The director of an Oregon pediatric gender clinic received thousands of dollars in 2018 from a pharmaceutical company that produces puberty blockers, data reviewed by The Daily Wire shows.
Kara Connelly, the director of the gender clinic at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, has received at least $3,114 from Endo Pharmaceuticals, data from the United States government’s Open Payments transparency program reveals.
Connelly received the sum across nine separate payments for consulting, travel, and lodging. Overall, she received $2,110 for consulting, $815 for travel and lodging, and $189 for food and beverages. Each of these payments occurred in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available.
Open Payments data reveals that Connelly was compensated for consulting services directly related to Supprelin LA, a product of Endo Pharmaceuticals that is used off-label as a puberty blocker. The Food and Drug Administration has warned that Supprelin LA, which has a list price of $37,000, may carry the risk of causing brain swelling and permanent vision loss.
An analysis by ProPublica found that “doctors who received payments linked to specific drugs prescribed more of those drugs.” The report went on to add that “On average, across all drugs, providers who received payments specifically tied to a drug prescribed it 58% more than providers who did not receive payments.”
Franny White, a senior media relations specialist at Oregon Health and Science University, defended Connelly in a statement, saying the collaboration was done in compliance with ethics guidelines and state and federal regulations.
“As part of its mission to ensure the health and well-being of all patients, Oregon Health & Science University collaborates with a variety of external entities. External collaboration is done in accordance with OHSU’s strict ethical guidelines as well as federal and state regulations. OHSU pediatrician Kara Connelly, M.D., briefly served as a consultant for Endo Pharmaceuticals in 2018, and has not done so since that time,” White said in a statement to the Daily Wire.
“OHSU proudly offers gender-affirming health care to patients of all ages,” White continued, adding that the hospital’s medical transition of minors “follows established, evidence-based medical standards, and are offered through a thoughtful, multidisciplinary process that involves both patients and their support systems.”
Connelly did not respond to a request for comment.
The Doernbecher Children’s Hospital explains that it offers “pubertal suppression,” which, citing WPATH, it says “gives adolescents time to explore their gender,” noting that “some teens may go on to transition with hormone therapy or surgery.”
The hospital even produced an informational guide on puberty blockers, which refers not to men and women or boys and girls, but “people with testicles” and “people with ovaries.” It also explains that some of the most commonly used puberty blockers are Supprelin LA from Endo Pharmaceuticals and Lupron Depot, from pharmaceutical company AbbVie.
Meanwhile, Connelly’s profile on the hospital’s website lists the Pediatric Endocrine Society (PES) under “memberships and associations.” PES touts AbbVie’s drug Lupron and Endo Pharmaceuticals’ drug Supprelin LA in its guide to pubertal suppression.
Connelly is just one of numerous children’s gender clinic directors who have received funds from pharmaceutical companies that produce puberty blockers.
Jeremi Carswell, the director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Gender Multispecialty Clinic, is one such doctor. She received $2,110 from Endo Pharmaceuticals in 2018 for consulting related to Supprelin LA and a total of $3,055 from the company, according to Open Payments data.
An article co-written by Carswell titled “Pubertal suppression for transgender youth and risk of suicidal ideation” had to be revised to note that Carswell “has received an advisory board stipend from Endo Pharmaceuticals.”
Stephen Rosenthal, the founder and director of the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Gender Center as well as a former president of the Pediatric Endocrine Society, took a total of $16,637 from Endo Pharmaceuticals and AbbVie Pharmaceuticals between 2015 and 2018.
Both Maja Marinkovic, the co-director of the Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego Center for Gender-Affirming Care, and Joshua Safer, the executive director of the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Surgery and Medicine, have taken thousands from Endo Pharmaceuticals for consulting services directly relating to the puberty-blocking drug.