It was my turn to man the CNBC Alerts Desk earlier today from 9am ET to 1 pm ET. As always, my Thomson Reuters stock screen was open and I made sure some of the stocks I was watching on the beat were on one of the four computer monitors in front of me.
I had finished blogging about the "Barron's bounce" Amylin Pharmaceuticals was getting, based on the speculative mention about it being a potential takeout target for Eli Lilly .
Then, I look up at the screen and see AMLN is absolutely tanking. I quickly went to our two wire services and found nothing. I turned to the "Alerts" master, Peter Schacknow, and asked him if he could find any news on AMLN. He immediately called up the bullet on StreetAccount* which moved at 12:25pm ET regarding the new Food and Drug Administration warning on the diabetes drug Byetta from AMLN and LLY.
*(Editors note: the news alert on a market-intelligence site)
But I needed to confirm it independently before we could go on air. So, I went to the FDA's website.
And, once again, I had to go hunting and pecking for the information. It is completely counterintuitive. It's not on the homepage. If you click on the intuitive link in the right-hand column on the homepage for "Recalls & Safety Alerts," guess what? It ain't there. You have to click on the homepage link for "Drugs," then a link called "Safety Information for Specific Drugs," then search through the alphabetical list of products, click on the name of the drug you're looking for, and then you're there.
It took me a couple of minutes of fumbling around the site to find it. I jumped on TV with the alert as quickly as possible. We still beat the wires. But it sure would make all of us in the media business more quick, efficient and informative if the FDA put at our fingertips new drug safety alerts that affect millions of patients and investors. And the FDA's blitz email to the news media didn't get sent until 2:57pm ET, according to the time stamp in my inbox and the inbox of my producer. So, nearly three hours since the news broke, the agency sent an alert to reporters.
By the way, this has nothing to do with FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach cancelling his appearance last week on "Squawk Box." According to a Squawk booker/producer, his handlers have rebooked him for another date in the not-too-distant future, but for one hour instead of the previously agreed-upon two hours. I'm not gonna announce the show date until we get closer, lest he pulls out again.
Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com