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Group of 21 Physician Leaders to Launch Sweeping Pharmaceutical Reform Proposal

May 15, 2018


Group of 21 Physician Leaders to Launch Sweeping Pharmaceutical Reform Proposal

Panel of Health Policy Experts Will Release Plan to Improve Cost and Safety of Medications; U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison to Provide Remarks

WHAT: Release of “Healing an ailing pharmaceutical system: Prescription for reform for the U.S. and Canada.”

The skyrocketing cost of prescription medications is one of the biggest concerns for American voters, but in his proposal last Friday, President Donald Trump failed to offer any new policies that would expand access, increase affordability or increase the safety and efficacy of prescription therapies in any meaningful way.

On May 17, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) will join a group of physician leaders as they release a comprehensive reform proposal, which also will be published in the British Medical Journal. The proposal was drafted by a committee of 21 prominent experts and identifies seven key problems with the current system of development, approval, pricing and marketing of medications:

  1. A lack of patient access to affordable treatments.

  2. The skyrocketing cost of needed medications.

  3. A broken patent process that makes medications unaffordable.

  4. Weak standards for clinical trials that mask safety problems.

  5. Regulatory agencies primarily funded by pharmaceutical firms, creating conflicts of interest.

  6. A failure of agencies to monitor safety of medicines after approval.

  7. Misleading or inaccurate marketing that is poorly monitored by regulators.

“We’ve become accustomed to a system that prioritizes industry profits over public health, but it doesn’t have to be this way,” said Dr. Adam Gaffney, a co-author of the proposal. “Through a series of commonsense reforms, we can increase the affordability, safety and effectiveness of medicine for our patients.”

WHEN: 9:30-10:30 a.m. EDT Thursday, May 17

WHERE: Bloomberg Room, National Press Club, 529 14th St NW, Washington, D.C.


  • U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)

  • Adam Gaffney, M.D., critical care physician and faculty member at Harvard Medical School, and co-chair of the Pharmaceutical Reform Working Group

  • Sidney Wolfe, M.D., founder and senior adviser at Public Citizen’s Health Research Group and instructor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

  • Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H., distinguished professor of public health at City University of New York’s Hunter College and lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School

  • Marcia Angell, M.D., senior lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine (via teleconference)

  • Ken Zinn, political director of National Nurses United

  • Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works

Those unable to attend the event may participate via teleconference or livestream: Conference call: 800-672-1488 (international +1 303-223-4381) Video livestream: www.facebook.com/doctorsforsinglepayer

Media professionals may request a copy of the article by contacting Clare Fauke at clare@pnhp.org or (312) 782-6006. The article is under embargo until 6 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, May 17, after which the materials will be available at http://pnhp.org/pharma.

Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org) is a nonprofit research and education organization whose more than 22,000 members support single-payer national health insurance.