PhRMA, Pfizer funded LGBT index scoring hospitals for promoting gender ideology

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Lt. Cmdr. Marissa Mayor, a general surgeon with Fleet Surgical Team 7, observes her patient prior to conducting a surgical walkthrough during a mass casualty drill to assess skills and coordination between integrated units aboard the amphibious assault ship USS America in the Philippine Sea, June 18, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Karis Mattingly)
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Karis Mattingly)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

By Mary Margaret Olohan
The Daily Signal

Both Pfizer and PhRMA funded the Human Rights Campaign’s “Healthcare Equality Index,” a tool that the far-left organization is using to push gender ideology into medical institutions across the nation.

The HRC’s Healthcare Equality Index sways the practices of hospitals and health care facilities by scoring them on whether they are adopting “LGBTQ+ inclusive patient, visitation and employment policies,” the Washington Free Beacon highlighted in a recent report.

“Over time and due to a decade of advancement in LGBTQ+ inclusion in daily life, health care facilities have worked harder than ever to increase their work to provide equitable care for the LGBTQ+ community,” the HRC boasts, “and now the [Healthcare Equality Index] survey reflects and promotes these efforts through its scoring criteria.”

The Healthcare Equality Index objectives make it clear that to be scored well, health care institutions must prove they are inclusive of LGBTQ patients, cultivating inclusive workplaces by promoting LGBTQ policies and benefits, and engaging publicly with the LGBTQ community.

Inclusivity in those contexts may mean allowing patients or employees to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity, rather than biological sex, or providing access to “gender-affirming care” —  a phrase used by activists to mask the grisly realities of transitioning, including hormones, puberty blockers, and surgeries to remove or “create” breasts, remove or “create” a penis, facial feminization, and more.

Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., earned a perfect score from the Healthcare Equality Index in 2022, the Free Beacon reported. The index uses a 100-point scale and awards points for things like displaying LGBT symbols, using patients’ preferred pronouns, asking what someone’s preferred pronouns are, conducting LGBT training sessions approved by the HRC, and more.

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The index also punishes hospitals that allow “discriminatory treatment that is in conflict with their non-discrimination policy” and requires hospitals to offer the same treatments to treat gender dysphoria as the hospital offers to treat other medical conditions. That means, as the Free Beacon noted, that if a hospital uses puberty blockers to treat early puberty, it also must allow their use for children who “identify” as transgender.

The HRC prominently features both Pfizer and PhRMA as funders: “The HEI was funded in part by generous grants from Pfizer Inc. and PhRMA,” its website says, referring to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group representing companies in the pharmaceutical industry.

Pfizer did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Signal. In a statement, PhRMA spokesman Brian Newell said that PhRMA supports and works with “a wide variety of organizations to help promote affordable access to health care.”

“Our work with HRC has primarily focused on issues impacting patient access and affordability, including for those with HIV, cancer, and other deadly diseases,” Newell added. “We were not involved in the development or release of this specific project.”

PhRMA declined to answer further questions about possible conflicts of interest.

Asked why hospitals across the country would implement the DEI recommendations, David Gortler, a former senior adviser to the Food and Drug Administration commissioner and current Ethics and Public Policy Center scholar, told The Daily Signal that “hospitals are no longer run by physicians following scientific evidence anymore; non-physician administrators outrank medical doctors in leadership hierarchy.”

“Hospitals are also too administrator heavy, affecting the practice of medicine,” he explained, noting that academia has the same problem. Gortler pointed to the surprisingly faculty-heavy student-teacher ratios at Yale and Harvard. Many of those people in academia and hospitals nowadays have irrelevant degrees, he suggested, and gain their positions through “H.R. departments, which are also fully saturated with leftists” that “keep hiring DEI people in order to force through unscientific policies.”

“It’s a very pernicious way of altering the practice of medicine,” he said. And the new generations of physicians coming into hospitals are “fully pre-indoctrinated by the aforementioned medical school administrators,” Gortler added.

“These are the next generation of pharmacists, physicians, and nurses, and they’re being taught to specifically ignore fundamentals of biology and data-driven findings,” he emphasized. “They’re not following what science is trying to tell us. That’s a really bad problem.”

Roger Severino, vice president of domestic policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal that Pfizer and PhRMA have turned to an “ideologically driven interest group to do the dirty work” because federal law prohibits them from “directly pushing their dangerous drugs on kids with gender confusion.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

“Pfizer and PhRMA are profiting off the broken lives of children who would have come to accept their bodies if only their natural development weren’t interrupted by their drugs,” Severino said. “Yet they continue to pay HRC to bully doctors and insurers into prescribing and paying for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones that are sold with a smile by Pfizer and PhRMA members. These companies have absolutely no shame.”

Jay Richards, director of the DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at The Heritage Foundation, similarly told The Daily Signal that “it’s a self-evident conflict of interest for private industry groups and drug companies to fund activist organizations that push ideological ‘medicine’ that creates lifelong patients for the drug companies.”

“But what should we say when those same activist organizations create score cards to reward those same drug companies with good publicity?” he asked rhetorically. “It’s hard to imagine a clearer case of cynicism masquerading as virtue.”

Those familiar with the topic will notice the Healthcare Equality Index’s similarities to the Corporate Equality Index, another Human Rights Campaign initiative thought to be behind Bud Light’s financially disastrous decision to use a biological male who “identifies” as a transgender woman, Dylan Mulvaney, as its public face.

Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, formerly was honored with HRC’s “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality” title. But HRC removed Anheuser-Busch from the list and suspended its Corporate Equality Index score over Bud Light’s response to public outrage over its promotion of Mulvaney, a biological man, as a woman.

“We don’t make this decision lightly,” Jay Brown, senior vice president of programs, research, and training at the HRC, told Business Insider, citing the growing number of Republican-led bills protecting children from irreversible sex-change surgeries, banning biological males from women’s private spaces, and prohibiting classroom discussions of sexual topics. The HRC opposes such legislation.

“This is about supporting the current and future workforce, as well as shareholders and consumers,” Brown added. “We’ve seen that when businesses center inclusion in both policy and practice, they come out on top, regardless of baseless, hateful attacks.”

HRC also revealed to Business Insider that it had pressured Anheuser-Busch in late April to release a statement supporting Mulvaney. That move came before the HRC’s subsequent punishment: stripping Anheuser-Busch of its score.

Even Fox News follows the directives of the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, “the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality.” The Daily Signal reported this week that for the past several years, Fox has received a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index, and a former Fox News employee also told The Daily Signal that the company frequently mentions its perfect score in employee-training materials.

According to Fox’s company handbook policies on gender transition, Fox News employees are allowed to use restrooms that align with their gender identity, permitted to dress in alignment with their preferred gender, and must also be addressed by their preferred name and pronouns in the workplace.

The HRC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Daily Signal.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

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