2018 News

PharmedOut In the News - 2018

November 2018

  • November 23: Last month's Nashville Public Radio piece on device reps in the operating room has been picked up across multiple NPR affiliates, bringing well-deserved national attention to the issue. As Dr. Fugh-Berman suggests in the piece, "What we need are skilled helpers in the operating room who are not making money off of the choices of the surgeons."
  • November 1: Dr. Fugh-Berman was quoted in Forbes on a new telemedicine platform launching to sell flibanserin for hyposexual desire disorder as a last-ditch effort to make this loser drug sell.

October 2018

  • October 11: Dr. Fugh-Berman commented in STAT News on Pfizer misleading patients into paying more with copay coupons (and how copay charities game the system to keep patients on expensive drugs at payers' expense).
  • October 5: What are device reps doing in the surgical suite? Encouraging surgeons to make choices that benefit device makers, Dr. Fugh-Berman says in this piece on Nashville Public Radio.
  • October 3: Dr. Fugh-Berman was quoted in Reuters and Business Insider on the targeting of individual patients with hemophilia by pharmaceutical companies (each patient controls market share for wildly expensive factor treatments).
  • October 2: Dr. Fugh-Berman was quoted in STAT News commenting on the inappropriate use of nurses to educate (read: market to) patients on Humira.

September 2018

  • September 20: She was quoted in Fierce Healthcare's writeup of the Memorial Sloane-Kettering scandal, in which MSK's chief medical officer failed to disclose millions of dollars in drug company payments.
  • Marketers or care providers? Dr. Fugh-Berman commented on the deceptive, unethical use of nurse "ambassadors" (actually employees of pharmaceutical companies or their vendors) to market Humira in the Los Angeles Times (Sept 18) and STAT News (Oct 2).

July 2018

  • July 23: Dr. Fugh-Berman was quoted in Medical Marketing & Media commenting on pharmaceutical and device companies' contributions to CME activities increasing for the fourth consecutive year, a trend that has serious implications for what healthcare providers are learning—and whom they are learning it from.
  • July 5: Dr. Fugh-Berman also spoke to the BMJ, commenting on FDA advisory committee members with financial conflicts of interest regarding drugs they are assessing.

June 2018

  • June 20: We ruffled some feathers with a former drug exec, who referenced Dr. Fugh-Berman's views on marketing invented diseases in his Forbes piece on "malady mongers." John LaMattina, former president of Pfizer R&D, goes on to cite our old favorite Addyi ("the female Viagra") as a solution to a legitimate problem that "many women complain of"... we don't agree.
  • June 18: When does charity cross over into promotion? Dr. Fugh-Berman commented on the makers of Evzio, an overdose treatment, donating close-to-expired injectors to law enforcement in STAT News
  • June 15: Dr. Fugh-Berman was quoted in the New York Times reflecting on the financial ties between the alcohol industry and NIH research funding (the study, nearly dubbed the "Cheers" study, has since been shut down).
  • June 6: PharmedOUT has endorsed a letter signed by over 100 advocacy groups, physicians, and researchers in support of the Patient Advocacy Transparency Act being released by Senator McCaskill! These groups include Public Citizen, PharmedOut, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, The Project on Government Oversight, and Patients for Affordable Drugs. The Patient Advocacy Transparency Act will help ensure that consumers, journalists, researchers, and policymakers know how much money specific pharmaceutical companies spend on specific groups—information crucial to evaluating the credibility of organizations that purport to represent consumers. Read Senator Claire McCaskill's Letter in support here!

April 2018

  • April 27: Dr. Fugh-Berman was quoted in Mother Jones explaining why pharma-funded continuing medical education has huge implications for patient care... especially when it comes to opioid prescribing. In short, CME "doesn’t look like advertising. It doesn’t look like promotion. It looks like education, and it’s required for most physicians.”
  • Dr. Fugh-Berman was also quoted in Politico (April 25) commenting on the nomination of Ronny Jackson (known as "Candy Man" for the numerous Ambien prescriptions he wrote for non-patients) to head the Department of Veterans Affairs; and in Palm Beach Post (April 11) on Insys's use of psychological manipulation for marketing.
  • April 23: PharmedOut interns Jane Kim, Stephanie Obiorah, and Breon Wise asked: "who are pain groups advocating for?" These intrepid interns published their research in The Hastings Center's Bioethics Forum, exposing the U.S. Pain Foundation as subsidizing rapid-acting fentanyl copays—perhaps their way of atoning for accepting $2.9 million in pharma funding. The piece was also covered in STAT News.

March 2018

  • March 12: PharmedOut intern Jane Kim's research was highlighted on a HealthNewsReview article that discusses the lack of evidence on the benefits of kratom, an opioid-containing herb, for opioid addiction, and cites Dr. Fugh-Berman.
  • This month, Dr. Fugh-Berman took a break from commenting on the ethical implications of pharmaceutical industry-funded studies... to comment on the ethical implications of alcohol industry-funded studies. Read about it in the New York Times (March 17) and Kaiser Health News (March 14).
  • March 9: Dr. Fugh-Berman's appearance at the National Health Policy Conference was covered in MedPage Today as part of a diverse panel of experts proposing solutions to the opioid crisis.
  • March 9: Following the release of the report, Dr. Fugh-Berman was quoted in STAT News expressing support for the expansion of the Sunshine Act, sponsored by Senator McCaskill which would require advocacy nonprofits to disclose pharma funding.

February 2018

  • February 18: NBC News aired a segment highlighting PharmedOut's work, in which Dr. Fugh-Berman provided context to the news of Senator McCaskill's (D-MO) newly released report on opioid manufacturers bankrolling patient advocacy groups.
  • February 14: Dr. Fugh-Berman was also a guest on WAMU's 1A program to discuss how much drugmakers are to blame for the opioid crisis.