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Resignation of Leading Cancer Researcher Highlights Importance of Disclosing Conflicts of Interest

October 11, 2018

Memo from the Office of Research and the Office of Corporate Compliance and Privacy

The recent, highly publicized case of Jose Baselga, MD, PhD, is an important reminder of the need for faculty to disclose institutional and financial conflicts of interest. Baselga, a world-renowned oncologist and researcher, was forced to resign his position as chief medical officer of New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center after failing to disclose payments from pharmaceutical and health care companies.

Baselga's industry ties may have presented conflicts in relation to his research publications, but those potential conflicts were not what led to his forced resignation – it was his failure to disclose them that did. Much of the academic research and clinical trials that have led to advancements in medicine and technology, improving quality of life throughout the world, could not have been achieved without private industry support for research. However, the failure of researchers to disclose private industry relationships can lead to severe consequences, not only for the researchers, but for the institutions that employ them as well.

Remember, conflicts themselves are not prohibited, and most conflicts, once disclosed, can be mitigated or eliminated through the installation of a conflict management plan. It is the failure to disclose known conflicts that can result in ethical violations.

For more information regarding faculty obligations to disclose conflicts of interest, please refer to Drexel University's Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy, and if you do believe that you have a potential conflict, please complete and submit a Conflict of Interest Disclosure form, which can be accessed through the DrexelOne portal on the Employee tab, in the box labeled "Compliance and Privacy Program" at the top right corner of the page.

Please contact the Office of Corporate Compliance and Privacy at with any questions about the Conflict of Interest Policy.