NEW REPORT: PHARMA FUNDS 80% OF “PATIENT ADVOCACY” GROUPS

 In News, Pharma

NEW REPORT: PHARMA FUNDS 80% OF “PATIENT ADVOCACY” GROUPS — How corrupt is the healthcare system so many people put blind faith into? Pharma money goes very far, including partly funding at least 80% of so-called patient advocacy groups.
Yes, you read that right. The “patient” groups that are so active in the media and with state and federal lawmakers. They are silently and subtly pushing an agenda and helping Pharma and NOT the patients.
Don’t trust what you hear, read and watch without really researching what you are putting into your body and weighing the risks. Most often, real health has nothing to do with the so-called “health”care system so many people rely on.
#LearnTheRisk #naturalHEALTH #realHEALTHnotpharmaWEALTH
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More Than 80 Percent of Patient Groups Accept Drug Industry Funds, Study Shows

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.”

Dr. Emanuel, who previously advised President Obama on health care, said patient groups were far less transparent about conflicts of interest than medical researchers, who are now pushed to disclose ties to the drug and device industries when they write articles and make public appearances.

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“Compared to what researchers are doing, this is pathetic,” he said. And yet “they wrap themselves in white as if they’re pure.”

Patient groups said they have taken steps in recent years to improve their financial disclosures and conflict-of-interest policies, and rejected the suggestion that they were influenced by their corporate donors.

“Patient advocacy organizations are driven by their missions — putting patients first,” said Marc M. Boutin, the chief executive of the National Health Council, an umbrella group for patient-advocacy groups. “To say otherwise negates the extraordinary work achieved by these organizations on behalf of their patients.” The health council had previously said that pharmaceutical companies accounted for 62 percent of the council’s $3.5 million budget in 2015.

The study also found a wide disparity in how the groups disclose the donations, making it difficult for members of the public to know how significant the industry funding is. The study authors gathered their data by examining the websites of the nonprofit groups, as well as their tax filings and annual reports from 2014.

The researchers pointed to the National Hemophilia Foundation as one group that is vague about its funding because, although it lists corporate donors, it only discloses donation ranges. Drug makers contributed a range from $8.5 million to $14 million of the group’s $16.8 million annual budget in 2014, the year researchers studied. Its top donors, Baxter, Biogen and Novo Nordisk, make products used by people with hemophilia; each donated between $2 million and $3 million, the researchers said.

The American Diabetes Association, by contrast, reported receiving more than $28 million in industry funding in 2014, or about 15 percent of its budget, but provided detailed disclosures of which companies donated, and how much, the study authors said.

In a statement, the hemophilia foundation said it never allows its corporate sponsors to influence its decision-making, and that it also does not endorse specific products or favor certain companies. It declined to provide precise dollar amounts of contributions from companies, saying that the foundation complied with “accepted financial reporting standards.”

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