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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center officials violated conflict of interest policies

Published on 05/04/19 at 10:30am

Top officials at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center repeatedly violated policies on financial conflicts of interest, according to details from an outside review.

The top brass fostered a culture in which profits took precedence over research and patient care, the review, conducted by the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, said.

The findings come after months of scrutiny over the cancer center’s executive’s financial ties to drug and health care firms.

The review found that officials frequently violated or skirted around their own policies; that links to companies were not vetted rigorously but instead came under scrutiny on an ad hoc basis; and that researchers were often unaware that senior executives had financial stakes in the outcomes of their studies.

The Cancer Center has acknowledged its oversights and announced an overhaul of conflict of interest policies.

Scott Stuart, chairman of the cancer center’s Boards of Overseers and Managers, commented in a statement to the New York Times: “We took a deep and honest look at what went wrong at our own institution, examined what was occurring in the wider cancer research community, and are putting in place best practices that will not only allow us to learn from our mistakes, but will contribute to best practices for the wider research community.”

The report comes after Dr José Baselga announced his resignation from his position as Physician-in-Chief at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center after it was reported that the medical oncologist had failed to disclose multi-million dollar financial ties with pharmaceutical companies in September of 2018.

Louis Goss

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