×

My ICAD Infraction: One Year Later

Man, time flies. I can't believe almost a year has passed since the incident at ICAD. That's the big Alzheimer's Disease scientific research conference that was held in Chicago in late July last year. This year, it's in Vienna and it's going on right now. I've never been to Austria. I wish, not just for all of the desperate patients and their caretakers, that I had a compelling reason to have made the case to CNBC management that a trip to Vienna was in order. But there unfortunately aren't any major, potentially clinical-practice changing or stock-moving drug test results coming out at this year's conference.

We went last year because Wyeth and Elan were presenting the findings of their highly anticipated mid-stage study on the experimental Alzheimer's drug known as Bap, for short. It's a big reason why Pfizer is buying Wyeth and why Johnson & Johnson just did a deal with Elan.

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
DRX
---
JNJ
---
PFE
---

And there were other data we covered at ICAD 2008 impacting smaller companies. So, last year I did an afternoon live shot from inside the McCormick Place Convention Center for CNBC at the very moment the results from a couple of experimental drug studies were being presented to thousands of doctors, researchers, analysts and investors. But, for some bizarre reason, the Alzheimer's Association, which puts on ICAD, was not lifting the news media embargo on the data until later in the day. My argument was, and remains to this day, that the minute the data are presented in a public forum, that's when they should be broadcast to everyone. For investors, it's called a more level playing field. Well, despite an assurance by a top AA spokesman ahead of the conference that I would not get in trouble if I broke the news when the scientific presentation started, I was penalized. Within minutes of my live shot, the AA media relations staff came out to inform me and my crew that we had to leave the building immediately. We complied and ended up doing the remainder of our live shots and CEO interviews outside on a hot, muggy concrete patio. Nice.

Next year, ICAD is in Hawaii. Sweet! Hopefully, the late-stage Bap data might be ready in time, so I can sell an island assignment to my bosses. And, oh...if they still haven't changed their ridiculous embargo policy and want to kick me out of the conference in Hawaii, they can go right ahead. The beach will sure beat that hot, steamy, ugly concrete patio in Chicago as my naughty corner.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com and follow me on Twitter at mhuckman