An uroporphomethene inhibitor of uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase, characterized by high-performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry, was reported recently (Phillips et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2007; 104: 5079–5084). Close examination of the tandem mass spectrometric fragmentation pattern of the compound showed that it is not a tetrapyrrole or an uroporphyrinogen or uroporphyrin related molecule. The product ion spectrum showed a fragmentation pattern typical of a poly(ethylene glycol) structure. Characteristic fragmentations of the side-chain acetic acid and propionic acid substituents of a uroporphyrin or uroporphyrinogen derivative were absent. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.