In Sept. 2018, Dr. Jose Baselga was forced to resign as chief medical officer of New York’s prestigious Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center after the New York Times and Pro Publica called out the “top doc” for failure to disclose conflicts of interest – namely, Baselga’s ties to the pharmaceutical industry – in dozens of articles in prominent medical journals.
These “ties” consisted of millions of dollars in payments from various drug companies, including British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca, to Baselga, a 59-year-old Spaniard.
On Monday, AstraZeneca announced that it had hired the recently-unemployed Baselga to spearhead its new oncology research and development unit, considered a growth area by the company.
Following his resignation from Sloan Kettering, Baselga subsequently resigned from the boards of drugmaker Bristol Myers Squibb and radiation equipment manufacturer Varian Medical Systems.
In Dec. 2018, Baselga was asked to step down as one of two editors in chief of “Cancer Discovery,” a medical journal published by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Some of the articles in question in which Baselga failed to disclose his conflicts of interest had been published in “Cancer Discovery.”
Baselga admitted to Reuters on Monday that he had “failed to make the appropriate disclosures” in a number of journal articles, but also asserted in his defense that the AACR had determined that his omissions were “inadvertent.”
“I had never hidden my reportable income for pharma since it is all available on the CMS/Open Payment web page, just like any other physician,” Baselga told Reuters by email.
The New York Times reported that an AstraZeneca spokesperson said that the validity of Baselga’s research was unquestioned and that AstraZeneca considered this matter closed.