Justin Sayers & Carol Ann Alaimo, Arizona Daily Star: February 18, 2020
The University of Arizona’s senior health administrator has added more than $150,000 to his executive pay by moonlighting as a consultant to numerous for-profit medical firms, public records show.
Dake received 49 payments totaling more than $100,000 in his first six months on the job, according to the most recent public data made available by the federal government. Fifteen of those payments — about $12,000 worth — were for Dake’s out-of-town business trips to consulting gigs in Scottsdale; Flagstaff; Chicago; San Francisco; Stanford, California; and Lisbon, Portugal, records show.
While outside consultant work is permissible, it must be disclosed to the school in writing by the employee. Dake violated that policy by not disclosing any of his outside income for his entire first year on the job, the investigation found. He did file disclosures for the current school year that say he expects to make up to $66,000.
The work involved a clinical trial he led on Cook’s behalf for a new type of stent, a tubelike device used to unblock clogged arteries in patients with pulmonary artery disease. This particular stent, the Zilver PTX, is coated with a chemotherapy drug, paclitaxel, that releases gradually to prevent scar tissue from reblocking the arteries.
Dake’s published research incorrectly reversed the study’s five-year mortality figures, making it seem as if the Zilver stent had a lower risk of patient death (10.2%) than a comparable uncoated device (16.9%). He published a correction to his initial results in the medical journal Circulation last year.
The flawed findings were initially published in 2016 before Dake’s UA tenure. It came to light only in late 2018 when Greek researchers published a meta-analysis that found a higher death rate for patients treated with coated devices at two years and five years after treatment.
A national expert in medical device research interviewed by the Star called the death-rate error “humiliating” for any medical researcher to have on their record. Dake was ultimately responsible, as the study’s global principal investigator, for ensuring the published findings were accurate, said Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research in Washington, D.C.
The mistake “shows a level of sloppiness or incompetence that is shocking,” said Zuckerman, who often testifies before Congress and the FDA on the safety of drugs and medical devices.
Dake did not respond to questions about the controversy.
Read the original story here.