Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Should patient groups accept money from drug companies? No

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 03 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:935

Rapid Response:

Is HAI a patient or consumer group?

Ms. Mintzes describes the bodies listed on her conflict of interest
statement,Health Action International, DES (diethylstilboestrol) Canada,
and the Steering Groups of Women and Health Protection and Pharmawatch as
consumer and patient groups without industry funding.

In the specific case of Health Action International the vast majority
of the European branch's funding appears to come from Governmental
sources, at least as far as can be garnered from their website, the latest
disclosure being 2004:

Membership subscriptions for HAI at just over €5000 are relatively
insignificant. It seems ironic that Barbara Mintzes castigates various
patient groups when their funding from the pharmaceutical industry is less
than 10%, yet HAI funding from patients seems to be around 0.5% and
funding from Governments, who might be thought by some to have a vested
interest in minimising short term expenditure on medicines, is more than

In view of Dr. Kent's comments in his related article that the idea
that "public money, or grants from charitable trusts, come without strings
attached is a fiction", one wonders both about the motives for
Governmental bodies in funding HAI Europe, and the legitimacy of HAI
Europe's claim to be representing the view of patients and consumers.
Which patients? Which consumers?

I should add these are my personal views and not those of my
employer, Norgine.

Competing interests:
Employee of a pharmaceutical company, Norgine.

Competing interests: No competing interests

04 May 2007
Peter Martin
Harefield, UB9 6NS