In New Orleans Monday, a major medical organization attempted a feat perhaps as hard as treating the disease doctors were there to discuss. They asked a packed convention hall of attendees not to tweet the confidential, market-moving data they had flown in to see.
It didn't work.
In an unusual arrangement, the American Diabetes Association let hundreds, if not thousands, of in-person attendees see new data on Novo Nordisk A/S's blockbuster diabetes treatment Victoza more than an hour before its official release to the public and the markets. That's atypical for such sensitive data, which are usually shared only with journalists and researchers who have agreed to abide by strict terms, under threat of losing future access.
As the Monday afternoon presentation neared, attendees posted on Twitter pictures of the packed hall, of the crowds waiting to get in, and of the projection screens touting the trial's name: "LEADER."
After warning attendees not to share the information they were about to post, presenters in the hall put up slides showing that Bagsvaerd, Denmark-based Novo's drug cut heart attacks and strokes by 13 percent and and improved survival, while also lowering blood sugar rates and a host of other complications. While good news for diabetics, it was less than investors had hoped.
Within minutes, some Twitter accounts were posting pictures of the charts, including key slides that showed the drug's success in reducing deaths. And as fast as the posts went up, the medical society's communications team issued online pleas for them to stop.
"#2016ADA slides include unpublished data and are the intellectual property of the presenters," the association tweeted at accounts who posted the data. "Please delete immediately."