Essential Action: Health Coalition Calls on Pharma To Disclose Educational and Charitable Funding
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 26, 2007
CONTACT: Essential Action
Robert Weissman or Sarah Rimmington, Essential Action,
Health Coalition Calls on Pharma To Disclose Educational and Charitable
WASHINGTON - JULY 26 - 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
The full text of the public health coalition letter and list of
signatories is available here. Also available at
is an extensive collection of news stories
documenting problems associated with pharmaceutical industry charitable
and educational giving.