Prominent Cancer Researcher Lied About Pharma Money, NYTimes Investigation Exposes
A prestigious cancer researcher is in hot water after failing to disclose his financial ties to multiple pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. Dr. José Baselga, a prominent and prestigious cancer researcher, published studies in The Lancet and The New England Journal without listing his financial ties to dozens of pharma and healthcare companies.
Dr. Baselga is the chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
A New York Times investigative report claims Baselga is involved in breast cancer treatment drugs. Additionally, the report claims that he has sat on the boards of Roche and Bristol-Myers Squibb and that he has stakes in cancer therapy companies.
The American Association for Cancer Research requires that researchers disclose their financial ties to relevant companies in published documents. Baselga failed to make such required disclosures. Balsega failed to report income from cancer research companies. Oddly, Balsega was President of The American Association of Cancer Research when the rules of financial disclosure were enacted.
Worse more, it appears that Baselga’s financial interests served to sway his opinions/findings.
Baselga Tainted ‘Legit’ Studies
In 2017, Balsega’s glowing opinions on two Roche-sponsored clinical trials clashed with that of other cancer researchers. Roche paid Baselga $3 million in consulting fees since 2014, something Baselga failed to disclose.
Baselga claims that his lack of disclosure is accidental.
“I acknowledge that there have been inconsistencies, but that’s what it is,” he said. “It’s not that I do not appreciate the importance.”
Baselga’s actions highlight the catastrophic state of academic research. Pharmaceutical and healthcare corporations are increasingly tainting academia.
The fact is, there is little penalty for tainting research documents. The American Association for Cancer Research’s policy is to ban researchers for three years if they are caught not disclosing corporate ties. But the AACR has yet to ban any researcher for non-disclosure.
The journals themselves notoriously do not check for conflicts of interests. Instead, they place the onus on the academic author to properly disclose the conflicts.
In other words, our medical academia society uses “scouts honor” to validate the integrity of research.
Dr. Baselga Taints Cancer Research At Memorial Sloan Kettering
The issue of pharmaceutical conflicts of interests goes beyond just academia. Consider for a second that Dr. Baselga CMO position at Memorial Sloan Kettering is one of the world’s most important cancer treatment positions. Baselga, a pharmaceutical crony, influences the lives of cancer patients in real time.
People that are potentially dying rely on Baselga to make the absolute best treatment decisions.
Cancer Research Corporate Ties Unpreventable
A researcher having a tie to pharmaceutical companies is not unusual. It is par for the course in many cases. This isn’t always bad.
Cancer researchers are undoubtedly going to interact with pharmaceutical companies, that’s the nature of the beast. The non-disclosure, however, is a serious burden.
Non-disclosure of financial ties to pharmaceutical companies is sinister and nefarious. It is an egregious and despicable act that should be classified as dishonorable.
The hospital should temporarily remove Baselga from his CMO position immediately. He should be subject to a full and thorough investigation into his activity at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
But he won’t be.
Instead, Baselga is more likely to be the subject of another award than he is to be the subject of an investigation. He will endure scrutiny and thrive beyond it.
Don’t expect any campaigns outing bribed doctors to flood Twitter anytime soon.
Pharmaceutical Companies Own Every Aspect Of Our Health
Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies yield definable and immaculate powers. Our sickness is now part of a vast and growing profit margin. While two political ideologies vehemently argue over the state of healthcare, neither side eliminates the inhumanity of tainted research and disingenuous prescribing.
Healthcare resolutions on both sides of the aisle hardly approach reductions in pharmaceutical bribes.
Pharmaceutical companies have helped society. No one is making any claims counter to that statement. But the disease of greed has naturally set in and our hospitals and medical professionals have often fallen victim to it.
When you sit in a pediatrician’s office and drug company logos are all over pens, magnets, mousepads, notepads, rugs, and coffee mugs, you should feel a bit unsettled. When you are in a doctor’s waiting room and a drug rep walks in and gives out free drug samples to the waiting room nurse, you should have a moment of realization.
The signs and indicators are, literally, covering the walls of our “trusted” medical offices.
Those we rely on have ultimately sacrificed us for their own betterment.
The Rise Of Alternative Medicine
extreme expense of modern health care and the growing distrust of medical professionals has given controversial rise to alternative therapies and medicines. The government is in an uneasy relationship with alternative healthcare, often blanketing categorically the same as fraudulent supplements.
Alternative medicine, good or bad, is now at war with mainstream medicine.
However, the push for alternative solutions will help to raise awareness of the real issue of research discrimination.
Pharmaceutical companies perform research only on medical solutions that will serve to bring them profits.
That’s capitalism and I’m not complaining.
But the fact is, the medical world leaves alternative therapies out in the cold. Much of their success and failure comes by way of empirical data and less from scientific research environments.
In other words, if it doesn’t make money, no one cares to truly test it.
That’s bad for all of us.
But it is good for prominent and wealthy doctors like Dr. Baselga.
Feature Photo by Christopher.Michel
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.