How does industry funding impact patients?
The pharmaceutical industry seems to have a part in every area of medicine.
Funding from pharmaceutical companies goes to doctors, patient advocacy organizations, and health policy committees. When these groups receive industry money, it can create a conflict of interest between what's best for large companies, and what's best for patients.
This can make a difference for your health, and shape how health policy impacts you.
Having the patients voice represented in medical research, education, policy, and practice, assures that the best interest of those who are actually receiving treatment, is not forgotten.
New Research Finds Industry Funding in Majority of Patient Advocacy Organizations
Patient advocacy organizations provide counseling, advocacy, and education for patients, as well as engage in policy advocacy, and shape research agendas. While doing that, these organizations still receive funding from large pharmaceutical, device, and biotechnology, industries.
What is the nature of this funding? Well, most advocacy organizations receive money from industry, even if they are a not for profit.
Research published in the JAMA Medical Journal shows that "More than two-thirds of patient advocacy organizations that responded to a survey indicated that they had received industry funding in their last fiscal year."
Authors of this study call for more transparency from Patient Advocacy Organizations, and stress the need for these groups to remain independent from the industry which they receive funding from. Not doing so would jeopardize patients' rights in their health care.
An example of this concern, is when prices rose for the cost of an allergy treatment EpiPen, patient advocacy groups stayed mostly silent.
Tweets from Physicians Lack Transparency
The reach of industry funding even extends to social media.
Doctors and health professionals are starting to use Twitter more and more as a means to communicate with other physicians, patients, researchers, and other interested parties.
A research letter on Health Care Reform in the JAMA Journal analyses tweets from Hematologists-Oncologists who are active twitter users.
The research finds that a sizeable percentage are tweeting about drugs that they have specific ties to. Yet, there is no requirement for financial conflict of interests to be disclosed on social media by these users.
Financial Conflict of Interests Can Harm Patients
These financial conflict of interests go beyond Twitter.
ProPublica illustrates, "Organizations that received funding from opioid manufacturers were less supportive of guidelines proposed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to limit prescribing of the drugs for chronic pain."
As some people are all too aware, increasing opioid prescriptions for pain, has led to increases in addiction, and overdose deaths in the United States.
Dangerous Drugs and Failed Medical Devices Information
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