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Health

Microbicide hopes dashed again

A four-year clinical trial involving nearly 10,000 women in East and Southern Africa has found that the vaginal microbicide gel, PRO 2000, is safe but not effective at preventing HIV infection. The trial, known as MDP 301, found that women who applied a vaginal gel containing a 0.2 percent dose of PRO 2000 before sex were infected with HIV at about the same rate as women who applied a placebo gel.

Have we got a pill for you

Warren Hochfeld It was a most peculiar newspaper headline, on 8 December 2003 the British broadsheet newspaper the Independent announced: ‘Glaxo chief: ‘ Our drugs do not work on most patients’. The subsequent report covered a conference at which Allen Roses, vice-president of genetics at the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, admitted the ‘open secret within the drugs industry’, that fewer than half of the patients prescribed some of the most expensive drugs actually derived any benefit from them. This could be a quick way to a self-induced sacking, except that this isn't the revelation...

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