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Cancer groups to improve disclosures on pink wares

Michael Virtanen Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The nation’s two largest breast cancer charities have adopted guidelines for fuller disclosure by those selling pink products and services in their names, New York’s attorney general said Thursday.

The so-called best practices, adopted by Susan G. Komen For The Cure and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, include having companies disclose the specific amount that will be donated from each purchase. Companies using pink ribbons and similar symbols on products also are expected to state if a purchase triggers a donation or merely calls attention to the cause.

“These best practices, agreed to by the nation’s largest breast cancer charities, will help ensure that cause marketing campaigns provide the benefit that’s expected, and that we protect consumers, charities and above all, the women and families affected by this devastating disease,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

Other provisions call for the companies to disclose the nature of any in-kind contributions, whether there is a cap on their donation amount and to post on their websites the amount a campaign generated.

Schneiderman’s Charities Bureau has been reviewing related “cause marketing” campaigns of nearly 150 companies since last year, finding substantial donations but some confusing information about amounts.

Andrea Rader, a Komen spokeswoman, said the group worked with the New York attorney general to develop the best practices that it is using nationally.

“We are, of course, vitally interested in making sure consumers know when they spend a dollar where that money is going,” she said, noting there are more than 1,000 breast cancer charities in the U.S.

The Dallas-based charity raised $420 million in its last fiscal year, including roughly $50 million from commercial cause campaigns, Rader said. Komen spends 83 cents of every dollar on its mission programs of research, community health, outreach and education programs that include screenings, surgeries and living expenses for patients, she said.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation President Myra Biblowit said transparency in cause marketing has long been a priority. The New York-based foundation was ready and willing to adopt Schneiderman’s practices and already was complying with all 20 Better Business Bureau charitable accountability standards, she said.

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