Many prominent organizations and agencies like FDA release
information with an embargo on it. News organizations agree not to publish this
information until a certain date, in exchange for the ability to do more
research, which usually means sharing the information with experts in the field
so they can provide a more balanced and impartial prospective. The experts
agree that they, too, will not reveal the information before the agreed date.
But recently, the FDA prevented reporters from calling
around for quotes from experts, saying that it violated the embargo—a major
change not only from the way all other major organizations handle news
embargos, but a change also from the way FDA has dealt with reporters in the
Not surprisingly, journalists are outraged, and we should be
as well. The FDA has a policy of transparency, and we rely on reporters to do
the digging and write stories that can reveal what the FDA is really up to. If
they are shutting down that kind of research, it is the US public that will be
impoverished—and possibly endangered.
Please ask the FDA to drop this new embargo policy, and go
back to its old approach: reporters can consult with whichever experts they
wish before the embargo date, so long as everyone involved assents to the
confidentiality agreement. Stand up for medical freedom of speech!
(Please personalize your message if you have the time!)
FDA News Embargo Policy
Dear [Decision Maker],
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP]