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Why press releases don’t tell the whole story

BMJ 2022; 379 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o2938 (Published 06 December 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;379:o2938
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. The BMJ

In July The BMJ stopped reporting on study results that are published only through press releases. What has been the impact so far? Zosia Kmietowicz reports

It’s good to see that the full data from the trial of lecanemab for Alzheimer’s disease have now been published in a peer reviewed journal.1 When the results were first announced by Eisai and Biogen in September it was via an “investors relations” press release.2The BMJ did not report on these “results” because the journal has a new policy that means it won’t report on press releases that are not supported by information that allows proper scrutiny, such as a journal study report or a detailed research summary.­­­3

But elsewhere in the media the pick up was immense. An internet search on lecanemab in Google News on 29 November, just before the study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, generated over 39 000 links. Speculation about the benefits of …

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