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ResourcesHuman Research EthicsLet the Sun Shine into the Medical Ivory Tower – The Hastings Center (Adriane Fugh-Berman | September 2018)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Let the Sun Shine into the Medical Ivory Tower – The Hastings Center (Adriane Fugh-Berman | September 2018)

 


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In 2012, I coauthored a case report about the successful use of dietary supplements in treating a case of male infertility in the American Family Physician. Before it was published, I was surprised to receive a communication asking me to disclose the fact that I had written a textbook on dietary supplements. It had not occurred to me to disclose the publication of my then decade-old book, but I certainly should have, and I was impressed that the publication had actually checked up on me.

Would that more journals would follow AFP’s example. A joint New York Times and ProPublica investigation found that Jose Baselga, the chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, failed to disclose payments from pharmaceutical and health care companies in more than 100 articles he authored in medical journals. Between August 2013 (when Federal Open Payments disclosures began) and 2017, nine pharmaceutical and medical device companies paid Dr. Baselga almost $3.5 million.

Dr. Baselga has been on the board of directors of Bristol Myers Squibb and Varian medical systems, which sells radiation equipment to Memorial Sloan Kettering, among other clients. Dr. Baselga has been a consultant to Astra Zeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis, and Roche/Genentech and an advisor to many pharmaceutical companies, diagnostics companies, and start-ups. He has presented favorable opinions about drugs made by companies that paid him– including drugs that other researchers found ineffective or unsafe. According to the Times article, Dr. Baselga called the results of a Roche trial of taselisib, a P13K inhibitor “incredibly exciting” at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; Roche, the manufacturer, considered the drug so disappointing they scrapped further development.

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