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January 2018 Newsletter

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Help us expand PharmedOut in 2018. If you haven't donated yet, there is still time! Click on the button below for more instructions.

Happy holidays!

Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD
Alycia Hogenmiller
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 Recent Project News 

  • "You get out of a lot of safety testing just by calling it a cosmetic. It’s quite a loophole," Dr. Fugh-Berman said in a Buzzfeed News article on the drug ingredients hidden in eyelash enhancers. These serums may come with side effects, like cheek hair, that consumers are often unaware of, "It’s a drug, it has drug effects, and can cause inflammation," said Fugh-Berman.

  • Dr. Fugh-Berman was also quoted on the FDA's tighening control on homeopathic drugs in a widely syndicated Associated Press article. "I think the rules do a good job of going after the things that are most problematic," Dr. Fugh-Berman said of the FDA's risk-based approach to regulating homeopathic remedies. Dr. Fugh-Berman maintained that some homeopathic remedies may pose health risks.

Joy's Pick of the Month

This month I present a short research letter about FDA approval times. Thomas J. Hwang, Jonathan J. Darrown, and Aaron S. Kesselheim recently authored The FDA’s Expedited Programs and Clinical Development Times for Novel Therapeutics, 2012-2016.

The authors found that 60% (105 of 174) of the new drug approvals between 2012 and 2016 were in at least one of the four expedited approval programs (priority review, accelerated approval, fast-tack, and breakthrough therapy designation). The median approval time was 0.9 years shorter (7.1 vs. 8.0 years) for drugs in any of the four expedited programs. The authors call on regulators to clearly communicate the limitations of data and the potential additional risks of these drugs.

If you are curious about how the FDA came to approve drugs faster and what some of the possible implications of expedited approvals are, check out this longer read from some of the same authors.

Joy Eckert is the Project Manager of DCRx and AccessRx at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Joy tweets about health policy @joyonarant.

2017 PharmedOut Review in Photos


PharmedOut celebrated its ten year anniversary this year! Thank you to all of our donors and supporters. We could not do what we do without you!

In January, we published the first paper on the relationship between pharmacists and industry. In March, PharmedOut sponsored a sign making workshop and led a group of students to the March for Science to call for industry to stay out of the FDA's decisions. In April, we launched our PharmedOut Instagram. Also in April, Dr. Fugh-Berman spoke on a POLITICO panel on Trump's FDA, and Dr. Fugh-Berman and Nick Mendola testified at the FDA Public Meeting on Sarcopenia. In May, PharmedOut project manager, Alycia Hogenmiller, and DCRx project manager, Joy Eckert, presented about diabetes drug costs at Lown's annual conference. In June, we held our biannual conference, focusing on how industry influences medical discourse. In September, Dr. Fugh-Berman testified at Senator McCaskill's roundtable on marketing practices of opioid manufacturers. In October, the AccessRx team published "Influence of pharmaceutical marketing on Medicare prescriptions in the District of Columbia" in Plos One

Below we have some of our favorite photos from 2017!

From left to right: 1. PharmedOut interns, Cynthia Pham and Akul Yajnik, collecting ballots for the Abstract Slam at the 2017 PharmedOut conference. 2. PharmedOut project manager, Alycia Hogenmiller, and DCRx project manager, Joy Eckert, at Lown Institute 5th annual conference to present findings of the 2016 Impacts of Pharmaceutical Marketing Report on Diabetes in the District of Columbia. 3. Dr. Fugh-Berman participating in a POLITICO panel on the future of drug regulation. 4. Christian Bruni and Collin Huth taking a well-earned break while interning at the PharmedOut conference. 5. Keene Saavedra and Grace Doan setting up the AV at the conference. 6. Christian Bruni, Selena Garcia DuBar, and Aida Roman staffing the donations table at the PharmedOut conference. 7. PharmedOut spelled out using 50 donated handmade hats and scarves. 8. PharmedOut friend, Natalie Hubbard, modeling one of our new PharmedOut umbrellas. 9. Nick Mendola, Alycia Hogenmiller, Avantika Pathak, Adriane Fugh-Berman, and Aida Roman attending the FDA Patient-Focused Drug Development meeting on sarcopenia, where Dr. Fugh-Berman and Nick Mendola also testified. 10. Interns Rena Atayeva and Aida Roman at the PharmedOut conference. 11. AccessRx team members, Joy Eckert, Dili Sundaramoorthy, Alycia Hogenmiller, and Nick Mendola at George Washington University's student research day. Eckert and Sundaramoorthy presented their poster and won the Policy and Practice award. 12. All the PharmedOut interns that helped our 2017 conference run smoothly!

News Round-Up

(For more, follow @Pharmed_Out on Twitter!)


Dec 19

Drug Industry Spent Millions To Squelch Talk About High Drug Prices by Jay Hancock (Kaiser Health News)

Dec 17

In Opioid Battle, Cherokee Want Their Day in Tribal Court by Jan Hoffman (New York Times)

'We feel like our system was hijacked': DEA Agents Say a Huge Opioid Case Ended in a Whimper by Lenny Bernstein and Scott Higham (The Washington Post)

Dec 16

Uproar Over Purported Ban at C.D.C. of Words Like 'Fetus' by Sheila Kaplan and Donald G. McNeil Jr. (New York Times)

Dec 15

Activism is a Hot Topic at the World's Biggest Earth and Planetary Science Conference by Sarah Kaplan (The Washington Post)

CDC Banned From Using 'Evidence-based' and 'Science-based' in Official Documents: Report by Avery Anapol (The Hill)

Dec 13

How One Sentence Helped Set Off the Opioid Crisis by Caitlin Esch (Market Place)

Examining the Drug Supply Chain (Energy and Commerce Committee)

Dec 11

Three More Drugs Makers Allegedly Used Nurses to Promote Medicines by Ed Silverman (Stat)

Dec 9

The Other Big Drug Problem: Older People Taking Too Many Pills by Sandra G. Boodman (The Washington Post)

Dec 8

Birth Control Pills & Breast Cancer Risk: Big Study Generates Big Differences in Quality of News Coverage by Michael Joyce (Health News Review)

Engaging With Patients on Health Policy Changes by Jerry Avorn, MD (The JAMA Network)

Dec 4

Why a Lot of Important Research Is Not Being Done by Aaron E. Carroll (The New York Times)

Help us expand PharmedOut in 2018. If you haven't donated yet, there is still time! Click on the button below for more instructions.

Happy holidays!

Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD
Alycia Hogenmiller

Make a Gift
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PharmedOut is funded primarily by individual gifts. 100% of your gift goes towards investigating corporate misdeeds, promoting rational prescribing, providing resources to healthcare professionals, and feeding our wonderful group of volunteers. PharmedOut would not be possible without your support. All donations are tax deductible.

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