Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

USA Today posts story on approval of diet drug Qnexa too soon, retracts it

with one comment

USA Today has yanked back a story about a diet drug’s approval by the FDA — because the FDA hasn’t actually approved the drug yet.

The FDA is scheduled to announce its decision on the subject of the story — Vivus’ Qnexa — today. The decision has been closely watched.

The story, headlined “New diet drug helps heavy patients lose 10% of weight,” includes a lot of reporting, including comments from the president of Vivus about a change in name from Qnexa to something else. (I’m leaving USA Today that apparent scoop, although others might not.) It was posted on the Salem, Oregon’s Statesman Journal at 12:16 p.m. today, presumably Eastern, since it was taken down before the West Coast arrived at 2 p.m.

Where the story appeared on USATODAY.com is now a blank page, and the Statesman-Journal page redirects to “Story Not Found.”

It looks as though the story was prepared for release as soon as the FDA decision came out. We’re looking into the circumstances of how it was posted on USATODAY.com early, which would have led to automated posting on many Gannett sites.

Update, 2:25 p.m. Eastern: USA Today has posted a notice where the story appeared (and now you can see the new name, too):

USA TODAY inadvertently published a story online this morning saying the Food and Drug Administration had given approval to the diet drug Qsymia (kyoo sim ee’ uh). The story was prepared in anticipation of FDA approval, but at this hour that approval is still pending.

Hat tips: Brett Chase via Scott Hensley, cross-posted on Retraction Watch.


Written by Ivan Oransky

July 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Once again, I wonder who benefits from most of these embargoes.

    The steady stream of these alerts – much appreciated Ivan – just tells me that the stories behind many of them are so run-of-the-mill that without an embargo no one would pay any attention.

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