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BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 13 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:0

Third generation contraceptive pills: the continuing saga

This week we add yet another twist to the story of the risks associated with third generation contraceptive pills, and maybe it's time for the sociologists to begin work on analysing the episode.

The story began last October when the British Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) announced on the basis of unpublished data that the risk of thromboembolism in women using third generation pills was about twice that in women using longer established pills. Doctors were upset that they first heard about the risks through the mass media. Manufacturers thought that the CSM had acted prematurely. Some observers …

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