According to a study recently published in The NEJM, greater than 80% of patient advocacy groups accept funding from drug and device companies. Additionally, The New York Times –who apparently paid to read the study (paywall warning)—found that drug company representatives sit on the boards of nearly 40% of these patient groups. Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the study’s authors, believes this represents a substantial conflict of interest. Are we surprised? Patient groups frequently form where a disease has insufficient treatment options and drug companies love operating where there is unmet need. But to be fair, they should probably disclose these donations when testifying in front of lawmakers. But you know the saying, making legislation / making hotdogs is a messy business.