Monday, 10 September 2018

MSK Cancer Center Orders Staff to ‘Do

Cancer Center

MSK Cancer Center Orders Staff to ‘Do a far Better Job’ of Disclosing Industry Ties

The chief executive of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center sent an email to all or any staff members on Sunday saying that the institution and its faculty “need to try to do a far better job” of disclosing their relationships with the drug and health care industries.

“The matter of disclosure is serious,” wrote the chief, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, along with Kathryn Martin, the chief operating officer.

The email, which was labeled an “important message,” referred on to a piece of writing published this weekend by The NY Times and ProPublica about the failure of Dr.

José Baselga, the cancer center’s chief medic, to disclose his extensive industry relationships in dozens of research articles since 2013.

The Times and ProPublica found that Dr. Baselga had received many dollars in consulting fees and in ownership interests in health care companies, but had often failed to disclose those ties in appearances at scientific conferences and in journal articles.

His reporting failures included articles in prestigious publications just like the New England Journal of drugs and therefore the Lancet also as in Cancer Discovery, a journal that he serves as one among two editors in chief.

Dr. Baselga acknowledged that he had frequently did not disclose industry connections, and said he planned to correct the record in 17 recent articles.

But he disputed whether he should have disclosed his ties in dozens of other cases, saying that the articles involved early-stage research that there was little financial implication for companies.

Several institutions, including The New England Journal of drugs and therefore the American Society of Clinical Oncology, has said they're looking into his disclosures.

The American Association for Cancer Research said it had also begun a review of Dr.

Baselga’s reporting practices. Dr. Baselga appears to possess violated disclosure rules while he was president of that organization in 2015 and 2016.

The A.A.C.R. also publishes Cancer Discovery.

In the email, Dr. Thompson and Ms. Martin described the rules for reporting industry relationships as “nebulous,” adding that “we got to work with journal publishers and professional societies to standardize the reporting process.”

They said they had been discussing the difficulty with ASCO, the cancer group, which has pushed for more standardized disclosure.

A decade ago, a series of scandals concerning hidden payments by drug companies to prominent physicians prompted medical journals and professional societies to strengthen their reporting requirements.

But as Dr. Baselga’s case et al. demonstrate, much is still left to the respect system. Medical journals have said they don’t routinely fact-check authors’ disclosures.

In comments to the days and ProPublica, The New England Journal of drugs acknowledged that the matter of failed disclosures is “widespread” and said it had been fixing place a far better system to trace authors’ disclosures.

Two of the articles that Dr. Baselga said he planned to correct were published therein journal.

Dr. Baselga has served since advance the board of Bristol-Myers Squibb, a major manufacturer of cancer drugs, and since 2017 on the board of Varian Medical Systems, which sells radiation equipment to cancer centers, including Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Dr. Baselga received nearly $3.5 million in payments from drug, medical equipment and diagnostic companies from August 2013 through 2017, consistent with Open Payments, a federal database that tracks payments to physicians from health care companies.

The bulk of that quantity, about $3 million, involved a payment from Genentech, a subsidiary of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, for Dr. Baselga’s ownership interest during the company it acquired, Seragon Pharmaceuticals, in 2014.

But that total amount doesn't include many companies with which Dr. Baselga has ties that don't report physician payments to the federal database because they're biotech start-ups with none products approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Baselga declined to supply a tally of the cash, he has received from such companies.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer The Center employs about 17,000 people and conducts hundreds of clinical trials.

In the email to staff, Dr. Thompson and Ms. Martin closed by affirming the worth of working with the health care industry.

“Collaboration with industry leaders, from early-stage start-ups to large corporations, is necessary to specialize in bringing better treatments to patients,” they said.

Christine Hickey, a spokeswoman for Memorial Sloan Kettering, said the cancer center had no further comment.

Charles Ornstein may be a senior editor at ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative journalism organization.

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