Category: bpnonuwp

WestJet goes pink to support breast cancer awareness

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> WestJet goes pink to support breast cancer awareness Monday, October 1, 2018 Tags: Charity, WestJet Sharecenter_img TORONTO — WestJet and over 13,000 WestJetters are rallying together to support breast cancer awareness initiatives during the month of October through uniform updates, the CIBC Run for the Cure and fundraising campaigns.For the third consecutive year, WestJetters’ uniforms will look a little pinker in October with custom-designed pink neckwear and hats that have been made available to employees with 100% of the purchase price going to the Canadian Cancer Society.New for 2018, pink ‘personality’ pins were created and are available by donation for WestJetters to show their support year-round.As the official airline of the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure, WestJet has raised more than $441,000 for breast cancer research and programs since 2013.“As a proud supporter of the Canadian Cancer Society and the breast cancer cause, we are delighted that WestJetters have raised more than $441,000 in the last five years for life-saving breast cancer research and programs through our annual fundraising campaigns,” said Richard Bartrem, WestJet Vice-President Marketing Communications.More news:  Virgin Voyages de-activates Quebec accounts at FirstMates agent portal“Over half of our workforce is represented by women and it’s incredible to see us continue to unite together and show what our caring spirit can do in support of a tremendous cause. We are committed to making breast cancer beatable and will be proudly wearing pink this month to help bring awareness to those who have been affected by the disease.”On Sept. 30, some 40 teams of more than 360 WestJetters and their families will also participate in the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure, at over 18 locations across Canada.Carly Schur, National Director of Corporate Programs for the Canadian Cancer Society, notes that progress is being made against breast cancer, with the survival rate for the disease now at 87%. “More work needs to be done because breast cancer is still the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among women in our country. We are very thankful for WestJet and our other partners who are committed to funding breast cancer research, awareness and support programs, while also participating in the CIBC Run for the Cure which engages Canadians in this work,” said Schur. Travelweek Group Posted bylast_img read more

Report Examines Abusive Practices Offers Reform Ideas

first_img in Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Report Examines Abusive Practices, Offers Reform Ideas A new report from the “”Center for Responsible Lending””:http://responsiblelending.org/ (CRL) asserts that while changing reforms have mitigated the impact of pre-crisis lending behaviors, the mortgage industry still has a long way to go before it’s completely out of the woods.[IMAGE]The report, titled “”_The State of Lending in America and its Impact on U.S. Households_””:http://www.responsiblelending.org/state-of-lending/State-of-Lending-report-1.pdf, is the first in a series of three documents created to examine how the common working family is coping with debt and stagnant incomes. The report covers major CRL findings and incorporates research from the Federal Reserve, the Pew Research Center, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).The report suggests that although there are numerous financial risks associated with purchasing a home, homeownership is still one of the safest, most accessible ways to build wealth in the United States. The equity acquired through long-term homeownership is often used to pay for retirement, unemployment, college, and healthcare–all categories that receive relatively little subsidization from the government–making “”the American dream”” all the more important for families.However, poor consumer protection and predatory lending practices have made the achievement of that dream a problem for many households. According to CRL, the “”spillover”” cost of foreclosures brought on by the financial crisis has wiped out nearly $2 trillion in family wealth, turning back the clock on previous equity gains. That damage has yet to be addressed, the report says.CRL also points to evidence of discrimination in predatory lending. In general, non-white borrowers between 2004-2008 were much more likely to see risky features in their loans, including prepayment penalties and higher rates. For example, African-American borrowers were 2.8 times as likely to receive a high interest rate, while Latino borrowers were 2.3 times as likely to receive a loan with a prepayment penalty. The result, the report says, is the “”largest documented wealth gap ever between white households and families of color.””Adding to the problem is the fact that the current marketplace is leaning toward a dual mortgage market “”where only the highest-wealth borrowers with near-perfect credit can gain access to the conventional market, while lower-income and minority borrowers who can be successful home owners are relegated to more expensive FHA loans, or find credit largely unavailable.””With that risk in mind, CRL makes three recommendations going forward. First, “”[p]olicymakers should not weaken or undermine the mortgage reforms established in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, because this could result in future abusive lending and the possibility of a new foreclosure crisis.””Second, servicers and policymakers should promote reasonable foreclosure alternatives, including providing full and fair consideration to loan modifications.Finally, mortgage finance reform needs to keep a balance between borrower protections and broad market access. In the report’s foreword, “”Systemic Risk Council””:http://www.pewtrusts.org/our_work_detail.aspx?id=328809 chair Sheila Bair emphasizes the importance of these reforms and warns of the fallout that may occur if CRL’s recommendations go unheeded:””If abusive lending practices are not reformed, we again will all pay dearly,”” Bair writes. “”Abusive practices not only harm the family that loses its home to an unaffordable mortgage ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ª they also profoundly harm neighborhoods, communities, and cities, and hold back our entire economy.”” December 12, 2012 455 Views center_img Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Home Equity Investors Lenders & Servicers Loan Modification Prepayments Regulation Service Providers 2012-12-12 Tory Barringerlast_img read more

Langley Federal Credit Union Adopts Symphony Platform

first_img Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2013-03-19 Tory Barringer March 19, 2013 449 Views Langley Federal Credit Union Adopts Symphony Platform “”Mortgage Cadence LLC””:http://www.mortgagecadence.com/home.aspx, a provider of Enterprise Lending Solutions (ELS) Technology and document and compliance services, announced that “”Langley Federal Credit Union””:http://www.langleyfcu.org/index.html (FCU) in Virginia will now use Mortgage Cadence’s Symphony platform to support its expanding mortgage program.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]According to a press release, “”Symphony is one of two comprehensive Enterprise Lending Systems offered by Mortgage Cadence and is known for both the enhanced experience it offers borrowers as well as the efficiencies it enables for mortgage lenders.””””Langley FCU’s newly vitalized mortgage lending program offers the tremendous opportunity to provide our members with the best in home financing experiences while at the same time positioning the credit union to be the leading lender in the area,”” said Dave Mariniak, VP of real estate lending at Langley. “”Being easy to do business with and providing exceptional service are two key aspects of our strategic plan, and this platform fits well with these goals.””””We are pleased to welcome Langley Federal Credit Union to the Mortgage Cadence and Symphony family,”” said Mortgage Cadence CEO Michael Detwiler. “”Symphony has served the credit union community well for over a decade. We’re proud to continue on and expand its tradition and track record.””center_img in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Sharelast_img read more

Tourism of Chile

first_imgTourism of Chile The National Service of Tourism of Chile (SERNATUR) has appointed GTI Tourism to drive its sales, marketing and PR activities in Australia, effective immediately.GTI Tourism will focus on trade engagement, consumer marketing and public relations to generate year-round interest and demand for holidays to Chile amongst Australians. The targeted strategy will also aim to increase length of stay and spend of Australian visitors, and overall position Chile as a standalone destination.“We have ambitious goals to grow our inbound tourism numbers and we believe the Australian market is an important part of achieving this,” said SERNATUR, trade and press manager, Adrien Champagnat.“Australians are prioritising international travel and have a thirst for the type of adventurous, nature-based holidays Chile has to offer. With air capacity continually increasing, there has never been a better time for Australians to visit.” last_img read more

Guest services had a busy week last week On Monda

first_imgGuest services had a busy week last week. On Monday, Sept. 26, a group of 40 architecture students from Dinah’s back-ground is in Law and Public Administration. The new office of On-Site Tourism and Guest Services is at the first floor of the bell tower in the Crafts III building. [Photo & text: sa] October 7, 2005Cosanti Foundation welcomes Dinah Yessne to the new position of On-Site Tourism and Guest Services Manager. Dinah returned in mid September to start this position. Dinah completed her workshop in March 2003 and returned for three month in February 2005 to set up the Human Resources Department, which now is headed by Matteo Di Michele. [Photo & text: sa]Cosanti Foundation welcomes Dinah Yessne to the new position of On-Site Tourism and Guest Services Manager. Dinah returned in mid September to start this position. Dinah completed her workshop in March 2003 and returned for three month in February 2005 to set up the Human Resources Department, which now is headed by Matteo Di Michele. [Photo & text: sa]last_img read more

EIB will lend Cypriot banks €85m

first_imgThe European Investment Bank (EIB) will lend Cypriot banks €85 million to be used to finance small and medium businesses, it was announced on Friday.The deal, which is guaranteed by the government, provides for €50 million to be given to Bank of Cyprus and €35m for Hellenic Bank.“I encourage the banks not to lose time and ensure that the money goes to good projects of good small companies,” EIB president Werner Hoyer said.Hoyer was asked whether he had received complaints that banks made it hard for people to borrow the money.He said he did but struck a note of caution, saying that the bank could have been overly careful due to the stress tests or simply because the project was not convincing.Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, who signed the loan deals on behalf of the state, was also aware of the problem.“We have discussed specific ways with the EIB and the banks to speed up the pace of implementing this schemes,” he said.The minister said granting government guarantees would increase the dispersal of funds to the real economy in sectors that were considered viable.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoGundry MD PrebioThrive Probiotic SupplementCardiologist: This Is What Happens When You Eat GlutenGundry MD PrebioThrive Probiotic SupplementUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Heavy rain and wind in mountains affecting road conditions police warn

first_imgPolice warned on Sunday afternoon that mountain areas had been hit by heavy rain and roads were slippery.Torrential rain was falling in Troodos, Platres and Palaichori, resulting in limited visibility for motorists, and the roads may be slippery, they said.In the Troodos and Platres areas, strong winds were also adding to the problemPolice advised motorists to drive at a low speed, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front and keep their lights on.You May LikeCalifornia Earthquake AuthorityMake earthquake insurance a family priorityCalifornia Earthquake AuthorityUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Rep VanSingels property rights bill approved by committee

first_img Categories: News,VanSingel News State Rep. Scott VanSingel’s legislation to streamline attorney requirements during the property management courtroom process in Michigan was approved by the House Law and Justice Committee today.“It should not be a requirement that a small limited liability company (LLC) hire an attorney for all property management-oriented cases,” said VanSingel, of Grant. “We allow individuals an option to represent themselves in court, so we should extend that opportunity to an informed owner with two or three properties.”Specifically, VanSingel’s legislation allows an LLC to be represented by the owner with direct knowledge of the property and facts of the case. The bill would have several requirements to waive the attorney requirement for such proceedings.VanSingel was joined by Kevin Tucci, property manager at Peak Properties LLC in Big Rapids, in speaking before the committee on May 16.“We have many small property owners in northwest Michigan who have been affected by regulation this bill is seeking to address,” VanSingel said. “We should allow those one-person LLCs the option to hire an attorney or not, instead of strictly requiring it for what could be a simple case of evicting a tenant for not paying rent. Let the property owners make that call themselves.”House Bill 4463, VanSingel’s first bill of the 2017-18 session, advances to the House for its consideration.State Rep. Scott VanSingel, of Grant, speaks before the House Law and Justice Committee on May 16. 30May Rep. VanSingel’s property rights bill approved by committeelast_img read more

Rep Reilly Affordable Energy Caucus endorses plan to save schools money through

first_img State Rep. John Reilly’s proposal to help schools across Michigan save money on their electricity bills has won the support of the state House’s bipartisan Affordable Energy Caucus.The caucus – a 15-member group which Reilly chairs – is dedicated to lowering energy costs in Michigan and reviews legislation with that goal. Reilly’s House Bill 4708 was supported by an overwhelming majority of the group’s members who were present and voting at a recent meeting.“The support of this caucus signals momentum for the legislation,” said Reilly, of Oakland. “Michigan’s electric choice programs have obvious benefits for schools and taxpayers.  The more schools we allow to take advantage of these programs, the more money taxpayers will save and the more money schools will have to invest directly in the classroom.”Reilly’s bill is pending in the House Energy Policy Committee. The legislation would allow all K-12 schools to buy electricity from any provider they choose.Currently, many schools do not have the option to capitalize on potential savings because Michigan law caps access to alternative energy suppliers at 10 percent of the market — and the cap has been reached.The Michigan Schools Energy Cooperative says the schools in its choice program have saved an average of $15 million a year statewide. Reilly said that is evidence all schools should have the option of buying power from alternatives to Consumers Energy and DTE.“An arbitrary and short-sighted state law is costing schools and taxpayers money,” Reilly said. “That needs to change.” 12Feb Rep. Reilly: Affordable Energy Caucus endorses plan to save schools money through electricity choice Categories: News,Reilly Newslast_img read more

Local residents can meet with Rep Noble on March 5

first_img State Rep. Jeff Noble will host an open office hour on Monday, March 5 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Plymouth District Library located at 223 S. Main St. in Plymouth.“I’m looking forward to connecting with community members at my monthly office hours,” Rep. Noble said. “Residents who are interested in discussing legislative matters or have questions related to state government are encouraged to stop by at their leisure.”No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Noble at 517-373-3816 or via email at JeffNoble@house.mi.gov. Categories: Noble News 26Feb Local residents can meet with Rep. Noble on March 5last_img read more

COLUMN We must explore new innovations for building better roads in Michigan

first_img Categories: Mueller News It is no secret our roads need to be fixed, and I believe it is time we begin exploring innovative solutions that will be beneficial to Michigan drivers for the long term.  Michigan has an opportunity to launch itself into the forefront as the state with fiscally responsible and environmentally friendly solutions to its’ crumbling infrastructure, and it has been very exciting to learn about some of the ideas being proposed here in our state and around the world.I recently had an opportunity to sit down with representatives from a Michigan-based Dow Chemical to discuss some of the innovative road solutions they are working on.  It was exciting to learn Dow has been piloting the concept of building roads using a mix of recycled plastic and asphalt, which was to be cheaper to construct and longer lasting. The idea is still being tested around the U.S. and Europe to measure durability under different temperatures and conditions, but the results thus far have been positive.Using plastic has particular advantages important for Michigan’s unique climate and economy, including weather resilience and vehicle durability under heavy truck usage.  With Michigan’s lake effect and freeze thaw, our roads are drastically different from our neighboring states, and this plan takes that into account. Additionally, plastic roads can cut landfill waste and reduce our environmental impact.  Reusing plastic could significantly reduce plastic being dumped into landfills, and Dow has already prevented 220,000 pounds of plastic bags from entering landfills by recycling them in roads.As discussions continue in the House over road funding, I want to stress the importance of keeping an open mind to fiscally responsible and environmentally friendly solutions.  The House Transportation Committee has made tremendous progress to this end, and we have had the opportunity to hear from many experts who build and maintain our roadways. However, I believe it is imperative to continue communicating with our local leaders as we work together to improve the quality of Michigan’s infrastructure.While plastic roads may not be the solution to all our road problems, it surely deserves some thought.  Michigan is known for testing and exploring new ideas, and, we have the workforce to continue finding new paths.  If we can focus on increasing quality and reducing costs, the state will not have to ask Michiganders to support another tax increase. I encourage everyone to talk with their local leaders about ways we can accomplish that goal, and I hope you will reach out to share your thoughts and questions. You can reach my office by calling (517)-373-1780 or emailing MikeMueller@house.mi.gov. 09May COLUMN: We must explore new innovations for building better roads in Michiganlast_img read more

Rep Hoitenga invites residents to July office hours

first_img Categories: Hoitenga News 10Jul Rep. Hoitenga invites residents to July office hours Rep. Michele Hoitenga of Manton announced her July office hours for residents of Wexford and Mecosta counties and part of Osceola County.“I am looking forward to another great round of office hours,” Rep. Hoitenga said. “I hope to see everyone there and discuss the things that are important to you.”Rep. Hoitenga’s office hours schedule is as follows:Friday, July 1911:30 to 12:30 p.m. at Cranker’s Coney Island, 213 S State St. in Big Rapids;1 to 2 p.m. at Pere Marquette Bistro & Catering, 102 E Upton Ave. in Reed City; and3 to 4 p.m. at Wexford County MSU Extension office, suite 400, 401 N Lake St. in Cadillac.Residents may also reach Rep. Hoitenga by contacting her Lansing office at (517) 373-1747 or MicheleHoitenga@house.mi.gov.last_img read more

Rep Hall town hall events featured in Marshall Chronicle

first_imgThe Marshall Chronicle wrote about a pair of recent events held by State Rep. Matt Hall and his special guest, State Rep. Jack O’Malley, chair of the House Transportation Committee. The two legislators spoke about road funding in the state of Michigan and sought input from area residents. To read more about the event, click here and navigate to pages 6 and 14. 15Jul Rep. Hall town hall events featured in Marshall Chronicle Categories: Hall Newslast_img

Rep Griffin sets July indistrict office hours

first_img16Jul Rep. Griffin sets July in-district office hours Categories: Griffin News State Rep. Beth Griffin, of Mattawan, will meet with area residents this month during office hours across her district.“I look forward to these face-to-face meetings with residents,” Rep. Griffin said. “Please stop by one of the locations and let me know what I can do to make state government work better for you.”Rep. Griffin will be available Monday, July 22 at the following times and locations:9 to 10 a.m. at Green Glass Coffee, 229 E. Michigan Ave. in Paw Paw;10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Hartford Township Hall, 61310 County Road 687 in Hartford;12 to 1 p.m. at Geneva Township Hall, 62127 County Road 380 in Bangor; and2 to 3 p.m. at Cooper Township Hall, 1590 W D Ave. in Kalamazoo.No appointments are necessary. Those who are unable to attend at the scheduled times but would like an opportunity to talk with Rep. Griffin may call her office at (517) 373-0839 or email BethGriffin@house.mi.gov.###last_img read more

Rep Huizenga Loan program will help Michigan farmers blasted by this years

first_img25Jul Rep. Huizenga: Loan program will help Michigan farmers blasted by this year’s record rain Rep. Mark Huizenga announced help is on the way for Michigan farmers whose crops were devastated by record rains this spring.House Bill 4234 was signed into law by the governor this week. The bill provides $15 million to help private lenders provide low-interest loans to qualified farmers. The state does not provide the loans, so there is no financial risk or liability to the state with this program. “This plan provides real relief at a time of real crisis for an industry vitally important to all of Michigan,” said Huizenga, of Walker. “This season has been devastating to farmers, and this loan program will help many survive it.”Michigan had very few days suitable for field work this spring. From May 2018 to May 2019, this year was the wettest 12-month period on record. As a result, only about 63 percent of corn seeds and 43 percent of soybean seeds were planted as of June 12, which means yields will be low.  Many farmers will be facing financial trouble as this crop season continues.Similar low-interest loan programs were approved for Michigan farmers in 2002 and 2012.##### Categories: Huizenga News,Newslast_img read more

Common sense not tax increases will fix our roads

first_img By state Rep. Jack O’MalleyHarsh winter conditions this past year ripped up our roads and left us with the question looming larger than ever: “What can we can do to get the road system repaired and maintained?”It became clear we needed to get smart fast.“Getting smart fast” began with 12 transportation committee hearings over seven weeks. We talked to everyone, public and private. If they were involved in roads, we invited them to come and give us their thoughts. How do you fix something if you don’t know how it works? We, as legislators, needed to know how building roads works and the outcome was a deep look at the process. Some true fixes became obvious.I wanted to explain to people in straightforward language, no double talk, what we had learned about what it was going to take to fix the roads. So, this spring I embarked on a tour of open-to-all “roads town halls” all across Michigan – – in communities both large and not so large.There is much we can do besides the old path of just raising taxes. How about good policy changes that get us spending smarter the money we get from, you, the taxpayer?Here’s an idea: since most agree the worst roads are “local”– that is, from driveway to highway – – let’s take away procedural barriers preventing local governments from making repairs. Michigan is the most restrictive state in what we don’t allow locals to do. We need to join the other 49 and be more helpful in getting those local roads fixed.Let’s set up an innovation board that will work with MDOT to investigate new technologies and designs that might help us maintain what we fix.Let’s make sure every tax dollar paid at the pump goes to the roads.  Michigan has the eighth-highest taxes paid at the pump in the country. There’s $855 million annually ready to be added to road repairs in the House budget plan that makes that change. Sounds like a winner to me.In every town hall, heads nod in agreement when I present these common-sense suggestions. But the governor’s 45-cent per gallon gas tax increase gets hooted down. There are so many ways we can stretch our existing dollars instead. It was amazing to me that this has never really been a serious part of the discussion until now.I am thrilled the work from the House Transportation Committee that I chair is leading the way in the current discussion. As I have stated from the outset a plan is not just a budget. It is a quality budget with smart policy to make those dollars work harder and go farther.After hours of study and committee hearings, 14 town halls and over 2,000 miles traveled, I have spread the word. Common sense has a strong foothold in the House Republican efforts to get our roads fixed without raising your taxes!Let’s hope the governor sees the light.### 18Jul Common sense, not tax increases, will fix our roads Categories: News,O’Malley Newslast_img read more

Rep Schroeder announces August office hours

first_img Categories: Schroeder News 22Jul Rep. Schroeder announces August office hours State Rep. Andrea Schroeder invites residents to her in-district office hours on Monday, August 12 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at The Coffee Bucket, 3549 Airport Road in Waterford.“I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect with the people in our community each month and use those conversations to provide the best representation possible,” Rep. Schroeder said. “I hope to see you there and look forward to your thoughts and ideas.”No appointment is necessary, all are welcome to join. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Schroeder at (517) 373-0615 or via email at AndreaSchroeder@house.mi.gov.last_img read more

Rep Green Caro Center is on path to closure under governors plan

first_img30Jul Rep. Green: Caro Center is on path to closure under governor’s plan State Rep. Phil Green, of Millington, issued the following statement after the Department of Health and Human Services announced today that there would be no expansion or improvement at the Caro Center in Tuscola County:“The governor’s plan, whether she acknowledges it or not, is a back door closure of the Caro Center. The point of the appropriation made by the 99th Legislature was to provide an update to the current facility so that it could remain operational. The facility as it stands today is already on the path to closure. Without needed and promised repairs, the current facility could soon pose a safety risk for the many patients and residents who depend on quality care, as well as staff members of the Caro Center. The governor must fulfill that promise in order for the facility to remain viable.“The people of Michigan rely too heavily on our facility to risk the center being shut down, and that’s what will happen in the very near future if the governor does not recognize the need for an improved facility. I urge the governor to reconsider her decision and think carefully about the people who rely on the exceptional care that the Caro Center has provided to Michigan residents for decades.” Categories: Green Newslast_img read more

You Are What You Eat 80 of Patient Advocacy Groups Take Money

first_imgShare124TweetShare6Email130 SharesPublic Domain. [CC 0]March 1, 2017; ReutersReaders may remember that even as legislators got incensed about a 400 percent increase in the price of EpiPens, patient advocacy groups were relatively silent. Instead of opposing the price hike, the groups kept busy in creating the market conditions that would allow such gouging. In fact, pharmaceutical companies seem to have made it a central part of their business plans to charge out-of-control prices and then fund groups to help to offset those prices with charitable give-back programs. These kinds of relationships can lead to other problems, of course, especially when the corporate funders are in leadership positions on the governing board, as we have previously described.Those following the emergence of this story will find no surprises in hearing that the norm for so-called patient advocacy organizations is close financial ties to companies involved in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices. The fact that taking such funding appears to be the dominant modus operandi in the field makes the serious conflict of interest issues raised by this all the more acute.An article yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine reports on the findings of a study that investigated 104 of the largest of these nonprofit organizations. More than eight in ten get financial support from such corporations, more than a third have at least one industry representative on their governing body, and 12 percent have an industry official listed as leading the board.“Concerns have been raised that industry-supported patient-advocacy organizations have spoken out for access to drugs with questionable therapeutic benefit and remained silent on policy proposals, such as drug-pricing reforms, that might benefit their constituents,” writes the research team from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who believe that the influence of the corporations is understated even in this study.What they did find, however, is nothing short of shocking. Many of the organizations, none of which has an annual budget under $7.5 million, are far less than transparent on their sources of revenue and board members. Still, around 40 percent of the groups studied received at least $1 million a year from these industries. Only 12 percent of the organizations posted conflict-of-interest policies on their websites.To cite one example of funding levels, the National Hemophilia Foundation reveals in its 2014 annual report that it received 50 percent to 83 percent of its annual revenue from drug or device companies.The foundation responded to Reuters Health with a statement saying that industry officials are prohibited from serving on its board and the organization “has never and will never advocate for any single treatment or group of treatments before legislators, or public and private payers. Instead, NHF advocates for all FDA-approved therapies, and will continue to fight to ensure that individuals with bleeding disorders have access to the therapies they need.”The American Diabetes Association, the Epilepsy Foundation, the Arthritis Foundation, the National Kidney Foundation, and the National Hemophilia Foundation each received at least 10 percent of their revenue from industry groups. However, those responding to Reuters’ inquiries said that donations don’t influence policy.For example, the Kidney Foundation, in a statement, said that although it does accept financial support from industry, “this support does not drive policy positions, priorities, mission or objectives” and the sole industry member on its 24-member board is prohibited from voting on matters related to that person’s business.The study’s authors recommend more transparency, and we suppose that is a start.Arthritis Foundation president Ann Palmer released a statement to Reuters Health, saying, “Our corporate partners pay to sponsor events and tools. To keep the needs of people with arthritis at the center of what we do, the Foundation makes advocacy and position decisions independently—our corporate partners do not shape our agenda or advocacy efforts.”Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress have stayed on the case. Earlier this month, they sent a letter to Kaléo Pharmaceuticals demanding to know why the price of their anti-opiate-overdose Naloxone injector had risen from $690 for a two-pack to $4500. Predictably, a new patient advocacy group, Patients for Affordable Drugs, is forming with the intention of providing a real voice to patients about such overpricing.—Ruth McCambridgeCorrection: This article has been altered from its original form to remove an organization that was erroneously listed among those who received 10 percent or more of their revenue from industry groups.Share124TweetShare6Email130 Shareslast_img read more