By Emily Kopp
Kaiser Health News
High-profile advocacy groups for patients with cancer, Alzheimer’s, HIV and other diseases almost always accept funding from pharmaceutical firms, and many fail to report any contributions, new research shows.
At least 83 percent of the nation’s 104 largest patient advocacy groups take contributions from the drug, medical device and biotech industries, raising questions about whether they consistently put patients first, according to a paper published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“If you’re a policymaker and you want to hear from patients, there’s a danger if there’s an undisclosed or underdisclosed conflict of interest,” said Matthew McCoy, the paper’s primary author. “The ‘patient’ voice is speaking with a pharma accent.”
Of the 18 nonprofits not reporting pharmaceutical money, all but five failed to disclose their donors at all. Just one of the 104 nonprofits stated explicitly that it does not accept industry money.
Executives or former executives in the pharmaceutical industry serve on a third of the organizations’ boards, the researchers found.
These possible conflicts of interest are troubling, experts say, because while patients and drugmakers both want better treatments, they often have opposing goals. [Read more…] about Patient advocacy groups rake in donations from pharma