The Washington DC-based organization Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) has been churning out political ads on MSNBC and elsewhere, who are they?

From their Twitter account, PFCD seems like a legitimate organization but that is until you see their advertising then you really question what they are up to. PFCD is a 501c4, nonprofit, not tax-exempt but more political in nature than a 501c3.

The Advert

I don’t want to embed their whole advert on my blog to help promote it but it can be viewed here.

Obviously, it’s very scripted using the same language that a for-profit company or right-wing politician would use, it’s most likely written by a pharmaceutical. The advert links the price of medication to health care wait times; there is no linkage, and this is why their ad is very misleading. Like many similar ads, its aim is to obtain an emotional reaction and is very loose on facts.

Like typical pharmaceutical adverts, it doesn’t give the full person name, so just an actress.

PFCD says it was the “experience of a cancer patient” but there is no evidence that is the truth. The actress is senior which is the target audience they might be considering. They use the “crossed arms” body language for a reason.

It provides a phone number but doesn’t actually say what you are supposed to do with it. Is that the PFCD number? No, it’s the US Capitol switchboard. People could phone their representative to encourage them to do the opposite to what the advert suggests.

Strangely, none of the adverts appears on PFCD Twitter or Facebook feeds. However, people are communicating their displeasure with the organization across Twitter, and some on Facebook, which PFCD has not responded to.

It is typical behaviour of for-profit health care companies, pharmaceuticals and Republican politicians to lie about overseas health care systems in order to stoke fear about a similar being implemented in the US. The US runs a profit before people health care system so they are desperate that universal coverage should not happen there, can’t have all those billionaires losing so much money.

More About PFCD

This article by Rollcall outlines more about PFCD and the controversy around the advert, I got the following points from it:

  • PFCD shared an address with large Pharmaceutical companies
  • Lobbyists for PFCD also lobby for pharmaceuticals
  • The nonprofit does not disclose its funding
  • The adverts cost at least $5.3m [where did it get this funding from?]
  • Pharmaceuticals have spent $2.7m on similar advertising
  • Pharmaceuticals help launch PFCD [to create a nonprofit front for themselves?]
  • Many groups have distanced themselves from the PFCD ads
  • Pharmaceutical employees are listed on PFCD’s tax returns
  • PFCD has never reported any fundraising costs, does that suggest they are all funded by pharmaceuticals?

Nonprofits Working With For-Profits

Many nonprofits in the US have come under extreme scrutiny when they collaborate with for-profit health care companies and pharmaceuticals. It means they could lose their independent thinking and will kowtow to those they receive funding from. I experienced a similar incident in my career when an organization worked with a for-profit to produce scientific articles. There were calls for the nonprofit representative to resign also suggesting he should never work in the health care sector again. For-profits will write the outcomes before the research even starts.

Viewing the political adverts they are putting out, and given what Rollcall has outlined in its article, is PFCD compromised by pharmaceuticals? Has it been working for/with them all along? Has everything the organization communicated been written, influenced or paid for by pharmaceuticals? Can we trust anything that is sent out by this organization?

The Chairman of PFCD is Kenneth Thorpe, he is also listed as working for Emory University in Georgia and on the Board of Directors at Sanara MedTech, I understand he is a shareholder. He was previously working with the Clinton administration. Since he could be influenced by pharmaceuticals at PFCD how is this affecting what he does, researches and teaches at the university?


If it wasn’t for their political and misleading advert I would never have heard of PFCD. I have many questions regarding this organization and wonder how many similar ones exist in the US allegedly doing the bidding of for-profits? Do members of the public believe these ads? Do they research to find out the real facts?