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[e-drug] Calls on Pharma to Disclose Educational and Charitable Funding

E-DRUG: Calls on Pharma to Disclose Educational and Charitable Funding

For Immediate Release,  
July 26, 2007   

Contact: Robert Weissman or Sarah Rimmington,
          Essential Action, 202-387-8030


Big pharmaceutical companies should disclose all of their charitable and 
educational grants and gifts, a broad coalition of dozens of public 
health and consumer organizations worldwide urged today.

"There is quite extensive evidence that pharmaceutical industry 
charitable and educational grants have been abused to influence public 
health and public policy decisions improperly," the public health 
coalition asserted in a letter sent to the largest pharmaceutical 
companies and industry trade associations.

Among the signers of the letter are: Essential Action, the American 
Public Health Association, Families USA, Health Action International 
regional hubs in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America, Oxfam 
International and Public Citizen.

"Big Pharma has used its charitable and educational funding to influence 
key public policy debates, affect doctors' prescribing decisions, and 
over-promote diseases and drug treatments," says Robert Weissman, 
director of Essential Action. "Disclosure of industry funding of think 
tanks, patient groups, and continuing education courses doesn't cure 
this problem, but it is a start." The Washington, DC-based Essential 
Action promotes pharmaceutical industry transparency and organized the 

Pharmaceutical industry charitable and educational contributions have 
received special attention in the United States because of widespread 
abuse of continuing medical education courses. Purportedly educational 
programs sponsored by industry may improperly promote drugs, including 
for off-label uses.

Independent consumer groups around the world have repeatedly found 
industry-funded patient groups promoting particular medicines, and 
industry-friendly public policies, without sufficient regard for safety 

Public health organizations have also repeatedly confronted 
industry-allied think tanks and advocacy groups that advance 
industry-favored policies -- for example, in op-ed pieces -- without 
disclosing their industry ties.

In May, one major company, Eli Lilly, began publishing its charitable 
and educational contributions in the United States. The public health 
coalition letter urges the other companies to follow Lilly's lead, on a 
global basis.

The full text of the public health coalition letter and list of 
signatories is available at: <www.pharmadisclose.org>. 

Also available at <www.pharmadisclose.org> is an  extensive collection of news 
stories documenting problems associated with pharmaceutical industry charitable 
and educational giving.

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