Pharma Charity May Shut After US Faults Drugmakers' Influence
A medical charity that received hundreds of millions of dollars from pharmaceutical companies lost a crucial stamp of approval from the U.S. government, after allowing its donors improper influence over how the nonprofit was run.
For the last decade, Caring Voice Coalition has been one of the biggest patient assistance charities in the U.S. The Mechanicsville, Virginia-based foundation helps patients afford expensive drugs by funding health insurance co-payments that can otherwise total more than $10,000 a year. Without the charity, which is funded almost entirely by drugmakers, many patients might not be able to afford life-saving medicine.
It had another effect, according to a redacted letter from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General. It provided drugmakers with data that could help them see if their contributions were helping their own customers, potentially giving the companies “greater ability to raise the prices of their drugs while insulating patients from the immediate out-of-pocket effects,” and letting Medicare pay for the cost increases, according to the OIG’s letter, which was posted on the HHS website.