Disease Charities Use Investments To Further Research Agendas
Recently, roughly a dozen disease-focused charities have started funding early-stage drug research at start-up companies in hopes of expediting the development of new treatments, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The majority of the charities say they were spurred by the success of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which partnered with Vertex Pharmaceuticals.
The foundation has funded most of the company's research on cystic fibrosis treatments since 1999.Â To date, no Vertex treatment for the disease has made it to market, but final-stage tests are set to begin on a potential treatment later this year.
The practice can put charities in a conflict of interest position because they could be called to give drug-treatment recommendations to patients, physicians and FDA, while also having a financial interest in the success of the drug treatment, the Journal reports.Aaron Kesselhelm, a physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who studies health policy, said, "Equity relationships can create substantial unconscious biases in the way that these foundations conduct their business that might lead them away from the ideal public-health strategies" (Winstein, Wall Street Journal, 2/10). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.