Medicine And The Media

Clots of trouble

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 28 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1172
  1. Naomi Craft

    Last week doctors were forced yet again to find out from the lay press the facts involved in the latest health scare. The furore surrounding the announcement by the Department of Health that all brands of oral contraceptives containing desogestrel and gestodene are associated with twice the risk of thromboembolism must raise serious questions about the government's ability to contact doctors in a hurry.

    Last year, the government announced new measures to ensure urgent dissemination of information to health care professionals in just this kind of situation. In addition to sending letters by first class post to all general practitioners, the Department of Health planned a “fax cascade,” starting with regional directors of public health.

    In possibly the biggest ever pill scare, the system seems to have been a spectacular failure, with most general practitioners hearing the news on …

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