Intended for healthcare professionals


Bad publicity prompts US medical centers to take corrective action

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 15 January 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m166
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York

Several US medical centers that were named and shamed last week in this year’s “Shkreli awards” have taken action to correct their criticized policies.

The awards are named after Martin Shkreli, who is now serving a seven year federal prison sentence for securities fraud. Previously, Shkreli was widely criticized when he gained rights to pyrimethamine, which is used to treat toxoplasmosis, and immediately raised its price from $13.50 (£10.40; €12.10) a pill to $750 a pill.1

The Shkreli awards are given by the Lown Institute, a nonprofit organization that aims to replace the current profit driven US healthcare system with “a just and caring system.” Vikas Saini, the institute’s president, told The BMJ that market forces led to the explosion of “money minded and [money] driven outrage of immoral practices and abuses” in healthcare.

The institute invites nominations for the awards through its newsletter, and the winners are selected by a panel of patient activists, clinicians, health policy experts, and journalists.2

“Surprise” bills

Leading the 2019 Shkreli awards were six US medical centers that, the Lown Institute …

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