Dr. Leana Wen, the new Planned Parenthood boss, believes in “practicing what we preach”.
A Chinese immigrant who fled her native country when she was eight, she has campaigned to reveal doctors’ private information including political affiliation, views on abortion and money they received from pharmaceutical companies.
But she herself did not disclose her affiliation or that she received money from outside firms, Fox News can disclose.
When she succeeds Cecile Richards in November, Dr. Wen will be the first doctor to hold the position in the last five decades. She will also take the reins of the organization’s political wing that will spend $20 million on pro-choice candidates in the upcoming midterm elections.
Wen is perceived as a less political leader compared to Richards, who previously called the Trump administration “the worst for women that I've seen in my lifetime,” while insisting that the organization is “non-partisan,” though its political arm never donates to Republican candidates.
But Wen isn’t starkly different from Richards. As Baltimore City’s health commissioner, she sued the Trump administration after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decided to cut funding from teen pregnancy prevention education. She won the suit and the program was kept in place.
In 2014, Wen launched a website called “Who’s My Doctor” aimed at revealing personal information about doctors, including their political affiliation, their views on abortion and whether they are receiving any outside funding.
"I want doctors to see this as a positive thing for them and I want patients to be asking for it too. This is the right thing to do."
“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. “This is the right thing to do.”
Wen’s suggestions were criticized by Dr. Joshua Kosowsky, vice chair and clinical director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s emergency department, who also co-authored a book 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,” he 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, though noting that it shouldn’t longer than a few sentenced on the doctor’s website.
The American Medical Association (AMA) declined to comment about the new Planned Parenthood president’s proposals. Kosowsky did not reply to Fox News’ request for a comment.
Wen also criticized medical professionals who receive outside funding as this changes their behavior and generally interfere 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.
But on her own profile on the “Who’s My Doctor” website that she created, Wen said she believes “in practicing what we preach” and listed $0 payments or gifts from any pharmaceutical or medical device companies.
But according to Dollars For Docs database, Wen received over $600 for “travel and lodging” from E. R. Squibb & Sons, L.L.C., a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Company that directly matches gifts to Planned Parenthood and is a corporate supporter of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion group.
Following the publication of this article, Planned Parenthood's press secretary Andrew Taverrite issued a statement on the controversy, denying that Wen received any payment.
"Dr. Wen has never accepted money from any drug company, has no knowledge of the reported payment, and we're looking into correcting it," he said. The Dollars For Docs database still lists Wen receiving a $617 payment from E. R. Squibb & Sons, L.L.C.
In response to repeated Fox News' questions about Wen's views on abortion and her political affiliation, Planned Parenthood also released the following statement.
"Dr. Wen supports access to the full range of reproductive health care, which includes safe, legal abortion. As a health care provider, Dr. Wen knows how important it is to ensure that patients have accurate information about all their options. Over 90% of abortions occur in the first trimester. Often, those performed after this point are done for reasons such as danger to the woman's life," Taverrite said in an email.
"As policy-makers discuss implementation of the Accountable Care Act, they should learn from China’s experience and decide whether they see medical care as a commodity or social provision."
"'Late term abortion' is not a medical term, but a phrase coined by anti-abortion activists who do not believe a woman should be able to make her own decisions about her own pregnancy, with consultation from her health care provider," he added, without disclosing Wen's political affiliation.
Since 2013, Wen has turned to advocacy and began writing articles on the topic. In one of the posts, she idolized communist China’s health care system under notorious leader Mao Zedong and decried reforms that took place in the 1980s that moved the system from inefficient universal health coverage to an insurance-based model.
“Today’s China is one of great disparity. The wealthy minority receives top-notch care, while the poor majority suffers from little access to care and no way to pay for it,” she wrote in an article for HuffPost.
“It wasn’t always this way. In the mid-20th century, China had universal health care with a robust primary care system. Millions of ‘barefoot doctors” provided basic medical services in villages, and attention to prevention ensured significant gains in life expectancy,” she added.
“[In 2013], America has a once-in-a-generation chance to fix our broken health care system,” Wen proclaimed. “As policy-makers discuss implementation of the Accountable Care Act, they should learn from China’s experience and decide whether they see medical care as a commodity or social provision, and what are the responsibilities of the government to ensure the health and well-being of its citizens.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.