Living well Your Health & Wellness

Which advocacy groups can you trust?

Written by Diane Archer

You might think you can trust advocacy groups with names like “Alliance for Patient Access” to represent your interests. But, it would be a mistake to do so. Many of them are industry fronts and many others of them depend enough on health care and pharmaceutical companies for their funding that they are not prepared to challenge these companies on behalf of consumers or patients.

Health New Review explains how people can determine whether a group that sounds like a patient or consumer group truly represents consumer interests, and why it is important to uncover the truth. The two key questions they advise asking are who is in control of the organization and who supports the organization financially. If you don’t ask these questions–and many journalists, let alone consumers, do not–you would not know that, for example, the Alliance for Patient Access is a pharmaceutical industry group.

As it turns out, more than half of patient advocacy groups report that they take money from pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies and/or biotech companies. And four in ten say they have a corporate executive on their board of directors. Often that means they are silent on the high cost of prescription drugs or on legislative solutions that would rein in drug prices and make health care more affordable for Americans.

A recent research paper in the New England Journal of Medicine found that virtually all disease organizations are beholden to the health care and/or pharmaceutical industries, including the American Heart Association, the Americans Diabetes Association, the American Cancer Society. They get significant industry money for research, and they are often governed by industry executives. In return, they are silent on the cost of treatment and do not represent patient interests.

So, before you trust advice from any organization that claims to be representing your interests, find out where its funding comes from and who’s in charge. You can learn about Just Care here.

Here’s more from Just Care:

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1 Comment

  • This subject matter and other informative, not widely known perspectives and facts, are covered brilliantly in a new documentary (available on Netflix) called “What the Health”.

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