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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Johns Hopkins: U.S. Patient Advocacy Groups Received Majority of Pharma Donations in Multi-Country Study

A new study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers found that U.S.-based patient advocacy organizations received a disproportionate amount of contributions made by the world’s 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in 2016.


The study assessed contributions to patient advocacy groups in seven countries and the United Kingdom and found that U.S.-based patient advocacy organizations received 74 percent of total contributions in 2016, or an estimated $88 million dollars. Patient advocacy organizations are nonprofit groups that focus on specific medical conditions.


The study was published online on February 21 in the American Journal of Public Health.


The report reveals a patchwork of disclosure levels among countries, with only six of the 10 drug companies disclosing their financial donations to U.S.-based patient advocacy organizations in 2016. 


In contrast, the study found that all 10 companies disclosed their 2016 financial transactions to patient advocacy organizations in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, which encourage or require such disclosure.


The disproportionate amount of funding to U.S. patient advocacy organizations and unregulated financial disclosures, the authors note, highlight the importance of establishing reporting guidelines.

Dr. So-Yeon Kang, research associate, and Dr. Gerard F. Anderson, professor, in the Bloomberg School’s department of health policy and management were lead co-authors.


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