NCI Cancels Subscription to Online Newsletter, Citing Budget
The National Cancer Institute on Monday said it will cancel its online subscription to the Cancer Letter, a weekly newsletter, the Washington Post reports. The Cancer Letter "has been publishing tough stories on the inner workings of the cancer industry for three decades," according to the Post.
Recently, it published "unflattering" articles about the institute and its director Andrew von Eschenbach, the Post reports. According to the Post, the Cancer Letter has "long been a thorn in the side of von Eschenbach" and has criticized his plan to "eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer" by 2015.
In addition, the newsletter has criticized the Bush administration's decision to appoint von Eschenbach as FDA acting commissioner, while he is NCI director.
Institute officials said that the move to drop the newsletter was a cost-cutting measure and that the cancellation will save $48,083. More than 600 NCI employees are registered to receive the electronic newsletter, which is more than for any other publication in the institute's electronic library.
NCI spokesperson Peggy Rhoades said the action is "strictly a budget issue," adding that the institute also cancelled the subscription to an FDA-related newsletter, saving about $80,000.
NCI in 2002 entered into a site-license agreement with the Cancer Letter, allowing all NCI employees to read an electronic version of the publication. The fee accounts for 0.00001 of 1% of NCI's budget.
Kirsten Boyd Goldberg, editor and publisher of the Cancer Letter, called the newsletter's site-license fee "chump change."
Ellen Stovall, president and CEO of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, said, "The Cancer Letter shines the light of day on the politicization of cancer issues," adding, "I don't know anyone in the cancer world who does not read it."
An unnamed senior NCI investigator said von Eschenbach "clearly did not care for the Cancer Letter" (Weiss, Washington Post, 11/22).