| BOSTON, March 4
BOSTON, March 4 The American Academy of
Neurology said on Tuesday it may try to take legal action
against JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch and other investment banks
that released embargoed data ahead of its annual meeting next
"We are examining our legal options," said Angela Babb, a
spokeswoman for the group, which represents more than 21,000
neurologists and neuroscientists. "The Academy takes its
embargo policy very seriously."
Merrill Lynch analyst Paul Choi put out a report on Monday
which revealed embargoed information about Baxter International
Inc's (BAX.N) experimental Alzheimer's disease treatment
Gammagard IGIV. On Tuesday JP Morgan analyst Michael Weinstein
And Corey Davis, an analyst at Natixis Bleichroeder,
released a report on Tuesday about data from a study of Biogen
Idec Inc (BIIB.O) and Elan Corp's ELN.N ELN.I multiple
sclerosis drug Tysabri.
A spokesman for JP Morgan said the company had retracted
its report. Natixis also recalled his report. Merrill Lynch
declined to comment.
The flap is the latest in a series involving medical
associations, which typically release summaries, or abstracts,
of clinical trial data online ahead of their annual meetings.
Anyone accessing the data must agree not to publish it ahead of
an agreed period.
"The embargo situation is an honor system," said Murray
Sagsveen, general counsel for the American Academy of
Neurology, or AAN. "What this person did is to dishonor the
embargo system," he said, referring to Choi.
Sagsveen said he is exploring options available to the
Academy to ensure it does not happen again, though right now
those are not clear.
"Because of the actions of that one person who started the
process, there is a cascade effect that could take down the
entire embargo system," he said. "We may have to rethink the
whole way we do things."
Sagsveen noted violations in the past by pharmaceuticals
companies and media companies, but said this is the first time
financial companies have broken the Academy's embargoes.
(Reporting by Toni Clarke, editing by Richard Chang)