Editor's Choice

Big trials and human stories

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7356.0/i (Published 20 July 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:i

The publication of a big clinical trial may be a major medical, media, financial, and political event. Results are beamed round the world in moments. Patients may panic. Doctors start debating the implications. Share prices may rocket or tumble. Governments haven't yet fallen because of the result of a trial (making medicine less important than soccer), but they are often obliged to respond.

Last week's big trial, published in JAMA (p 113), was of hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women. Part of the study was stopped early because women taking continuous combined oestrogen-progestogen had an increased risk of developing …

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