After Fauber’s story, pain group snips industry ties

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism, and he has blogged for Covering Health ever since.

Earlier this month, we blogged about Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter John Fauber’s work linking industry funding, local researchers and the rapid spread of painkiller use in America. Now Fauber’s written the best kind of follow up, with a story headlined “UW group ends drug firm funds.” Here’s the key paragraph:

UW made the announcement after an April 3 investigative report in the Journal Sentinel revealed that its UW Pain & Policy Studies Group had taken about $2.5 million over a decade from companies that make opioids. The money came while the group pushed for what critics say was a pharmaceutical industry agenda not supported by rigorous science: the liberalized use of narcotic painkillers for non-cancer chronic pain.

University officials claim they started cutting off industry funds in September, as part of a successful campaign to regain status as a World Health Organization collaborating center. However, they didn’t disclose that to Fauber during the course of his months-long investigation into the subject, saying that Fauber never asked about it. It’s worth reading the story for a more complete explanation of the change in funding.

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