conflict of interest?
September 7, 2019

The House Oversight Committee has been investigating why the crew of a C-17 military transport plane making a routine trip from the United States to Kuwait to deliver supplies stayed at President Trump's Turnberry resort in Scotland, Politico reports.

The House panel reportedly sent a letter to the Pentagon in June inquiring about a number of military expenditures near the resort, including $11 million on fuel at Prestwick Airport in Glasgow, Scotland, which is the airport closest to Trump's resort. The letter also says the airport provided discounted rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members.

The Pentagon reportedly has not complied with the investigation so far. A senior Democratic aide said the Defense Department has not produced a single document related to the inquiry. "The committee will be forced to consider alternative steps if the Pentagon does not begin complying voluntarily in the coming days," the aide said.

Politico notes that the investigation raises the possibility that the military has helped keep the resort, which lost $4.5 million in 2017 but saw revenue increase by $3 million last year, afloat.

On previous trips to the Middle East, the C-17 landed at U.S. air bases in Germany, Spain, the Azores, and Italy to refuel, one person familiar with the trips said, but never in Glasgow, which is a commercial airport, meaning fuel is more expensive. If the plane did indeed need to stop in the U.K. to refuel, Politico reports, it could have landed at Lakenheath Air Base in England.

The Oversight Committee is also investigating Vice President Mike Pence's recent stay at Trump's resort in Doonbeg, Ireland. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

March 17, 2017

More than 80 percent of the largest nonprofit patient advocacy groups accept funding from drug and medical device companies, according to The New England Journal of Medicine. Industry executives sit on the governing boards of nearly 40 percent of the 104 top patient groups, and for some of them, industry donations make up more than half their annual income.

"Patient groups said they have taken steps in recent years to improve their financial disclosures and conflict-of-interest policies, and rejected the suggestion that they were influenced by their corporate donors," The New York Times reports. On the other hand, the president of the National Psoriasis Foundation said advocacy organizations like his and pharmaceutical companies don't necessarily have a conflict of interest because they're both "seeking to help serve the patient."

The study authors called these patient groups' transparency efforts "pathetic." As a possible remedy, they suggest drug and device companies themselves should report how much they donate to patient groups, just as they do with doctors. The Week Staff

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