Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

It’s ASCO time: USA Today breaks NEJM embargoes on vemurafenib and ipilimumab studies, but no sanctions. Plus: Ingelfinger!

with one comment

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting runs through tomorrow, and generated an embargo break this weekend when USA Today ran a story about melanoma treatments before the embargo had lifted. According to a message at about 9:30 a.m. Sunday from the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), which was publishing the studies in question:

We are lifting the embargo immediately for the Original Articles, “Improved Survival with Vemurafenib in Melanoma with BRAF V600E Mutation,” and “Ipilimumab plus Dacarbazine for Previously Untreated Metastatic Melanoma;” and editorial, “Been There, Not Done That — Melanoma in the Age of Molecular Therapy,” following a story that appeared on USA Today’s website. This content will be published on NEJM.org as soon as possible.

Here’s the handout ASCO provided media at the meeting, courtesy Sally Church. ASCO also put a release out on the wires.

The break was “a mistake,” NEJM tells Embargo Watch:

They explained that they recently started using a new internal operating system, and, in spite of their internal tests, the story still published to a section of their live site. They have promised to implement more safeguards, including manually pushing their news stories on embargoed material to their live site, as well as an investigation of their new system.

We think this response is an appropriate one, and we do not plan to sanction them.

Because of the high interest in cancer, and the fact that a number of ASCO abstracts can move stock prices, the meeting is a frequent topic for embargo watchers. Last year saw at least two embargo breaks: One of a study of Tasigna, and the other of a study of Rituxan.

Also of note: This year’s meeting has already had at least one Ingelfinger sighting: An abstract was withdrawn after a journal asked a researcher not to participate in a news conference because a study hadn’t yet been published, as Oncology Times reported.


Written by Ivan Oransky

June 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Meh, excuse me for being cynical, but that’s what they all say!


    June 6, 2011 at 10:48 pm

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