BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7428.1414 (Published 11 December 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1414

We're verging on a world where supplies of tailor made platelets may become a reality. Scientists now report a technique by which functional platelets derived from embryonic stem cells can be genetically manipulated. It's a complex process involving viral infection, gene expression induced in mega-karyocytes, and a liberal helping of green fluorescent protein. It's a great step forward for science, and ultimately it may provide therapeutic benefit for patients with platelet disorders (Blood 2003;102: 4044-51).

A “misery index” adds a new dimension to the US healthcare system. A professor of healthcare studies compiled the index by adding the numbers of uninsured people in the United States to figures that indicate the percentage by which the annual increases in healthcare costs exceed inflation. The worst year was 1960, before Medicare and Medicaid were established. The best to date was 1979, because of the high number of insured people, and lowest costs (New York Times 2003 December 1).

More misery. A report entitled Antidepressant Market Forecasts 2003-2008 says that in 2002 the US market for antidepressants accounted for just over a third—$17bn (£9800m, €14bn) of the entire market ($49bn) for drugs acting on the central nervous system. Moreover, antidepressants showed …

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