United States Senate
Committee on Finance
Washington, DC 20510=6200

December 7, 2009
Via Electronic Transmission
Laurie Flynn
Executive Director
TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University
1775 Broadway, Suite 610
New York, NY 10019

Dear Ms. Flynn:
The United States Senate Committee on Finance (Committee) has jurisdiction
over the Medicare and Medicaid programs and, accordingly, a responsibility to
the more than 100 million Americans who receive health care coverage under
these programs. As Ranking Member of the Committee, I have a duty to protect
the health of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and safeguard taxpayer
dollars authorized by Congress for these programs.

For the last three years, the Committee has been looking into various aspects
of the pharmaceutical industry, including consulting arrangements, and industry
funding for Continuing Medical Education (CME). My inquiry was spurred, in
part by press accounts documenting the lack of transparency in the relationships
between the pharmaceutical industry and nonprofit organizations. For instance,
in April 2008, The Wall Street Journal reported that industry representatives,
including ten major drug companies, formed a coalition to promote looser
restrictions on off-label marketing.

1 The coalition asked the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to speak in favor
of this issue.

On October 6th of this year, I sent letters to all fifty state chapters of NAMI
asking them to disclose income from pharmaceutical companies. In that letter, I
explained that NAMI National receives almost two-thirds of its funding from the
drug industry.

2 I learned recently that a few days after I sent those letters, one
of the founders of NAMI and member of the NAMI National Board of Directors
emailed his resignation, stating that he was shocked at NAMI’s reliance on
pharmaceutical industry funding. In particular he said: “This financial dependency
presents a number of problems.”

1 Alicia Mundy, “Off-Label Use of Drugs Gets a Push — Big Pharma Lobbies
Washington to Relax Rules on Marketing,” The Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2008.
2 Gardiner Harris, “Drug Makers Are Advocacy Group’s Biggest Donors,” New York
Times, October 21, 2009.

In response to my concerns, NAMI began to disclose publicly on its website, any
amount of funding exceeding $5,000 that it received from pharmaceutical companies
and other foundations. This decision in favor of transparency by NAMI is encouraging.

In April of this year, the Institute of Medicine issued a report endorsing
transparency and stating that protections against conflicts can be established without
inhibiting productive relationships between medicine and industry to improve medical
knowledge and care. I am hoping you can assist me in this effort by providing additional
insights into these relationships as well as any changes in transparency that your
organization may be planning for in the future. Operating with transparency sends a
message that there is nothing to hide.

Accordingly, I would appreciate an accounting of industry funding that
pharmaceutical, medical device companies, foundations established by these companies
or the insurance industry have provided to the TeenScreen National Center for Mental
Health Checkups at Columbia University (TeenScreen) (The term “industry funding”
means any transfer of value, including but not limited to grants, donations, and
sponsorship for meetings or programs, etc.) This request covers the period of January
2006 to the present.

Because reporting practices vary widely from one charitable organization to
another, I would appreciate you also placing this income into a chart, detailing annual
amounts of industry funding. For each year, please provide the following information

1) Year;
2) Name of company;
3) Amount of funding; and
4) Reason(s) that the funding was provided.

In addition, please explain TeenScreen’s policies for accepting industry funding
and the disclosure requirements of your top executives and board members by
answering the following questions. For each question, please respond by first
repeating the enumerated question followed by the appropriate answer. Again,
this request covers the period of January 2006 to the present:

1) Please describe the policies for accepting industry funding and whether or not
TeenScreen allows companies to place restrictions or provide guidance on how
funding will be spent.

2) If TeenScreen allows companies to place restrictions on industry funding, then
please explain all restrictions and/or guidance for each transfer of value from
industry. For every transfer of value with a restriction, please provide the
following information: year of transfer, name of company, and restriction placed
on funding.

3) Please explain what policies, if any that TeenScreen plans to adopt to ensure
transparency of funding in order to provide a greater public trust in the
independence of your organization.

4) Please explain your policies on disclosure of outside income by your top
executives and board members.

5) Please provide the disclosures of outside income filed with your organizations by
your top executives and board members.

In cooperating with the Committee’s review, no documents, records, data or
information related to these matters shall be destroyed, modified, removed or
otherwise made inaccessible to the Committee.

I look forward to hearing from you by no later than December 21, 2009. All
documents responsive to this request should be sent electronically in PDF format
to Brian_Downey@finance-rep.senate.gov. If you have any questions, please do
not hesitate to contact Paul Thacker or Brian Downey of my Committee staff at
(202) 224-4515.

Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member