Saturday, September 8, 2018

Top Cancer Researcher Fails to Disclose


Top Cancer Researcher Fails to Disclose Corporate Financial Ties in Major Research Journals

One of the world’s top carcinoma doctors did not disclose many dollars in payments from drug and health care companies in recent years, omitting his financial ties from dozens of research articles in prestigious publications just like the New England Journal of drugs and therefore the Lancet.

The researcher, Dr. José Baselga, a towering figure within the cancer world is that the chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NY.

He has held board memberships or advisory roles with Roche and Bristol-Myers Squibb, among other corporations, has had a stake in start-ups testing cancer therapies, and played a key role within the development of breakthrough drugs that have revolutionized treatments for carcinoma.

According to an analysis by The NY Times and ProPublica, Dr. Baselga didn't follow financial disclosure rules set by the American Association for Cancer Research when he was president of the group.

He also overlooked payments he received from companies connected to cancer research in his articles published within the group’s journal, Cancer Discovery.

At an equivalent time, he has been one among the journal’s two editors in chief.

At a conference this year and before analysts in 2017, he put a positive spin on the results of two Roche-sponsored clinical trials that a lot of others considered disappointments, without disclosing his relationship to the corporate.

Since 2014, he has received quite $3 million from Roche in consulting fees and for his stake during a company it acquired.

Dr. Baselga didn't dispute his relationships with a minimum of a dozen companies. In an interview, he said the disclosure lapses were unintentional.

He stressed that much of his industry work was publicly known although he declined to provide payment figures from his involvement with some biotech startups.

“I acknowledge that there are inconsistencies, but that’s what it's ,” he said. “It’s not that I don't appreciate the importance.”

Dr. Baselga’s extensive corporate relationships — and his frequent failure to disclose them — illustrate how permeable the boundaries remain between academic research and industry, and the way weakly reporting requirements are enforced by the medical journals and professional societies charged with policing them.

A decade ago, a series of scandals involving the key influence of the pharmaceutical industry on drug research prompted the medical profession to strengthen its conflict-of-interest disclosure requirements.

Ethicists worry that outside entanglements can shape the way studies are designed and medications are prescribed to patients, allowing bias to influence practice.

Disclosing those connections allows the general public, other scientists and doctors to gauge the research and weigh potential conflicts.

“If leaders don’t follow the principles, then we don’t really have rules,” said Dr. Walid Gellad, director of the middle for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh.

“It says that the principles don’t matter.” The penalties for such ethical lapses aren't severe.

The cancer research group, the A.A.C.R., warns authors who fill out disclosure forms for its journals that they face a three-year ban on publishing if they're found to possess financial relationships that they did not disclose.

But the ban isn't included within the conflict-of-interest policy posted on its website, and therefore the group said no author had ever been barred.

Many journals and professional societies don't check conflicts and easily require authors to correct the record.

Officials at the A.A.C.R., the American Society of Clinical Oncology and therefore the New England Journal of drugs said they were looking into Dr. Baselga’s omissions after inquiries from The NY Times and ProPublica.

The Lancet declined to mention whether it might look into the matter.

Christine Hickey, a spokeswoman for Memorial Sloan Kettering, said that Dr. Baselga had properly informed the hospital of his outside industry work which it had been Dr.

Baselga’s responsibility to disclose such relationships to entities like medical journals. The cancer center, she said, “has a rigorous and comprehensive compliance program in situ to promote honesty and objectivity in the research project .”

Asked if he planned to correct his disclosures, Dr. Baselga asked reporters what they would recommend.

during a statement several days later, he said he would correct his conflict-of-interest reporting for 17 articles, including within the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet and therefore the publication he edits, Cancer Discovery.

He said that he did not believe disclosure was required for dozens of other articles detailing the early stages of research.

“I have spent my career caring for cancer patients and bringing new therapies to the clinic with the goal of extending and saving lives,” Dr. Baselga said within the statement.

“While I even have been inconsistent with disclosures and acknowledge that fact, that's a far cry from compromising my responsibilities as a physician, as a scientist and as a clinical leader.”


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