COMMENTARY

Infographic: Failure to Disclose Conflicts of Interest Is a Systemic Problem in Oncology

Emily Berry

Disclosures

September 14, 2018

On September 8, the New York Times and the investigative news organization ProPublica reported that world-renowned breast cancer specialist José Baselga failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from the pharmaceutical industry as well as his extensive corporate relationships. Baselga, who was chief medical officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, did not disclose his financial ties in dozens of research articles published in some of the most prestigious medical journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet.

Facing mounting criticism, Baselga resigned from Memorial Sloan Kettering last Thursday. Calling for "a doubling down on transparency in our field" in his resignation letter, Baselga also said he takes "full responsibility for failing to make appropriate disclosures in scientific and medical journals and at professional meetings."

However, as this infographic shows, failure to disclose conflicts of interest in journal publications is a systemic problem in the oncology community. Just 1 week before the bombshell allegations against Baselga surfaced, JAMA Oncology published a research letter[1] outlining widespread disregard for disclosure policies among a group of 344 oncologist clinical trial investigators. Their findings are summarized below.

Editor's Note: This article was updated Friday, September 14, to reflect the resignation of José Baselga, MD, PhD, from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

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