PharmedOut’s mission is to investigate the influence of pharmaceutical industry marketing on the practice of medicine; foster access to unbiased information on drugs; and create and promote pharma-free continuing medical education to providers.
PharmedOut’s vision is a nation in which there exists a strong firewall between the commercial interests of the pharmaceutical industry and the objectivity of medical literature, medical training, therapeutic decisions, and prescribing.
PharmedOut Accomplishments: The First 10 Years
PharmedOut, a project of Georgetown University Medical Center, exposes pharmaceutical industry marketing and foster evidence-based, cost-effective prescribing. We are the only group that critiques industry-invented and exaggerated conditions, including pseudobulbar affect (PBA), low testosterone (low-T), binge-eating disorder (BED), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). We are the only group studying industry influence on continuing medical education (CME). Originally launched for two years in 2007 by the Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Grant Program, PharmedOut is funded primarily by individual donations.
PharmedOut Published the First Studies On:
- Relationships between surgeons and medical device representatives (> 11,000 views)
- Pharmacists’ beliefs regarding pharmaceutical companies (> 11,000 views)
- How drug company representatives influence physicians (> 200,000 views)
- Promotional tone in industry-influenced articles (> 9,000 views)
- How companies market drugs off-label (> 17,000 views)
- How ghostwriting sold menopausal hormone therapy (>64,000 views; featured by PLOS Medicine as one of the most interesting articles of the last ten years)
- Reverse-engineering marketing messages in industry-funded CME (> 7,000 views)
- The ways pharma targets individuals with hemophilia and other expensive diseases (> 10,000 views)
- The first national survey of family medicine resident interactions with pharmaceutical companies
- The effects of our first educational module about industry tactics on physicians' perceptions of their own vulnerability to marketing
Our Unique and Influential Peer-Reviewed Papers Describe:
- How social psychology techniques are used in industry marketing on physicians
- Conflicts of interest and basic science research (> 20,000 views)
- A systematic review of the purported benefits of testosterone therapy (> 13,000 views)
- Industry publication planning
- Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) denial of commercial interest in CME
- Misleading promotion of smoking cessation products
- The risks of flibanserin (Addyi)
PharmedOut Publishes Articles Directed to the General Public On:
- The overprescription of EpiPens
- How patient groups paid by EpiPen manufacturers buttoned their lips on drug prices
- How calls for retraction can intimidate researchers
- Why the “feminist” campaign for flibanserin (Addyi ) wasn’t feminist at all
- The potential risks of advertising Low-T therapy to normally aging men
- How makers of mammography machines attacked mammography guidelines
- The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI), a pharma front group
PharmedOut Trains Future Leaders. We have trained over 100 medical, graduate, and undergraduate interns. PharmedOut interns – and staff – coauthor peer-reviewed publications, testify at FDA hearings, speak at national conferences, and occasionally appear on television.
Our Widely Used Online Materials Include:
- The first compilation of online pharma-free CME courses for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists.
- Why Lunch Matters, the first module that demonstrated physician susceptibility to industry tactics.
- 3-part Drug Ads Exercise drug designed for educators available under Teaching Tools on our website.
- Fast Statsmodule teaching about absolute risk, relative risk, and number needed to treat/harm.
- 7-video series featuring industry insiders describe how physicians are influenced by industry. Our first – and most popular – video, Zyprexa Drug Rep, has more than 176,000 views.
- Our slideshows, Drug Ad Bingo, patient factsheets, including Fast Facts on Generic Drugsand Prescription Drug Marketing, a No Drug Reps Certificate, our Bring Your Own Lunch (BYOL) Sandwich Guide, describing pharma-free lunch preparation, and our Guide to Holding Pharma-free Meetings.
The PharmedOut Newsletter. Former project manager Nicole Dubowitz Silverman launched our newsletter in 2013. Besides covering project and national news, PharmedOut Fodder focuses on underreported issues, and Andrea Sikora Newsome PharmD’s Pharmacist’s Corner provides evidence-based commentary on appropriate drug use.
The DC Center for Rational Prescribing. Together with Dr. Susan F. Wood PhD, the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health and the DC Department of Health, we launched the DC Center for Rational Prescribing (DCRx), making Washington, DC the first jurisdiction in the country to provide its own evidence-based continuing education for physicians, nurses and pharmacists. More than 800 individuals have taken more than 2,000 courses. We offer two courses on opioids and three on medical cannabis, modules on generic drugs, drug approval, rational prescribing in elders, pharmaceutical marketing, taking a sexual history, and preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP). We also analyze pharmaceutical marketing expenditures in the District of Columbia and have released special reports with a focus on:
- Marketing diabetes drugs
- Gifts to organizations and influential physicians
- Use of antipsychotics in seniors
- Use of antipsychotics in children
PharmedOut has published 29 papers, been mentioned in the media more than 200 times, and testified at numerous FDA hearings. We have organized and participated in many actions regarding drug safety. For example, we organized for 100 scientists and ethicists to sign a letter to the director of NIH asking that funds be allocated for research on scientific ethics and conflicts of interest. Our petition was covered in Nature, Science, The Scientist, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.
No group accomplishes more with less! Please support us.
How You Can Help
Donate. PharmedOut welcomes gifts to support and advance its innovative educational programs and research initiatives. Our novel research and education of prescribers depend on your generous support. Credit card contributions can be made via Georgetown Giving online (choose "other" for designation and write "PharmedOut" under special designation) or by phone at (202) 687-4900. Checks should be made out to Georgetown University. Please designate PharmedOut in the memo section of your check or in accompanying correspondence and mail to the address below. All gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent specified by the law.
Invite PharmedOut Physicians to Lecture. PharmedOut physicians are available to provide Grand Rounds, residency seminars, lectures or workshops.
Sophie Krensky, Project Manager, PharmedOut, email@example.com
Vi Nguyen, Website Manager, PharmedOut firstname.lastname@example.org
Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD, Director, PharmedOut, email@example.com