Memorial Sloan Kettering's former CMO 'crossed lines,' says board chairman

Douglas A. Warner III, chairman of New York City-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's board of managers and overseers, commented on the hospital's former CMO's dealings with health and drug companies in a staff meeting Oct. 1, according to The New York Times.

José Baselga, MD, PhD, medical oncologist, physician-in-chief and CMO of Memorial Sloan Kettering, resigned in September after reports surfaced that he failed to disclose significant financial ties to the drug industry and other healthcare companies in more than 100 research articles.

"I have to say, while we pushed back on a lot and discussed a lot, we were not as effective as we should have been," Mr. Warner said, according to a preliminary transcript of a meeting with the hospital's staff that was inadvertently emailed by the hospital to a reporter for The New York Times. "He crossed lines that we should have done more to stop."

Memorial Sloan Kettering officials are exploring ways to update policies regarding the hospital's ties to outside industries. For example, most research institutions and cancer centers have policies that prohibit employees from accepting personal compensation when they represent their organization on corporate boards. However, Memorial Sloan Kettering only recently implemented such a prohibition and asked one of its executives to turn over to the hospital the nearly $1.4 million stake in a biotech company he received for representing the hospital on its board.

During the meeting with staff this week, Mr. Warner also questioned whether Craig B. Thompson, MD, president and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering, would be permitted to continue sitting on Merck's board. In 2017, Dr. Thompson received $300,000 in compensation for serving on the pharmaceutical company's board, according to the report.

Access the full New York Times article here.

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