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Pharma is target of news hoax

News service, Business Wire, has changed its submission policies following a bogus news release concerning Javelin Pharmaceuticals

Business Wire, the well-known news release service, has changed its submission policies after it inadvertently disseminated a bogus news release concerning Massachusetts-based Javelin Pharmaceuticals, a drug-development company focused on pain management.

The June 18, 2010 news release was headlined "US Supreme Court split - rules in favor of Big Pharma" and listed Javelin as the issuer. However, the release was actually a hoax submitted by an unknown third party claiming to be a company representative.

Javelin notified Business Wire, and the news service issued a retraction on the morning of June 19, 2010. The pharma firm said that it has verified that the company's email system was not used for the hoax.

Business Wire said that law enforcement agencies have been contacted and the hoax is now the subject of a Federal criminal investigation. In addition, the news service said that, effective immediately, all news releases will have to be submitted via "BW Connect" the company's proprietary order-entry system, rather than by email.

The system, which has been operational since 1998 and is already used for the bulk of the releases that are submitted, receives an annual independent security audit, Business Wire noted. The company said it had planned to make the change-over from allowing e-mail submissions in August, but has expedited it following the hoax.

22nd June 2010

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