January 17, 2017
(STAT News) – At a time when drug company lobbyists are widely vilified as icons of avarice, patient advocacy groups still wear the white hats. But those organizations, which promote cures for every type of cancer and hundreds more diseases, have come under criticism lately for favoring their drug company funders in contests on Capitol Hill. In one case, a diabetes group accepted money from food companies and played down the health risks from their high-sugar products; in another case, a mental health association, reliant on drug company dollars, opted to keep quiet about the soaring prices of its antidepressants. And many of the patient advocacy groups pushing for passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which consumer groups argue rolls back patient protection, are funded in large part by pharmaceutical firms.