Founded atGeorgetown University Medical Center
Key people
Adriane Fugh-Berman (Director)

PharmedOut (PhO) is a Georgetown University Medical Center project founded in 2006. It is directed by Adriane Fugh-Berman.[1] The stated mission of the organization is to advance evidence-based prescribing and educate healthcare professionals about pharmaceutical marketing practices. Stated goals are to: 1. Document and disseminate information about how pharmaceutical companies influence prescribing 2. Foster access to unbiased information about drugs and 3. Encourage physicians to choose pharma-free CME (continuing medical education).[2]

This organization provides healthcare professionals with pharma-free continuing medical education (CME) and resources [3] to unbiased drug information. PharmedOut was founded with funds from the Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education grant program.[4] Since 2008, PharmedOut has been financially supported by individual donations and largely staffed by a volunteer team of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, scientists, lawyers, students, artists and writers.[5]

PharmedOut criticizes some medical research and practices, including overprescription of opioids,[6][7][8] industry construction of and influence on perceptions of diseases and symptoms,[9][10] misleading information about the benefits of and harms of testosterone,[11][12] menopausal hormone therapy,[13][14] flibanserin,[15][16][17][18][19] and Epipens.[20][21][22][23]

Articles in peer-reviewed publications include an article about how Medicare prescribers who accept industry gifts prescribe more medications (and more expensive medications),[24] how industry uses social psychology to manipulate physicians,[25] pharmacist-industry relationships,[26] an article on medical device salespeople and surgeons,[27] an analysis of pharmaceutical marketing to people with hemophilia[28] an analysis of how "key opinion leaders" are used to market drugs off-label,[29] an explanation of drug rep tactics,[30] an article on basic scientists and industry,[31] and a study that documents the effect of Why Lunch Matters,[32] a presentation that is the first to document a significant change in physicians' perceptions about their own individual vulnerability to pharmaceutical marketing.

PharmedOut has also criticized industry support of continuing medical education[33] and industry support of patient advocacy groups,[34] and has compiled a list of pharma-free patient advocacy groups.[35]

In its first 10 years, PharmedOUT has published the first studies on "Relationships between surgeons and medical device representatives", "Pharmacists' beliefs regarding pharmaceutical companies", "How drug company representatives influence physicians", "Promotional Tone in industry-influenced articles", "How companies market drugs off-label", "How ghostwriting sold menopausal hormone therapy", "Reverse-engineering marketing messages in industry-funded CME", "The way pharma targets individuals with hemophilia and other expensive diseases", "The first national survey of family medicine resident interactions with pharmaceutical companies", and "The effects of our first educational module about industry tactics on physicians' perceptions of their own vulnerability to marketing". (Studies available at


  1. ^ Lamb, Brian (February 23, 2015). "Q&A: Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman".
  2. ^ "About Us - Pharmed OUT". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Resources - Pharmed OUT". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  4. ^ Elliott, Carl (22 May 2012). "Pharmed Out: an Interview With Adriane Fugh-Berman". The Chronicle of Higher Education Blogs: Brainstorm.
  5. ^ Basken, Paul (20 June 2017). "Lessons From a Professor's 10-Year Fight to Rein In Pharmaceutical Promotion". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  6. ^ "Women & the Opioid Epidemic - NWHN". 26 January 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  7. ^ Fugh-Berman, Adriane. "5 myths about opioids". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Rx For Change: Obfuscating Opioid Risks - NWHN". 21 September 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Boston Review — Adriane Fugh-Berman: Selling Diseases". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Rx for Change — Binge-Eating Disorder: Another Invented Disease Brought to You by Pharma". 27 May 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  11. ^ Huo, Samantha; Scialli, Anthony R; McGarvey, Sean; Hill, Elizabeth; Tügertimur, Buğra; Hogenmiller, Alycia; Hirsch, Alessandra I; Fugh-Berman, Adriane (2016). "Treatment of Men for "Low Testosterone": A Systematic Review". PLOS ONE. 11 (9): e0162480. Bibcode:2016PLoSO..1162480H. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0162480. PMC 5031462. PMID 27655114.
  12. ^ Fugh-Berman, Adriane; Scialli, Anthony R (2017). "Testosterone and sexual function". Current Opinion in Urology. 27 (6): 516–518. doi:10.1097/MOU.0000000000000438. PMID 28795961.
  13. ^ Fugh-Berman, Adriane; McDonald, Christina Pike; Bell, Alicia M; Bethards, Emily Catherine; Scialli, Anthony R (2011). "Promotional Tone in Reviews of Menopausal Hormone Therapy After the Women's Health Initiative: An Analysis of Published Articles". PLoS Medicine. 8 (3): e1000425. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000425. PMC 3058057. PMID 21423581.
  14. ^ Fugh-Berman, Adriane J (2010). "The Haunting of Medical Journals: How Ghostwriting Sold "HRT"". PLoS Medicine. 7 (9): e1000335. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000335. PMC 2935455. PMID 20838656.
  15. ^ Meixel, Antonie; Yanchar, Elena; Fugh-Berman, Adriane (2015). "Hypoactive sexual desire disorder: Inventing a disease to sell low libido". Journal of Medical Ethics. 41 (10): 859–62. doi:10.1136/medethics-2014-102596. PMID 26124287.
  16. ^ Hogenmiller A; Hirsch A; Fugh-Berman A. (June 14, 2017). "The Score is Even. Bioethics Forum". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  17. ^ Hirsch A; Rebecca Holliman R; Berman A. (March 17, 2015). "The Drug that Cried "Feminism". Bioethics Forum". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  18. ^ "September 25, 2015 – Journal of Medical Ethics blog". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Taking Sides: Should ob/gyns prescribe flibanserin for their patients?". Contemporary OB/GYN. 18 July 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  20. ^ "EpiPens and the Sale of Fear". The Hastings Center. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  21. ^ "RX for Change: The Real Cost of EpiPen Shots? Peanuts! - NWHN". 9 May 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  22. ^ Fugh-Berman, Adriane. "EpiPens are oversold and overused - Opinion". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  23. ^ Fugh-Berman, Adriane. "Doctor: My criticism of EpiPens accurate - Opinion". Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  24. ^ Wood, Susan F; Podrasky, Joanna; McMonagle, Meghan A; Raveendran, Janani; Bysshe, Tyler; Hogenmiller, Alycia; Fugh-Berman, Adriane (2017). "Influence of pharmaceutical marketing on Medicare prescriptions in the District of Columbia". PLOS ONE. 12 (10): e0186060. Bibcode:2017PLoSO..1286060W. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0186060. PMC 5656307. PMID 29069085.
  25. ^ Sah, Sunita; Fugh-Berman, Adriane (2013). "Physicians Under the Influence: Social Psychology and Industry Marketing Strategies". The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. 41 (3): 665–72. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2286433. PMID 24088157.
  26. ^ Saavedra, Keene; O'Connor, Bonnie; Fugh-Berman, Adriane (2017). "Pharmacist-industry relationships". International Journal of Pharmacy Practice. 25 (6): 401–410. doi:10.1111/ijpp.12333. PMID 28097713.
  27. ^ o'Connor, Bonnie; Pollner, Fran; Fugh-Berman, Adriane (2016). "Salespeople in the Surgical Suite: Relationships between Surgeons and Medical Device Representatives". PLOS ONE. 11 (8): e0158510. Bibcode:2016PLoSO..1158510O. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158510. PMC 4972437. PMID 27486992.
  28. ^ Kucab, Philip; Stepanyan, Katelyn Dow; Fugh-Berman, Adriane (2016). "Direct-to-consumer Marketing to People with Hemophilia". PLOS Medicine. 13 (6): e1001996. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001996. PMC 4907439. PMID 27299305.
  29. ^ Fugh-Berman, Adriane; Melnick, Douglas (2008). "Off-Label Promotion, On-Target Sales". PLoS Medicine. 5 (10): e210. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050210. PMC 2573913. PMID 18959472.
  30. ^ Fugh-Berman, Adriane; Ahari, Shahram (2007). "Following the Script: How Drug Reps Make Friends and Influence Doctors". PLoS Medicine. 4 (4): e150. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040150. PMC 1876413. PMID 17455991.
  31. ^ Fugh-Berman, Adriane (2013). "How Basic Scientists Help the Pharmaceutical Industry Market Drugs". PLoS Biology. 11 (11): e1001716. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001716. PMC 3833865. PMID 24260026.
  32. ^ Fugh-Berman, Adriane J; Scialli, Anthony R; Bell, Alicia M (2010). "Why lunch matters: Assessing physiciansʼ perceptions about industry relationships". Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions. 30 (3): 197–204. doi:10.1002/chp.20081. PMID 20872775.
  33. ^ Fugh-Berman, Adriane; Hogenmiller, Alycia (2016). "CME stands for commercial medical education: And ACCME still won't address the issue". Journal of Medical Ethics. 42 (3): 172–3. doi:10.1136/medethics-2015-103131. PMID 26676848.
  34. ^ "EpiPen Furor: Patient Groups Take Money, Stay Mum". The Hastings Center. 29 August 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  35. ^ "Pharma-Free Groups". Retrieved 29 January 2018.

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