Sloan Kettering pulls rug out from under its execs after apparent conflicts of interest
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, under siege for potential conflicts of interest, has severely tightened the reins on its top executives.
No longer will they be able to serve on corporate boards of drug and health care companies, according to a story by Katie Thomas and Charles Ornstein in The New York Times this week.
The sanctions were imposed following a series of stories by The Times and ProPublica, a nonprofit journalism organization, that exposed questionable exec ties to the industry.
In some cases, the article indicates, the companies "had paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year."
Officials at the facility, one of the world's most prominent, apparently also were informed by officials of their parent hospital that "a series of reforms designed to limit the ways in which its top executives and leading researchers could profit from work developed at Memorial Sloan Kettering, a nonprofit with a broad social mission that admits about 23,500 cancer patients each year," were being made permanent.
The conflicts at the center, the story continues, "have had a rippling effect on other leading cancer institutions across the country."
Dana-Farber Center Institute in Boston and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, for example, are said to be reconsidering their policies on financial ties.
|Dr. Craig B. Thompson|
Earlier, The Times and ProPublica had alleged that Dr. José Baselga, Sloan Kettering's chief medical officer, "had failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from drug and health companies in dozens of articles in medical journals."
Baselga resigned within days of the stories going public — and "stepped down from the boards of the drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb and Varian Medical Systems, a radiation equipment manufacturer."
Sloan Kettering employees who represent the hospital on corporate boards now will be barred from "accepting personal compensation, like equity stakes or stock options, from the companies."
The Times story quotes Dr. Walid Gellad, director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh, as calling the policy changes a "watershed moment."
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