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Seven years ago, David Mitchell was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and, as he approached retirement last year, the former head of a public policy advocacy firm in Washington, DC, decided to take on a cause — drug pricing. So he approached the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, a philanthropy that is funding various research and pilot projects aimed at reining in drug costs. With their backing, Mitchell on Wednesday launched Patients for Affordable Drugs, a group that is devoted to injecting patient voices into the complicated and raucous debate. We spoke with him about the effort and this is an edited version of the conversation.

Pharmalot: What prompted you to do this?


Mitchell: In my former life at GMMB, the firm that I ran, I worked on drug pricing issues with people like Peter Bach of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Steve Pearson, who runs the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (both of whom run different efforts to lower drug costs). I had advised them separately on this issue and last June, when I was getting ready to retire, it dawned on me that this is what I wanted to do next with my life, which was fight as a patient.

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