The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.


All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Streetwise: The world's most expensive technology

Be careful when you write that email. It could come back to haunt you – as Henry Blodget and a growing number of corporates have painfully discovered

blogget.gif

In March 2000, after reviewing the results of a clinical study of the pain-reliever Vioxx, Merck's research chief, Edward Scolnick, typed an email. In it he said that evidence of heart-related risks from Vioxx was "clearly there". Merck did not mention Scolnick's conclusion publicly, however, and it kept selling Vioxx for four more years.

Several months ago, after Merck withdrew Vioxx from the market and Scolnick's email was revealed, the events seemed a clear case of fraud or negligence: Merck knew its drug was risky and didn't say so. Plaintiffs' lawyers pounced, and criminal and regulatory investigations began. Subsequent explanations, however, have shown that the case might not be clear.

In recent years, email has been heralded as a miraculous new detection tool, one that enables regulators to peer through public statements and see the "unvarnished truth" beneath. The impact of email on corporate reputations and pocketbooks has indeed been breathtaking, but not always because it reveals the truth. Sometimes, email doesn't reveal anything more than the appearance or possibility of impropriety. This appearance alone, however, can create massive liability.

Warning beacon

Before going further, I should acknowledge the obvious: on this topic, I'm not just an armchair observer (please see below).

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree