Trade mag and blog break coffee-head and neck cancer study embargo
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.
The study was embargoed until Tuesday, June 22.
That the embargo was broken on a coffee-cancer study isn’t particularly surprising. The Drug Discovery and Development story went live three days ago, according to the story’s date stamp. So did the Sci-Tech Heretic’s blog post. I hadn’t seen either until looking for them after the embargo lift notice.
It’s the second break in the AACR’s Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention journal in 10 days. The one on June 8 was by CNN.
I emailed AACR to find out if there will be sanctions. I’ll update if I hear back by tomorrow, when I leave for that vacation. But if anyone else hears after that, please feel free to leave a comment on this post.
Thanks — sort of — to the commenters on my vacation post and others who alerted me to this. It seems appropriate to quote The Godfather’s Michael Corleone: “Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.”
Update, 6:10 p.m. Eastern, 6/18/10: AACR’s Michele Leiberman tells me by email:
We contacted both outlets that broke the embargo. Drug Discovery and Development made a human error. We are waiting to hear back from the blog. We would not impose sanctions in the case of human error, especially if the break is an isolated incident.