Leading Cancer Researcher Failed to Disclose Industry Funding

An investigation by The New York Times and ProPublica has found that José Baselga, MD, PhD, chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, failed to disclose relevant industry ties in dozens of research articles since 2013.

Dr. Baselga, who has played a key role in developing breakthrough treatments for breast cancer, has held board memberships or advisory roles with corporations including Roche and Bristol-Myers Squibb. However, reporters found that Dr. Baselga failed to disclose his relationships with these companies in several articles published in high-profile medical journals like The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. Additionally, Dr. Baselga spoke positively about the results of two clinical trials without disclosing his connection to Roche, the studies’ sponsor, and violated American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) financial disclosure policy while he served as president of the group.

Dr. Baselga acknowledged his frequent disclosure failures in an interview with the Times, and he has said that he plans to correct the record in 17 articles. He also disputed the merits of certain allegations, claiming that not all of the articles cited in the report involved research with financial implications for companies with which he was involved, and therefore not all required disclosure.

The New England Journal of Medicine, AACR, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology have said that they are reviewing Dr. Baselga’s disclosure practices.

Sources: The New York Times, September 8, 2018; The New York Times, September 9, 2018.