What We're Reading: MSKCC Fallout Continues; Drug Patent Tactics; Ebola Fears Rise

The chairman of the board of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) told the hospital’s staff that the former chief medical officer, José Baselga, MD, had “crossed lines” and had gone “off the reservation” in his outside dealings with health and drug companies; more than any other industry, the pharmaceutical industry benefits from a patent strategy that allows small changes in existing drugs to confer continued patent protection; public health officials are worried that the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may be spinning beyond their control and could spill over into Uganda and Rwanda.

MSKCC Email Reveals Leadership's Thoughts on Controversy Over Former CMO

The chairman of the board of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center told the hospital’s staff that the former chief medical officer, José Baselga, MD, had “crossed lines” and had gone “off the reservation” in his outside dealings with health and drug companies. In an email obtained inadvertently by The New York Times, the comments by Douglas A. Warner III, the chairman, as well as Craig B. Thompson, MD, the chief executive, went beyond previous statements about the Baselga. The hospital previously had said that Baselga followed internal policies and had just failed to disclose his industry affiliations in some medical journal articles.

Patent Protection Strategies Unique in Pharmaceutical Industry

More than any other industry, the pharmaceutical industry benefits from a patent strategy that allows small changes in existing drugs to confer continued patent protection, Kaiser Health News reported. The series of secondary protective patents is a tactic critics call “evergreening” or “product-hopping.” Attempts to change the patent system have intensified as drug prices continue to rise.

Ebola Fears Rise for Border Countries Around the Democratic Republic of Congo

Public health officials are worried that the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may be spinning beyond their control and could spill over into Uganda and Rwanda, STAT News reported. Ebola response teams are facing restrictions on their movements in a conflict zone, and if response teams lose sight of where the virus goes, it could spread undetected and unchecked in places where they cannot safely travel. To date, there have been 161 cases and 105 deaths.