'Dozens' of Top Doctors Failed to Reveal Industry Ties in Medical Studies: Report

Dozens of top doctors in recent years have failed to accurately disclose financial ties to pharmaceutical companies while publishing research in influential medical journals, a joint investigation from The New York Times and ProPublica found. These high-profile physicians include Dr. Robert J. Alpern, dean at the Yale School of Medicine, and Dr. Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. While there are “widespread lapses” with disclosures in the medical community, the investigation published Saturday also found that journals routinely gave confusing guidance and failed to investigate disclosures made by researchers. The lack of vetting is prevalent even though many relationships between physicians and healthcare industry companies could be found in a federal database, the report says. Demands for better disclosure are due to concerns that researchers with financial ties to health and drug businesses may present study results in these companies’ favor. Lapses in disclosure have drawn increased attention in recent months after the Times and ProPublica revealed Dr. José Baselga, who worked as chief medical officer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, repeatedly failed to disclose industry ties in journal articles. Baselga subsequently resigned.