A new study has shown that cancer research foundations and patient advocacy groups aren’t as charitable as they might seem. In fact, most of them receive money or have strong ties with Big Pharma.
Each “charity” organization has an average of seven Big Pharma funders, according to the research carried out by Matthew Abola, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and Vinay Prasad, MD, from Oregon Health Science University.
The study was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, showing just how closely tied Big Pharma organizations and cancer “research” foundations are.
The only organization they studied that did not accept money from Big Pharma was Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
The biggest culprits turned out to be Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, who is funded by 19 drug companies, Lung Cancer Alliance, who is funded by 17 drug companies, Melanoma Research Alliance, who takes money from 16 drug companies, and Breastcancer.org who accepts money from 16 drug companies as well.
Dr. Prasad said that this means that companies advocate for drugs and expensive therapy that patients whom they are supposed to advocate for may not be able to afford. Prasad also says he feels they may even be concealing the high costs from patients purposefully:
“The one issue that patient advocates are most silent about is the crushing cost of cancer drugs. Advocating for drug approval means nothing if patients cannot afford the medication.”
“We need to pass in future health legislation a provision requiring all health-related 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups, and all patient advocacy organizations, to disclose all forms of revenue, akin to the sunshine act for doctors.”
Prasad says he feels that the drugs they are pushing on patients may actually be detrimental to the patient’s best interests. Instead, he says, they are pushing for the approval of toxic and expensive medication that is not easily accessible.
He also stated that nearly 25% of advocacy groups he researched do not disclose their relationship with pharmaceutical companies. This could mean that even more of these groups are taking money from drug companies than was estimated in the first instance.