Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has set his sites on 33 non-profit medical groups in his investigation into the the ways industry money influences the practice of medicine. According to The New York Times, the American Medical Association, American Cancer Society and the Alzheimer’s Association are just few of the groups Senator Grassley contacted this week about their financial ties to the medical industry.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the letters include demands for information on money that the organizations have received since January 2006 directly from <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_drugs">drug and <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_medical_devices">medical device makers, from foundations set up by those corporations, or from insurance companies, the Journal said.
Senator Grassley has given the groups until December 21 to respond. According to The New York Times, the American Medical Association, American Cancer Society and the Alzheimer’s Association all said in statements that they would respond to Grassley’s request for detailed payment information.
Senator Grassley has been investigating the influence industry money has on the practice of medicine for some time now. We reported in October that he had sent such a letter to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Documents obtained by the Senator at the time indicated that nearly 75 percent – nearly $23 million – of the donations NAMI received between 2006 and 2008 came from drug makers.
According to The New York Times, the disclosure prompted Dr. H. Richard Lamb, a board member for the alliance, to resign in protest. Dr. Lamb told the Times that NAMI’s reliance on the drug industry made some actions – such as warning against the use of some drugs with life threatening side effects – impossible, because doing so would threaten the organization’s funding stream.