The Addiction Policy Forum, a nonprofit that aims to help people with opioid addiction, is losing its biggest donor, PhRMA, a trade group and lobby representing the country’s leading pharmaceutical companies.
PhRMA will cut its donation from $8.1 million to $6 million in 2019 and end all support in 2020, according to Politico, who notes that the forum currently receives about 90% of its funding from PhRMA.
The news comes amid allegations that the forum mismanaged funds, spending much of them on an expensive Washington, D.C. office and a million dollar call center in Chicago, which some consider a failure. However, CEO Jessica Hulsey Nickel disputed those allegations.
“We are making some changes to programs and priorities for 2020 based on the grants we received and the funds we’ve been able to raise,” Nickel told Politico. “It is categorically false to claim that we have misused or mismanaged money.”
Nickel told the publication that the PhRMA funding was the result of a grant and always slated to end in 2020. Meanwhile, a PhRMA spokesperson told Politico “we are confident that the organization will remain at the forefront of efforts to save lives.”
The forum was established in 2015 with the goal of fighting addition. Since then, it’s established a national database of treatment resources and created various addiction toolkits and a national call center, which has seen questionable results.
Meanwhile, critics have bashed the forum for taking money from the pharmaceutical industry to begin with, as it’s large credited with starting the opioid epidemic.
Additionally, the forum laid off at least four employees in the fall, following high turnover and canceled products, Politico reported.