There's a new advocacy group joining the fight against rising drug prices. Patients for Affordable Drugs, founded by David Mitchell, a former partner at the political consulting firm GMMB, launches today to tell stories of patients struggling with high drug costs and push for federal and state legislation. Mitchell is fighting multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that costs $26,000 a month to treat. He'll have help from Ben Wakana, the executive director, who was a Department of Health and Human Services spokesman in the Obama administration.
The twist: You'd think there were a ton of patient groups on the case already, right? Not really — most of the fight has been coming from industry group coalitions like the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing. Mitchell says many of the patient advocacy groups are too compromised by funding from the drug industry or pharmacy benefit managers. So he's avoiding those funding sources and starting his group with a $500,000 grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and he and his wife are kicking in $75,000 of their own. "We have a constituency that hasn't been tapped," said Mitchell. "We'll be able to play."