A new online database has revealed that drug companies gave at least $116 million to patient advocacy groups during 2015.
Drug companies give money to ‘patient advocacy groups’ as a means of attempting to gain influence over them and ensuring that their media statements and news releases remain consistent with those of the pharmaceutical industry itself. For many decades, public awareness of the existence of these ‘donations’ was almost non-existent.
Today, however, evidence is growing that patients are waking up to the shocking reality about the drug industry. In a 2015 report published by PatientView, a UK-based research, publishing and consultancy group, 76 patient groups assessed the reputation of some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. In a damning indictment of the ‘business with disease’, patients rated the overall corporate reputation of the drug industry as low, verging on abysmal. None of the groups ranked the industry as excellent. The only health-related sector ranked lower was the for-profit insurance industry.
With a 2013 survey carried out in 6 countries and on 3 different continents furthermore finding that most people now feel drug companies see cancer as a making-money opportunity, rather than as a disease to eradicate, it is clear that international awareness of the true nature of the pharmaceutical industry is increasing. While there still remains much to be done, towards our goal of a new global healthcare system based on natural preventive approaches, this is undoubtedly a very promising development indeed.