Let’s hope Ohio patient advocacy groups will represent the interests of Ohio patients and taxpayers, not the interests of the drug companies during the upcoming debate over the Ohio Drug Price Relief Act. But it’s no sure bet these groups will do the right thing.

A recent national study also found the drug industry has put many of the nation’s largest patient advocacy groups on its payroll. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that 83 percent of the largest 104 patient advocacy groups got funding from drug companies – many receiving as much as 50 percent of their annual income from drug industry sources. Stories about this study appeared in the New York Times and in Kaiser Health News. Many health experts and medical professionals are troubled by these conflicts of interest, pointing out that patients and drugmakers don’t always have the same goals.

Remember: The drug industry will put tremendous pressure on Ohio’s patient advocacy groups to oppose the drug relief act. Let’s hope these groups do the right thing. Let’s hope they listen to their hearts and not their pocketbooks. Throughout this campaign we’ll be keeping an eye out for patient groups that might backslide on their commitment to Ohioans.