Medco: Married to the Mob

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  • 08/16/2006

Medco, the largest U.S. pharmacy benefits manager, whose clients include large corporations, state and local governments, health insurers and unions, has created a very troubling partnership with Consumer Reports.

Beginning today, Medco is pointing its 60-million members to Consumer Reports’ online Saving Advisor —the same program that suggests a “best buys” approach to Alzheimer’s medications.

Maybe Medco will even throw in a toaster for free.

The news story on this misadventure (which can be found at reports that the Savings Advisor “was conducted as part of Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs program, which is funded by the private Engleberg Foundation and the government-sponsored National Libraries of Medicine.”

What it doesn’t report is that the Engleberg Foundation is profoundly conflicted. Alfred Engleberg has earned over $100 million by successfully challenging the validity and enforceability of pharmaceutical patents and has generously shared in the resulting profits earned by generic drug makers. He is pro-compulsory licensing and against tort and medical liability reform.

The Savings Advisor generally recommends generic drugs. Surprise! Mr. Engleberg served as patent counsel to the Generic Pharmaceutical Industry Association (GPIA).

Here’s what Al Engleberg e-mailed to our buddy Jamie Love regarding implementation of the Doha Declaration,

“I thought it might be useful to put forth an idea for bridging the gap between the approach suggested by the EU and the US trade negotiators. In many respects, the idea is an obvious corollary to my paper on the importance of the use of price controls as a means of avoiding the adverse impact of full TRIPS implementation.”

And here’s something else that’s both absent from the article and not on the Consumer Reports website — this saintly not-for-profit organization receives massive funding from trial lawyers.

Yes — Medco is now married to the Mob.

(For further edification on how Consumer Reports is bastardizing evidence-based medicine, please see the April 6, 2006 commentary, “Crash-Test Dummy Medicine.”)


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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