Ryan adds controversial biotech billionaire to Health IT Advisory Committee

Paul Ryan speaking
House Majority Leader Paul Ryan nominated embattled biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong to a new health IT committee.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has appointed controversial biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong to the Health IT Advisory Committee.

A spokeswoman for Ryan told Politico that the Wisconsin representative has named Soon-Shiong to the 25-person committee established under the 21st Century Cures Act that will make health IT policy recommendations to National Coordinator for Health IT Donald Rucker.

RELATED: Doc’s quest to cure cancer makes headlines, but little scientific progress

Soon-Shiong has been the subject of several media investigations regarding his plan to cure cancer by 2020. Vinay Prasad, M.D., a hematologist-oncologist at Oregon Health and Science University, told STAT that Soon-Shiong’s cancer breakthroughs are “the most minuscule and vague findings.”

A subsequent report by Politico found that most of the money in Soon-Shiong’s research foundation funnels to other businesses that he owns, prompting an investigation by Utah’s legislative watchdog regarding donations to the University of Utah.

Soon-Shiong has vigorously denied the reports and requested retractions. His company’s website includes a large banner outlining examples of “false reporting.”

Last week Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed Norton Healthcare Vice President and CIO Steve Ready to the advisory committee. Sutter Health informatics executive Steven Lane has been appointed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The full committee is expected to be announced in July. 

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