With nearly a decade of medical writing and research experience, Michelle Llamas has become a trusted source for information on health conditions, high-risk prescription drugs and medical devices.
As Drugwatch’s senior writer, Michelle focuses on researching and writing about various medical conditions, health policy, COVID-19, LGBTQ health, mental health and women’s health issues — including talcum powder’s connection to ovarian cancer, complications following transvaginal mesh surgery and side effects of Essure birth control. She partners with experts, patients and caregivers to provide medical risk information to the public based on peer-reviewed research and science.
Michelle is passionate about patient advocacy and education. This is reflected in her ongoing partnership with the National Center for Health Research, a non-profit that conducts, analyzes, and explains the latest research and works with patients, consumers, and opinion leaders to use that information to improve their own health and to develop better programs, policies, and services.
In her volunteer work with NCHR, she has helped develop and obtain funding for workshops for journalists and medical writers in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, she helped NCHR obtain funding for a COVID-19 teleconference that presented the latest research from medical experts from universities and national agencies such as the National Institutes of Health to journalists and medical writers.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Michelle researched and wrote a COVID-19 guide, a guide to COVID-19 testing and A Patient’s Guide to Telemedicine, which have been used as resources by various organizations.
Peer-reviewed medical journals The Lancet and British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology cited her work on transvaginal mesh and women in clinical trials. Nova Science Publishers published her academic review of Essureal Journey: Concepts, Concerns and Considerations for Hysteroscopic Sterilization, and the Journal of Palliative Medicine published her letter to the editor, Tips for Palliative Care Professionals Treating Mesothelioma Patients.
Media outlets, consumer websites and patient organizations have also quoted Michelle and published her work. Mad in America published an article she wrote about mental health. HelloFlo relied on her as a source for information on loss of quality of life following transvaginal mesh surgery. Patient Safety Action Network used her quote regarding tendon problems with fluoroquinolone antibiotics. The digital magazine Medical Technology quoted Michelle on transvaginal mesh implants and has interviewed her on medical device lawsuits. Healthline cited an article Michelle wrote about Big Pharma’s role in clinical trials.
Renowned women’s health advocate Erin Brockovich shared Michelle’s piece, How the FDA Let Women Down, on her site. The article takes an in-depth look at how the FDA has approved drugs and medical devices that hurt women.
In April 2018, she covered the Tribeca Film festival premiere of The Bleeding Edge, a Netflix original documentary that exposes the dark side of the medical device industry.
Prior to the release of The Bleeding Edge, many of the experts featured in the documentary worked with Michelle. These experts include Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research; Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group; Jeanne Lenzer, an author and journalist; Angie Firmalino, founder of Essure Problems; and Tammy Jackson, an advocate for mesh patients.
Michelle and the Drugwatch team hosted a screening of The Bleeding Edge in Orlando. Michelle moderated as attorney Holly Ennis answered audience questions about medical devices and lawsuits surrounding them.
On the Drugwatch Podcast, Michelle takes a critical look at the drug and device industries. She interviews medical experts, patient advocates and consumers affected by dangerous drugs and devices. She has also appeared on radio shows and podcasts in the U.S. and Canada.
Some of her notable podcast guests include Dr. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen, Lisa McGiffert of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project, Erika Sward of the American Lung Association and Dr. Cammy Benton of Benton Integrative Medicine.
Michelle’s relationships with patients led her to begin Beyond Side Effects, a Drugwatch project that gives people injured by medical manufacturers a voice. Victims can help bring awareness to risky drugs and medical devices by sharing their stories on Drugwatch.
Ann Winslow was one of the people whose story Michelle told. Severe nerve damage after using Cipro and Levaquin antibiotics left Ann disabled. Tens of thousands of people saw Ann’s story.
Many people from the U.S. and abroad who told Michelle their stories still keep in touch with her.
Prior to working for Drugwatch, Michelle spent six years working with plaintiff’s injury law firms in Orlando. While at the firms, she developed the passion to fight for her clients and help them get justice against wrongdoers.
She continues to fight to spread awareness about medication and medical device safety as well as help people injured by the negligence of Big Pharma and the medical device industry.