Two Doctors Listed on the Physicians Against Drug Shortages Website Declare They’re Not Co-Chairs and Want Their Names Removed
Checks and Balances Project (C&BP) has been investigating claims by Physicians Against Drug Shortages (PADS), in the media and elsewhere, that drug and medical supply shortages are caused, not by pharmaceutical companies or other factors, but by group purchasing organizations. In those same media interviews and opinion pieces, financial ties between PADS co-chairs and certain drug and medical device companies have gone unmentioned.
Recently, we asked doctors and others listed as co-chairs on the PADS website if they had a comment about fellow co-chair John G. Brock-Utne, M.D. He had written an article in which he claimed hospital drug shortages were caused by drug makers and other suppliers being locked out of the marketplace — without revealing that he had received more than $48,000 from drug makers and other suppliers.
Why Are You Asking Me?
Two doctors responded immediately to our question.
When we caught up with Elaina George, M.D., an ear, nose and throat specialist practicing in Atlanta, Georgia, we explained that we reached out to her because she was listed on the PADS website as a co-chair. While we were on the phone together, she looked it up herself. She was not pleased and said:
“I went to a conference of theirs last fall. I had a feeling they were using us. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Others I spoke to felt the same way. I had the feeling they were just trying to make themselves into a more legitimate organization.
“I’m going to call them right now and tell them to remove my name. I never gave them permission to do this. I’m kind of loaded for bear right now. If I have to get a lawyer, I will. This is my reputation.”
Dr. Rebekah Bernard, a family medicine practitioner based in Fort Myers, Florida, wrote us that she had attended a meeting about many health topics in Washington, DC, a few years ago:
“The PADS people presented information and asked us to sign up to be on their mailing list. Other than receiving their email I have no involvement with them. I don’t give them money or attend meetings or do any work for them whatsoever.
“Thank you for letting me know that I am listed incorrectly. I see some of the other people from that same meeting listed along with my name — they may not be aware that they are being called ‘co-chairs.’ I will ask them to correct this information.”
Questions for Zweig
To understand why PADS would be listing doctors as co-chairs when they were not, we tried contacting Phillip Zweig, executive director of PADS, who is apparently in charge of the group’s website. Noting that Dr. George’s name was removed soon after her complaint, we asked Zweig for an explanation:
- Why were these two physicians incorrectly listed on your site as co-chairs?
- Are there other co-chairs listed who should be removed?
So far, we’ve not heard from Zweig. We will update this post when we do.
Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative watchdog blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.