Unusual: American Academy of Neurology lifts laquinimod MS embargo early after investment firm Jefferies breaks it
SPECIAL NOTICE: Due to an embargo break by Jeffries analyst firm, the following late-breaking scientific abstract is being immediately released by the American Academy of Neurology at its Annual Meeting, in Honolulu, April 9 – 16, 2011. Please note that only this late-breaking abstract is being released early. The embargo remains the date and time of presentation for all other late-breaking abstracts presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting unless otherwise noted by the Academy’s Media and Public Relations Department.
The press conference scheduled for 9am HST, Tuesday, April 12, 2011, regarding Dr. Comi’s abstract below has also been cancelled.
We thank the reporters who abided by the embargo.
EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL 4 P.M. ET/10 A.M. HST, THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2011
Oral Drug for MS Significantly Reduces Disease Activity and Slows Disability
HONOLULU – The drug laquinimod reduced the number of relapses for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), in a large, long-term Phase III clinical study that will be presented as late-breaking research at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, April 9–16, 2011, in Honolulu.
What’s noteworthy about this in Embargo Watch-ville is that in the past, when Wall Street analysts have written about embargoed studies, the New England Journal of Medicine has shrugged. This drives Embargo Watch — and Adam Feuerstein — even more batty than we already are. Jefferies is in the same league as JP Morgan, which was one of the firms that sent a memo on a NEJM lorcaserin study before the embargo had lifted last July.
The question, of course, is how Jefferies got hold of the embargoed abstract, although there are any number of possibilities, starting with reporters who called the firm for comment but certainly not ending there. I’ve contacted the AAN to see if they know how it happened, and whether there will be any sanctions, and will update with anything I hear.
But in the meantime, I think this is a model for handling these Wall Street breaks, which happen with some regularity. Managing conference embargoes is difficult, but if you’re going to have them, you have to be consistent. *Once something is in the public domain, it doesn’t matter whether a journalism outlet put it there, a Wall Street analyst or the society itself. It can’t actually be embargoed anymore. And I like the fact that the AAN gave the specific reason for the break.
Update, 5:30 Eastern, 4/11/11: The AAN tells me they’re investigating how Jefferies obtained the embargoed information. Also, in response to an Embargo Watch reader, I added a few sentences to the last paragraph, starting with the asterisk, on why I think this is a good model.