7.5 million in annual revenues for 2014. “I think that is not well known — I think that is a shock.” [...]

bioethics health care finance pharmaceuticals public health regulation