Dr. Leana Wen, Planned Parenthood’s new president, is serving until November as the Baltimore, Maryland, health commissioner.
But she has lobbied for the revelations of the private information of physicians — including their political affiliations, their views on abortion, and the contributions they may or may not have received from pharmaceutical companies.
But does she hold herself to the same standard?
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Wen — who emigrated from China when she was eight years old — launched a website back in 2014 called Who’s My Doctor, aimed at revealing personal information about doctors (the website is no longer online).
“I want doctors to see this as a positive thing for them, and I want patients to be asking for it, too,” Wen told Time magazine of the Who’s My Doctor website.
Dr. Joshua Kosowsky, vice chair and clinical director of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s emergency department, criticized these suggestions.
Kowosky co-authored a book, 2014’s “When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests,” with Wen.
“Disclosure about financial conflicts is one thing, but trying to put into words a physician’s philosophy on medical care is more complicated,” Kosowsky told The Boston Globe at the time.
“Feelings about rational care to curb unnecessary medical costs and end of life issues are important principles that doctors should be discussing with their patients,” he added, noting that it shouldn’t be more than a few sentences on the doctors’ websites.
As Fox News reported, when Wen succeeds Cecile Richards in November, she will be the first doctor to hold the position as head of Planned Parenthood in the past five decades — and will “also take the reins of the organization’s political wing.”
Wen has also criticized medical providers who receive outside funding, saying it changes their behavior and generally interferes with patient care.
“Dozens of studies have shown that when docs receive money from drug companies — even a free lunch — it does affect prescription behavior,” she said, according to Time.
Still, there appear to be some disconnects. In her own profile on the Who’s My Doctor website that she herself created, Wen said she believes “in practicing what we preach” — while listing $0 payments or gifts from any pharmaceutical or medical device companies.
Wen, however, received $600-plus for “travel and lodging” from E. R. Squibb & Sons, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, which directly matches gifts to Planned Parenthood; Bristol-Myers Squibb is also a corporate supporter of the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, says the Dollars for Docs database, as Fox News noted.
Wen is assuming the helm at Planned Parenthood as abortion procedures at the country’s largest provider are significantly overshadowing other health care services, despite the claims of “comprehensive women’s health care.”
The group’s most recent annual report indicates that Planned Parenthood facilities performed more than 320,000 abortion procedures in 2016-2017 alone — one-third of the annual abortions in the U.S.
Abortion procedures also dwarfed adoption referrals (3,889) and prenatal services (7,762) that year.
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Planned Parenthood performed 83 abortions for every one adoption referral, and its prenatal services have decreased steadily every year since 2009, from more 40,000 that year to fewer than 8,000 in 2016-2017, according to reporting from National Review.
See the video below, in which Leana Wen is interviewed in her role as Baltimore’s health commissioner.
And share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.