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Senator Grassley Calls for Financial Disclosure from Medical Groups

Thursday, December 17, 2009 by: Virginia Hopkins
Tags: financial disclosure, non-profits, health news

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(NewsTarget) Republican Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) has asked 33 medical groups, most of them patient advocacy non-profits, to disclose the financial backing they receive from the pharmaceutical, medical device and insurance industries. According to Grassley, "These organizations have a lot of influence over public policy, and people rely on their leadership. There`s a strong case for disclosure and the accountability that results." Grassley said he took this action after finding that the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) received almost two thirds of its funding from pharmaceutical companies. NAMI bills itself as a "...nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends..." Since Grassley`s investigation into NAMI funding, the organization has created more transparency in the source of its funding, revealing industry support over $5,000. For many years Grassley has been part of legislative attempts to expose how money is passed around in the medical industry, among drug companies, universities, insurance companies, physicians and medical journals. "I`m interested in transparency," Grassley said. "Letting the sun shine in and making information public is basic to building people`s confidence in medical research, education and the practice of medicine." Some of the groups that have received Grassley`s letters of inquiry include the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Dental Association (ADA). Many of the organizations immediately pledged to create more transparency in their funding sources. Grassley has also recently introduced a bill that would help reduce drug costs for Americans. Consumers in the U.S. pay 60 to 112 percent more for brand-name prescription drugs than consumers in other countries. These higher prices are one of the factors pushing up the cost of Medicare and Medicaid. Grassley is also a recipient of medical industry money. According to the website OpenSecrets.org, the industries that fall in the top five of Grassley`s campaign contributors came from the following industry groups: Health Professionals, Insurance, Pharmaceuticals/Health Products, Lobbyists, and Hospitals/Nursing Homes. In Robin Williams` new HBO comedy special, Weapons of Self Destruction, he suggests that members of congress should be required to wear corporate sponsor decals, like Nascar drivers. This suggestion received the loudest audience applause of the event. Sources Grassley website http://grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502=24413 New York Times - Senatory Grassley Seeks Details on Medical Financing http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/08/health/policy/08grassley.html?scp=2&sq=grassley&st=cse OpenSecrets.org http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00001758&cycle=2010

About the author


Virginia Hopkins is a best-selling author and co-author of books about women's hormones, nutrition, prescription drugs and more, including What Your Dr. May Not Tell You About Menopause with Dr. John Lee, and Prescription Alternatives.

Virginia is currently editor of the Virginia Hopkins Health Watch newsletter, at http://www.virginiahopkinstestkits.com/hopkinshealth.html

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