There’s nothing wrong with backing up your arguments with hard science; in fact, knowing how to verify if what you read online is a real and valuable skill. But do we trust information like medical research and studies too much? Are these “studies” even legitimate?
The fact that a top Sloan Kettering cancer doctor just resigned after publishing nearly 180 papers without disclosing ties to Big Pharma has us re-questioning everything we’ve ever read in a medical journal. We think you should, too.
• The guilty party in question is Chief Medical Officer Dr. José Baselg. Baselg was directly responsible for research and daily operations at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a facility that serves thousands of oncology patients every single year.
• Baselg is well-known in the medical world; he’s considered a top oncology expert. Other medical professionals have referred to his papers as a source of evidence for everything from treatments to prognosis and diagnosis.
• The problem? The oncology expert seems to actually be a Big Pharma shill, not someone who wants to help patients. Baselg failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from pharmacology manufacturers, a fact that seems to have tainted up to 60 percent of his “studies.”
• For those of you who aren’t really into the terminology and science, the “plain English” explanation is that failing to disclose payments during a study is a massive industry faux pas. Studies are supposed to be free from bias. Receiving money from the very manufacturer of the drug you’re supposed to be evaluating for safety, or usefulness, is a conflict of interest.
• Essentially, it appears that Baselg was being paid off to potentially manipulate results in favor of drug manufacturers. This is very similar to what originally happened with major opioid producers; doctors were paid to push their products, and now we have a nation full of addicts.
• Specifically, the cancer research expert appears to have close ties with Roche, several small start-ups, and a number of medical journals. It isn’t yet clear if these relationships are truly malicious, but it certainly looks like they may have been from the outside in.
• Baselg maintains that the omissions were “a mistake” and that the research itself remains valid. But if you found out your doctor was getting paid off by a drug company for a drug that harmed you, would you feel this was a simple mistake? That’s rhetorical; of course you wouldn’t.
• Want more evidence that Baselg’s omissions weren’t just a fluke? Consider this: as the amount of undisclosed payments climbed, he reported fewer and fewer relationships before publishing studies. Last year, he neglected to disclose any relationships on any of the studies he published, full stop.
• Is it a coincidence that this just happens to be the year he seems to have made the most payments? Maybe – but if you’re suspicious, you aren’t alone. Your health is your most valuable asset. Why would you trust it to someone working for drug manufacturers to sell more pills?
• Baselg’s resignation was made effective immediately, but Sloan Kettering is allowing him to stay on for two weeks to “ease the transition.” If you ask us, someone who is a Big Pharma shill should not be allowed anywhere near patients, records, studies, or facilities, full stop. Why risk it?