He also is allergic to being transparent about his background and funding. Either that or he is exceedingly modest. Mitchell is speaking at an FTC meeting entitled, “Discussion: Potential Next Steps to Encourage Entry and Expand Access through Lower Prices."
Here's his bio for that event:
David has 40 years of experience working on health care and public health policy as a communications specialist. He has worked to reduce teen smoking, increase use of seat belts, to fight drunk driving and improve child health and safety. He helped build and run for more than 30 years GMMB—a cause-oriented, public policy communications firm in Washington, DC. He retired in 2016 to focus his full energy and attention on helping bring about policy change to lower drug costs. You can follow him on Twitter here. Email him at email@example.com
Here's what he left out:
Received nearly $60 million in federal contracts after Obama took office, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group.
$200 million from the Clinton campaign in 2016 and $389 million from the Obama campaign in 2012
$12 million from Phrma to run pro-Obamacare ads.
Nearly $700 million to promote Obamcare enrollment.
My favorite: $575K to run ads in Jewish news outlets in support of the Iran nuclear deal.
These tidbits are important because it provides some clues about why David would get $500K from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to set up a patient group.
Indeed, it is curious that in his FTC bio, David left out important background information about his group. Patients For Affordable Drugs claims it " is the only independent national patient organization focused exclusively on achieving policy changes to lower the price of prescription drugs."
First, it is not independent. It receives 87 percent of its funding from one source: the aforementioned Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF). Second, it cooperates and coordinates with other LJAF grantees including ICER and Harvard's Aaron Kesselheim. ICER mind you have deemed most new cancer drugs marginally effective and too expensive despite evidence to the contrary. Have you heard P4AD challenge ICER? You haven't and you won't because they get cash from the same cow. Third, Mitchell's funding is never disclosed when media outlets that also receive LJAF money to run stories about drug prices quoting him. That's deliberate.
Further, it is NOT true that it is the only group pushing for lower drug prices. On the contrary, many other patient organizations who, in addition to providing counseling, funding basic research and covering expenses for cancer patients, have pushed for policies that would reduce the time and cost of drug development and promote generic competition. P4AD is silent on accelerating innovation at the FDA. Moreover, while other groups have fought for caps on drug copays, the elimination of step therapy, passing rebates directly to patients, PFAD has paid lip service to these issues.
It is simply a media outlet for dog whistle messaging about drug prices. Mitchell loves to say he is grateful for medical innovation as a myeloma survivor. But many would argue (including me) that the policies he is promoting have been proven to marginally reduce prices but substantially limit access and future innovations.
Nobody disagrees with the goal of reducing health care costs and drug prices. But P4AD is a hollow advocacy group that does nothing to advance FDA and reimbursement reforms to would make new medicines less expensive and more affordable. By excluding the Arnold affiliation and GMMB's main revenue sources, David is trying to portray himself as a lonely crusader against big Pharma. There's very little truth in that depiction.