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OBR OncologyMajor Lawsuit Against Cancer Charity Offers Reminder to Oncologists

Lawsuit Reveals Deceptive Practices in Cancer Charity: Implications for Physician Engagement and Patient Advocacy

In a recent development, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 10 states have filed a lawsuit against Cancer Recovery Foundation International and its operator for allegedly misleading donors. The lawsuit claims that donations intended for cancer patients were diverted to for-profit fundraisers and the foundation’s operator, highlighting the importance of due diligence in charity engagement, especially for physicians. Below are the key points for physicians to consider.

Key Points:

  • The lawsuit alleges that the Women’s Cancer Fund diverted a significant portion of donations—meant for patients and their families—towards for-profit fundraisers and the foundation’s operator.
  • Only a fraction of the $18 million collected from donors between 2017 and 2022 was actually used to support patients, with the majority going to overhead costs and personal compensation.
  • The FTC and 10 states are pursuing legal action, citing violations of consumer protection laws, including the FTC Act and state consumer protection laws.
  • This case underscores the necessity for physicians to thoroughly research charities before recommending them to patients or engaging with them professionally.
  • Charity Navigator is recommended as a resource for evaluating charitable organizations, with the Women’s Cancer Fund receiving a zero-star rating.
  • Physicians should prioritize asking core questions about a charity’s mission, alignment with professional values, and track record in fulfilling its mission when considering engagement.
  • The initial scheduling conference for the case is set for June 7, 2024, indicating ongoing legal proceedings and potential repercussions for the charity sector.

“It’s important that donors take the time and do some due diligence to ensure that the organization they are supporting is trustworthy and impactful.”
– Kevin Scally, Chief Development Officer for Charity Navigator

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