Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Archive for June 2010

Menopause study embargo lifted early after Sunday Times story, but Jonathan Leake notes abstracts were freely available

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Ah, vacation. That protected time when you don’t check your email or voicemail, and you don’t blog. Well, I kept to that last bit, anyway, while traipsing around Turkey and trying unsuccessfully to avoid Turkish Viagra.

But embargo news doesn’t stop in its tracks just because Embargo Watch is on vacation. In the next few days, I’ll use posts to catch up on that news.

First up: On Sunday, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) press officer Emma Mason sent out the following message: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 30, 2010 at 9:15 am

Jonathan Leake’s take on the embargo system

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In the course of an email exchange Sunday about an alleged embargo break of a study about predicting the timing of menopause, The Sunday Times’ Jonathan Leake offered these thoughts on the embargo system. I found them provocative and thoughtful, and felt they deserved an airing in their own post:

My early years in newspaper journalism were spent covering political and health issues and these involved attending lots of meetings for which agendas would be circulated in advance. We would scour these agendas to hunt out the issues that made good stories. The aim was always to get these sorts of documents first and find the best stories first. Waiting for a press officer to issue an embargoed press release and then publishing on a date specified by them would have got you the sack pretty fast. The same still applies in most areas of journalism – except science. Why is that? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 30, 2010 at 9:15 am

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This blog is embargoed until June 30: I’m going on vacation

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Photo by voght via flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/voght/

My wife and I are leaving tomorrow for a 10-day-long vacation during which I don’t plan to have much, if any, web access. So go ahead, journalists, break all the embargoes you want. Press officers, come up with freakishly bizarre embargo policies. Keep up the short embargo race. Ingelfinger yourselves into oblivion.

In the spirit of coming close to, but not quite, breaking the embargo on where we’re going, I won’t name the place. I’ll just say that it’s a country whose name is a bird in English, and that sources say there is a city there that was once called Constantinople.

Oh, and the only kind of embargoes I know about there involve trade, particularly the arms trade. Of course, if there are any Embargo Watch readers in this unnamed country, please ping me today or tomorrow.

I’ll be sure to catch up on all of the activity once I’m back, and I look forward to seeing lots of tips in my inbox, as always.

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 18, 2010 at 5:00 pm

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Trade mag and blog break coffee-head and neck cancer study embargo

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Minutes after I posted that I was putting Embargo Watch under embargo until June 30, we got this notice from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR):

The embargo has been lifted on the AACR press release: “Coffee May Protect Against Head and Neck Cancers,” due to a violation by Drug Discovery and Development and the Sci-Tech Heretic blog. Reporters may post their stories effective immediately. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 18, 2010 at 4:54 pm

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It’s not just the Ingelfinger Rule: Scientists don’t want other scientists scooping them either

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One of our stringers was recently pitched what sounded like a worthwhile study coming out in a journal the press officer described as a “major” one in its field. Great, I said, let’s see the manuscript, which I figured was under embargo.

Sorry, can’t show you that, you can only go on the gossamer of information we’ve released, because we don’t know when the study will be published yet. When we pushed, we found out it that it was in fact a major journal in its field. But it was also a journal that definitely embargoes, and that would certainly not be happy to see anything substantive in the press about the study.

Hello, Ingelfinger Rule. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 18, 2010 at 9:00 am

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A new record in short embargoes

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Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new record-breaker in the short embargo race. It’s an entrant that was in second place with a four-hour embargo until just a few weeks ago, when the Journal of Clinical Oncology took the lead with an embargo lasting 2 hours and 41 minutes.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) emailed its press list today at 2:34 p.m. Eastern, just 2 hours and 26 minutes before this piece by White House Office of Management and Budget director Peter R. Orszag and special advisor Ezekiel J. Emanuel went live. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm

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American Diabetes Association posts conference abstracts online, but please don’t write about them

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Yesterday, the  American Diabetes Association (ADA) announced that the abstracts for their upcoming meeting in Orlando, Florida, are available. I found out about that on Twitter, in a tweet in which the ADA noted its embargo policy. When I clicked on the link they sent out, I read this: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 16, 2010 at 1:30 pm

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Will David Graham’s Avandia study fall victim to the Ingelfinger Rule?

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Last week, an unpublished study by researchers including longtime Avandia critic and FDA reviewer David Graham — who was a well-known Vioxx critic before that — made a bit of a splash after it was leaked to Pharmalot’s Ed Silverman. The study found, Ed reported:

48,000 excess events attributable to Avandia among patients 65 years or older between 1999 and June 2009. And since 62 percent of Avandia use has been among people younger than 65, they estimate the national impact is probably 100,000 or more.

I’ll leave summarizing the findings to Ed, who deserves the kind of traffic this scoop should get. You can also read the manuscript, which the authors were planning to submit to JAMA. According to emails leaked along with the manuscript, they were concerned that the FDA would try to block their submission.

Larry Husten, at Cardiobrief, picked up on the news, and ended his post with this: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 16, 2010 at 9:00 am

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More thoughts on ASCO: How the embargo policy can lead to hype

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Dr. Len, courtesy American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society deputy chief medical officer Len Lichtenfeld had a smart post last week commenting on a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) of whether adding bevacizumab (Avastin) to standard treatments for ovarian cancer would benefit patients.

That study had been covered positively by much of the media, but Len described how Elizabeth Eisenhauer, of the National Cancer Institute of Canada and Queen’s University in Kingston,  had raised some questions about it when it was presented. I’ll leave those important details for you to read in his post, but let’s just say that Len thought her questions threw some appropriate cold water on the hype. She “concluded that more work needs to be done before this regimen can be considered as a standard treatment option for women with advanced ovarian cancer,” he wrote.

That cold water didn’t make it into most of the stories on the study. What happened? Len explained: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 14, 2010 at 9:14 am

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*Assisted fertility-birth abnormalities embargo lifted early after Sunday Times story but “it appears that they are not entirely to blame this time”

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The Sunday Times has broken another embargo, this one of a study on a higher risk of birth abnormalities among babies conceived through assisted fertility treatments. The study is scheduled to be presented tomorrow (Monday) at the European Society of Human Genetics meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden, and was embargoed until a minute after midnight Central European Time Monday. The Sunday Times story, by Jonathan Leake, was posted sometime late Saturday.

However, according to from Mary Rice, who is handling media relations on the study, there’s more to the embargo break. In an email sent to her press list at 5:34 a.m. Eastern today, she wrote: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

June 13, 2010 at 9:05 am

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