Conflict of Interest Capos Reveal Their Bias

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  • 06/20/2008
The Prescription Project released a survey this week claiming that a majority to disclose of gifts and payments to physicians.  Of course, what the poll didn’t ask (and maybe drugwonks will ask the question) if doctors should be jailed or sued for taking a pizza or if people really think doctors are brainwashed by pens and cups or that academics who are on retainer to trial attorneys who sue drug companies should do it…) 

Which leads to my next point.

Hardly a chirp from the conflict of interest capos regarding the following:

The biases of the Prescription Project, namely being packed full with the usual suspects: those who are already behind the effort to extend government regulation of marketing, development, review and prescribing of medicines as well as congressional legislation to overturn FDA pre-emption.  I guess a conflict only occurs when an academic researcher partners with pharmaceutical scientists….

Well since neither pharmalot, Carlat or Healthcarerenewal have the intellectual integrity to do so, here are the people associated with The Prescription Project and their “biases”:

Robert Restuccia, Executive Director

Restuccia is also executive director of Community Catalyst, Inc. a left wing advocacy group.  Community Catalyst runs the Prescriptin Access Litigation Project which has “been involved in 26 class action lawsuits challenging drug industry tactics to illegally raise the price of prescription drugs.”  PAL receives money from these settlements.  One of the law firms that was representing PAL is the now discredited Milberg Weiss law firm that pled guilty in a multi-million dollar kickback case.  And the conflict of interest capos like playing connect the dots?

David J. Rothman, Associate Director

President of the Institute on Medicine as a Profession which receives funding from George Soros and which has repeatedly called for bans on gifts and grants to physicians from industry.  Rothman is also a mover and shaker behind the increasingly shrill attacks from Association of American Medical Colleges, writing editorials on behalf of articles written by AAMC staff in JAMA on the evils of industry-academia associations.

It turns out that the Greenwall Foundation – which supports Rothman – has a certain Troye Brennan on its board.  That’s the same Troyen Brennan who co-authors work with Rothman and collaborates with him on projects.

Advisers of the Prescription Project include

Jerry Avorn Chief of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women's Hospital

Avorn has his own for profit academic detailing business that has a contract with the state of Pennsylvania.  He stands to benefit from any ban or cutback by a reduction in industry sponsored CME.

Steven Nissen, M.D. Immediate Past President of the American College of Cardiology

Need I say more?

Cathy DeAngelis, M.D. Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association

Is it ethical for the editor of a major medical journal to be part of an advocacy organization, particulary one that is associated with litigation for pay purposes? 

Sharon Levine, M.D.  Associate Executive Director of Kaiser Permanente

Levine is in charge of Kaiser Permanente North.  PP fails to disclose that Levine believes that it is just fine to use formularies and co-pays to limit utilization of drugs even though evidence has clearly shown a decline in utilization is associated with discontinuities in treatment. 

Stephen Schondelmeyer, Pharm.D., Ph.D. Department Chair of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy

Schondelmeyer has long been a recipient of funding from generic drug companies and the generic drug trade group.  He is also a consultant to PAL and trial attorneys.  Though chair of a college of pharmacy, he has been lead author of only one article  published in a peer-reviewed professional publication in the past 20 years:  "Pharmacists' compensation and work patterns, 1990-91."


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.

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