PRESS RELEASE: Hospital bad behavior on display in 3rd Annual “Shkreli Awards”

For immediate release: Jan. 7, 2020

BOSTON— The Lown Institute released the 3rd Annual Shkreli Awards, a list of the top ten worst actors in health care from 2019, named for the infamous “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli.

Hospitals emerged as the new “winners” in 2019, with four Shkrelis awarded to hospitals showing exceptional prowess at profiteering and corruption. Most of these cases were nonprofit hospitals whose stated missions are to improve patient and community health, making their unethical behavior even more shocking.   

“Hospitals can’t stop following the money, even when it puts childrens’ lives at risk or ruins the financial health of families in their community,” said Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute.

“These organizations brand themselves as doing good but too often they are really just doing well. Shame on our Shkreli winners,” said Shannon Brownlee, senior vice president at the Lown Institute.

The top ten Shkreli Awards went to:

  1. The cancer doctor who hid millions in industry gifts, then got a “dream job” at a cancer drug company.
  2. The hospital that kept a vegetative patient on life support to boost transplant survival rates.
  3. The doctors, telemedicine company employees, and genetic testing lab employees who bilked Medicare for $2.1 billion in a genetic cancer test scam.
  4. The psychiatric hospitals that held patients against their will and drugged children.
  5. The hospital that pressured cardiologists to keep referring pediatric patients for surgery in-house despite disturbingly high mortality rates.
  6. The pharma executive who said, “addicts are to blame for their opioid addiction.”
  7. The private equity firm that took over nursing homes, leading to a surge of neglected and abused residents.
  8. The hospital that used a technicality to force a $900,000 medical bill on a new mother, who was also a hospital employee.
  9. The private equity firms that spent $28 million to defeat “surprise billing” legislation, as medical debt skyrockets.
  10. Several hospitals which claimed to care about patients but nevertheless sued them, garnished wages, and seized houses.

The Shkreli Award winners were determined by an esteemed panel of patient activists, clinicians, health policy experts, and  journalists. This year’s judges’ panel included:

  • Deborah Blum, MIT Knight Science Journalism Program
  • Shannon Brownlee, Lown Institute
  • Allen Frances, Duke University School of Medicine
  • Patricia Gabow, Lown Institute Trustee
  • Andrew Goldstein, Progressive Doctors
  • Merrill Goozner, Modern Healthcare
  • Mona Hanna-Attisha, Michigan State University
  • Emma Hoo, Pacific Business Group on Health
  • Amy Holden Jones, “The Resident” on Fox
  • Brian Klepper, Validation Institute
  • Alex Lawson, Social Security Works
  • Victor Montori, The Patient Revolution
  • Casey Quinlan, Mighty Casey Media
  • Vikas Saini, Lown Institute
  • Gary Schwitzer,
  • John Sellers, The Other 98%

Media Contact

Aaron Toleos
(978) 821-4620