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Healthcare reporters boycott Novartis press releases
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2018.02.06 13:26
  • Updated 2018.02.06 14:39
  • comments 0

South Korea’s eight media companies specializing in healthcare news decided to boycott Novartis Korea’s press releases for three months until April, as the company intentionally omitted “when” in press releases, reporters said Tuesday.

According to the “Association of Reporters Covering Multinational Pharmaceutical Firms,” Novartis Korea continually refused to state “when” in three press releases since November. The group decided neither to write stories from press releases of Novartis Korea nor to attend the company’s media events until April 30.

The eight media companies under the association are Daily Medi (www.dailymedi.com), Daily Pharm (www.dailypharm.com), Medical Observer (www.monews.co.kr), Medical Times (www.medicaltimes.com), News of Medical & Pharmacy (www.newsmp.com), Doctor's News (www.doctorsnews.co.kr), Korean Doctors’ Weekly (www.docdocdoc.co.kr), and Whosaeng (www.whosaeng.com).

The association of the reporters has been appealing the omission of “when,” one of the basics of news writing, to Novartis Korea, since November.

According to healthcare reporters, some pharmaceutical firms strategically choose different timelines in between announcing clinical results and releasing them to the press. In the case of Novartis Korea, the company tried to give out press releases that intentionally took out the “when” element, which was spotted by healthcare reporters three times, according to the reporters’ association.

The three press releases that did not state “when” were: “Long-term efficacy and safety of ‘Revolade’ confirmed by 8.8 years of clinical trials” released on Nov. 28; “Tasigna raises hope for functional cure at American Society of Hematology” on Jan. 22; and “Tasigna obtains local approval to include treatment-free remission data in product label on Jan. 15.

The healthcare reporters said stating “when” is a must for accurate news and prevents confusion for readers.

The association of reporters tried to correct the company’s practice and sent official letters to cooperate. However, the company did not budge, the reporters said.

Responding to the boycott, Novartis Korea said it was “the PR agent’s mistake” in communication.

“We failed to double-check the final version of press releases. It’s not that we ignored the association’s warning. We could not get the message right from the PR agent. From now on, we will take extra care,” the company said.


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