The Advocate Responds to “Dangerous” Health Affairs Article

The Advocate: Supporting the Patient Voice

WEST CHESTER, PA — The Advocate: Supporting the Patient Voice recently responded to a publication in Health Affairs Magazine that it deemed “dangerous.” Though a direct response was not accepted by Health Affairs, The Advocate’s Editor-in-Chief, Matt Toresco, released his article on The Advocate’s website for broad distribution and to “shine a light” on the lobbying efforts at play “using patients as pawns.”

In September 2022, the article in question was published in Health Affairs Magazine by Dafny et al, claiming that pharmaceutical company donations to charity were tantamount to inducement. The Advocate: Supporting the Patient Voice, an organization dedicated to amplifying the patient voice and promoting patient-centered healthcare, finds this claim to be deeply troubling and misleading.

In response, The Advocate: Supporting the Patient Voice has developed a counter article that provides a comprehensive and evidence-based critique of Dafny et al’s claims. The article, which was not selected for publication in Health Affairs Magazine, can be found on The Advocate’s website at

The Advocate’s response highlights the important role that pharmaceutical companies play in funding charitable efforts for under and uninsured patients, as well as the many benefits that these donations provide to patients and the broader healthcare community. The response also addresses the rigorous ethical guidelines and oversight that govern these donations to ensure that they do not compromise patient care or medical research.

“Dafny et al’s article is a disservice to the patients and healthcare professionals who rely on pharmaceutical companies for vital medical research, treatments, and support,” said Matt Toresco, Editor-in-Chief, of The Advocate: Supporting the Patient Voice. “Our counter article sets the record straight and provides a more accurate and nuanced picture of the role of pharmaceutical company donations in healthcare, while shining a light on the data set used by the authors that points to influence by the insurance industry. If the authors intended to do the bidding of the health insurers to maximize the out of pocket expense of patients, that is simply unethical and uses the patient as a pawn in the fight between payers & pharmaceutical companies.”

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The Advocate: Supporting the Patient Voice encourages all stakeholders in the healthcare community – especially patients – to read their response and engage in an informed, evidence-based dialogue about the role of pharmaceutical company donations in healthcare.

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