PhRMA ends funding for high-profile addiction treatment group

Summary and Analysis

The Addiction Policy Forum, a non-profit which has been the subject of some concern because of its financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, is now losing that support. 

For background on the concern, see Big Pharma Co-Opts Anti-Addiction Advocate.

This article claims the Addiction Policy Forum received upwards of 90% of its funding from a pharma trade organization. That funding, which was cut to $6 million this year down from $8.1 million last year, will go to zero next year.

The article includes comments from current and former Addiction Policy Forum employees concerning alleged management problems at the organization. 

Excerpted from Politico

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A nonprofit that made ambitious promises to help people addicted to opioids is losing its biggest financial backer — the drug lobby.

PhRMA, which has provided the Addiction Policy Forum with about 90 percent of its funding, cut its donation from $8.1 million to $6 million this year. The lobby will end all support in 2020, PhRMA and the forum’s CEO, Jessica Hulsey Nickel, confirmed.

POLITICO spoke with eight current and former employees who stated that Nickel had poorly managed some of the millions the forum spent on a K Street office, a now empty, million-dollar high-tech Chicago call center, annual meetings and other projects.

Nickel — a lobbyist who has described growing up in foster care as her parents struggled with heroin addiction — denies the accusations of poor management, saying the digital health software and telecommunications infrastructure the forum bought for more than $1 million is still in use. “Not a dollar was wasted,” she said.