Patient For Affordable Drugs Founder Fails to Disclose Funding Source to FTC

  • by: Robert Goldberg |
  • 11/07/2017
David Mitchell, the fact-challenged founder of Patients for Affordable Drugs has never been one to spend more than a nanosecond with the truth when it comes to discussing the value of medical innovation. 

He also is allergic to being transparent about his background and funding. Either that or he is exceedingly modest.   Mitchell is speaking at an FTC meeting entitled, “Discussion: Potential Next Steps to Encourage Entry and Expand Access through Lower Prices."

Here's his bio for that event:

David has 40 years of experience working on health care and public health policy as a communications specialist. He has worked to reduce teen smoking, increase use of seat belts, to fight drunk driving and improve child health and safety. He helped build and run for more than 30 years GMMB—a cause-oriented, public policy communications firm in Washington, DC. He retired in 2016 to focus his full energy and attention on helping bring about policy change to lower drug costs. You can follow him on Twitter here. Email him at

Here's what he left out: 

Received nearly $60 million in federal contracts after Obama took office, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group.

$200 million from the Clinton campaign in 2016 and $389 million from the Obama campaign in 2012

$12 million from Phrma to run pro-Obamacare ads

Nearly $700 million to promote Obamcare enrollment. 

My favorite: $575K to run ads in Jewish news outlets in support of the Iran nuclear deal.

These tidbits are important because it provides some clues about why David would get $500K from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to set up a patient group. 

Indeed, it is curious that in his FTC bio, David left out important background information about his group.   Patients For Affordable Drugs claims it " is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs."

First, it is not independent.  It receives 87 percent of its funding from one source:  the aforementioned Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF).  Second, it cooperates and coordinates with other LJAF grantees including ICER and Harvard's Aaron Kesselheim.  ICER mind you have deemed most new cancer drugs marginally effective and too expensive despite evidence to the contrary.  Have you heard P4AD challenge ICER?  You haven't and you won't because they get cash from the same cow. Third, Mitchell's funding is never disclosed when media outlets that also receive LJAF money to run stories about drug prices quoting him.  That's deliberate. 

Further, it is NOT true that it is the only group pushing for lower drug prices.  On the contrary, many other patient organizations who, in addition to providing counseling, funding basic research and covering expenses for cancer patients, have pushed for policies that would reduce the time and cost of drug development and promote generic competition.  P4AD is silent on accelerating innovation at the FDA.  Moreover, while other groups have fought for caps on drug copays, the elimination of step therapy, passing rebates directly to patients, PFAD has paid lip service to these issues. 

It is simply a media outlet for dog whistle messaging about drug prices.  Mitchell loves to say he is grateful for medical innovation as a myeloma survivor.  But many would argue (including me) that the policies he is promoting have been proven to marginally reduce prices but substantially limit access and future innovations.  

Nobody disagrees with the goal of reducing health care costs and drug prices.  But P4AD is a hollow advocacy group that does nothing to advance FDA and reimbursement reforms to would make new medicines less expensive and more affordable.  By excluding the Arnold affiliation and GMMB's main revenue sources, David is trying to portray himself as a lonely crusader against big Pharma.   There's very little truth in that depiction. 


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

Blog Roll

Alliance for Patient Access Alternative Health Practice
Better Health
Biotech Blog
CA Medicine man
Cafe Pharma
Campaign for Modern Medicines
Carlat Psychiatry Blog
Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look
Conservative's Forum
Club For Growth
Diabetes Mine
Disruptive Women
Doctors For Patient Care
Dr. Gov
Drug Channels
DTC Perspectives
Envisioning 2.0
FDA Law Blog
Fierce Pharma
Fresh Air Fund
Furious Seasons
Gel Health News
Hands Off My Health
Health Business Blog
Health Care BS
Health Care for All
Healthy Skepticism
Hooked: Ethics, Medicine, and Pharma
Hugh Hewitt
In the Pipeline
In Vivo
Internet Drug News
Jaz'd Healthcare
Jaz'd Pharmaceutical Industry
Jim Edwards' NRx
Kaus Files
Laffer Health Care Report
Little Green Footballs
Med Buzz
Media Research Center
More than Medicine
National Review
Neuroethics & Law
Nurses For Reform
Nurses For Reform Blog
Opinion Journal
Orange Book
Peter Rost
Pharm Aid
Pharma Blog Review
Pharma Blogsphere
Pharma Marketing Blog
Pharmacology Corner
Pharmaceutical Business Review
Piper Report
Prescription for a Cure
Public Plan Facts
Real Clear Politics
Shark Report
Shearlings Got Plowed
Taking Back America
Terra Sigillata
The Cycle
The Catalyst
The Lonely Conservative
Town Hall
Washington Monthly
World of DTC Marketing
WSJ Health Blog