How Big Pharma Hijacked Patient Groups


From The Breach: “Once a vibrant grassroots social movement, patient groups in Canada have become a powerful cluster of corporate-influenced organizations, with leaders whose values, beliefs and ties align more closely with the private sector than the public interest.

For over two decades, aided by the same public relations firms that work for pharmaceutical companies, these industry-funded patient groups in Canada have brought the full weight of lobby tactics to bear on the government and the country’s drug agencies.

Patients critical of industry have been sidelined and patient communities divided, while an elite group of leaders—many with no direct experience with the serious diseases their groups represent—earn six-figure salaries and wield significant influence shaping policies that reverberate through the healthcare system.

Understanding this transformation—how patient groups were co-opted into fighting affordable medicine—is crucial to understanding the incredible grip that pharmaceutical companies have over government policy today.”

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  1. What’s happening in Canada is mirrored in the United States. Pharmaceutical companies donate money to patient advocacy groups, which then support Big Pharma’s positions. Members of these groups complain to regulators, journalists and members of Congress that if pharmaceutical companies are reigned in research will be restricted and patients will die.

    As an aside, some of the media (Wall Street Journal editorial pages, for example) are no more than mouthpieces for pharmaceutical companies.

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    • Donation data reported on websites by drug makers and patient advocacy groups in Canada that receive industry funding is “haphazard, inconsistent and incomplete,” underscoring the difficulties in deciphering the influence these companies may have on patient interests, a new analysis finds.

      Specifically, information about the value of donations made by drug companies, the years in which contributions were given, and the percent of income the money represented for patient groups was limited. Consequently, donations made and received often could not be matched, according to the analysis in the International Journal of Health Policy and Management.


      Seems as if there is disagreement about these matters.

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  2. Conclusions: Our results establish a dose-dependent binding effect for viloxazine at the 5-HT2C receptor in the choroid plexus. The 60% displacement of the radioligand by viloxazine at a clinically relevant dose (3 mg/kg) may be attributable to direct occupancy of the 5-HT2C receptor by viloxazine. In the cortical regions, a dose-dependent displacement of [11C]CIMBI-36 by viloxazine was also seen. The effect of viloxazine in the cortical regions (rich in 5-HT2A receptors) may be attributable to either direct occupancy of 5-HT2A or due to increased release of synaptic 5-HT. An estimated EC50 value of viloxazine for the changes in BPND at the 5-H2A receptor is significantly higher than the unbound plasma concentrations of viloxazine at all doses tested. This suggests that the observed effect on radioligand binding may result from a viloxazine-mediated increase in endogenous 5-HT release rather than direct binding to the 5-HT2A receptor in the cortex. Overall, our experiments suggest that, at clinically relevant doses, viloxazine increases serotonergic neurotransmission in the PFC and acts on the 5-HT2C receptor, which could play a role in its efficacy in the treatment of ADHD.

    NATURE Great news as science moves ahead to uncover the mysteries of the ways our brains work and fail to work.

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